A couple years back, my local comic book store came into possession of a large number of oldschool Dungeons and Dragons modules. I bought as many of them as I could afford, and have thoroughly enjoyed owning them, reading them, adapting them, and basking in their marvelous artwork. I’m sure a lot of that art will end up as part of this series eventually if I continue with it, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Among the modules was an early D&D supplement, the Player’s Companion: Book One by Frank Mentzer. This is the cover. The artist is Larry Elmore, whose artwork you’ve probably seen before. Dude is prolific.
Where to begin? The sweeping landscape in the background speaks to me of endless adventures and armies charging across the planes. The castle at the end of the long road gives me a feeling of power. For some reason I imagine the knight is the lord of that castle, and he’s here defending his lands with his own sweat and blood. The dragon is just perfect. It maintains what I would consider the ‘traditional’ dragon anatomy, while also appearing sleek and limber enough that it isn’t just a lumbering colossus as dragons are often portrayed.
And then there’s that sword. What the hell is up with that sword? That is some serious Cloud Strife shit right there, right in my oldschool D&D! I like to imagine that the sword was left on earth by a defeated angel, and the knight’s purity of spirit allows him to wield it even though it is far too large for him.