Archive for October 7th, 2011

07
Oct
11

Infographic Poster of OD&D Encounters


A tiny detail from the 18x24 OD&D Wandering Monster poster, from the Blog of Holding site which has a cool script to randomly generate these. Dig the beard on that ferret; Paul has nailed the beardliness of everything in the LBBs.

When I helped the Gygax Memorial Fund create  a presence at the Old School Resource Group’s booth for Gen Con 2011, one of the things I did was to come up with things that could be sold there to raise money for the memorial. Some of these did come to pass as planned, like Cheers, Gary. Others didn’t materialize for one reason or another, like Crystal Caste dice with Gary’s face in place of the 1’s pip. Fortunately, other stuff I didn’t even dream of came along to fill its place.

Some of these may never be available again. The New York Red Box’s own Jedo did a set of old-school character sheets that he ran off on an old-fashioned mechanical printing press, with the type palpably embossed deep into the paper; another run of these would have to wait until he visited the distant lair of this press, which I imagine to be in the basement of the Temple of the Frog along with the pipe organ no one now living knows how to repair.

Other things that were at the booth, like Ethan Gilsdorf’s excellent Fantasy Freaks & Gaming Geeks, were available before and are still. This is awesome, but not newsworthy.

This post, however, is about something that was at the booth at Gen Con (although it may have been overlooked), sold out, but is now available again – Paul Hughes’ infographic poster showing all the dungeon and wilderness wandering monsters from OD&D, along with the procedures for generating encounters thereof. You can get this useful and eyeball-kicking item through blogofholding for just $7.50 plus shipping. Paul says:

Put this on your rec room wall, and you can use it to generate random encounters without having to flip through books, or just stare at it glassily while descending into a spiral of madness.

Cheers Gary is the other item Paul was invaluable in creating, and the one that was done specifically for the Gygax Memorial Fund rather than just having some copies donated for the booth. I hope to have an announcement soon about when a new print run of this will be available soon. The T-shirts and buttons for the Gygax Memorial Fund are still potentially available, and will be actually so as soon as I do an inventory count and help the talented & hard-working Jason Hurst get them set up at http://www.gygaxmemorialfund.com/.

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07
Oct
11

Kirbsday

Jack Kirby Self-Portrait, from "Jimmy Olsen #141" (September 1971)

Over the weekend, me and the New York Red Box gang were talking about Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, and I figured it would be an easy thing to blog about occasionally.

For people who are not insane comics nerds, the short version is that in 1970 Jack Kirby, who had been the top talent at Marvel Comics throughout the 1960’s, co-creating The Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Mighty Thor, The Uncanny X-Men, and a zillion other characters, got sick of Stan Lee’s bullshit and left to join Marvel’s chief competitor, DC Comics. There he created this weird little self-contained universe, telling a crazed futuristic allegory about super hippies, concentration camps run by Walt Disney, the amorality of man’s quest for knowledge, Harry Houdini, bug people, Jimmy Olsen, eugenics, Viet Nam, environmentalism, our addiction to violence, Satan as Hitler from outer space … and Don Rickles.  If you went to Ancient Greece, grabbed Homer, took him to Cape Canaveral to watch the Apollo missions, and got him high as hell, he might produce something like this.

The Fourth World was probably the creative summit of Kirby’s long career, and like so many other phases of his career it ended in disappointment.  The idea was to tell this huge tale, through four different comic books, that wound run for a few thousand pages and then end.  A self-contained epic for the Age of Aquarius. Then the books got cancelled midway through.

We’ll never get to see how Kirby would have tied things up. When he came back to the titles in the mid-80’s he was pretty obviously in decline, and the end wasn’t satisfactory.  Attempts by others to carry on have never been successful.

One of my RPG fantasies, never to be satisfied, is to finish the Fourth World Saga. Start in mid-1973, at the point of cancellation, stat everybody up, and just jam out and collaboratively nail this thing.

Anyway: I’m thinking of summarizing this thing one or two issues at a time, with a lot of art, and maybe some thematic commentary.  It’ll last until my “blogging stage fright” returns.

the series of the Fourth World saga

For people looking to get into the Fourth World titles, Jimmy Olsen, The Forever People, The New Gods, and Mister Miracle:

  • These series have all been collected into expensive hardbacks. If you have lots of money, you can buy them.
  • At various times, each series was reprinted in paperback collections. Some of these were B&W, which sucks IMO, but others were in color. The first Jimmy Olsen collection was in color and might be a good starting point.  (Clarification: lots of people worked on Jimmy Olsen over the years; I’m talking about this one.)
  • In the 1980s, DC reprinted the one of the titles, The New Gods. Each of the reprint issues contained two episodes of the original series. Ten years ago, these were cheap on the Mile High Comics website and elsewhere.  It looks like they’ve since sold out but maybe you can find ’em.
  • Various internet downloads for the unscrupulous.

Darkseid and Beautiful Dreamer, Jack Kirby, "Forever People #4"

 




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