It was with great regret that I read the following article on Tor.com’s blog:
David A. Trampier, the Illustrator Who Defined the Look of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Has Passed Away, 1954-2014
This hit kinda hard.
Though I have not participated in any kind of pen and paper role-playing game for well over two decades, I remember the man’s iconic artwork. For an impressionable youngster who did, and still does, have a soft spot for the sword-swinging genre, Trampier – or, as he signed his work, “DAT” – visualized an entire world of possibilities for me.
I also followed his comic strip Wormy, which was published in Dragon magazine for a long time (repository of the comics here), alongside artist Phil Foglio (of Girl Genius fame). It was one of my first exposures to a multi-threaded story, with a wide cast and various perspectives. I very much find that old comic series was a large influence on my Woodhollow stories, which I really need to revisit one of these days. I always looked forward to reading the next installation. And then one day, it just stopped.
Trampier burned out and fell off the planet. Checks went un-cashed, phone calls un-returned. There were rumors, outlined on this blog, about what had happened. Whatever the truth, it’s a sad tale of artistic talent that has vanished into the void. And it is another reminder that I continue to get older, as the icons of my youth fall to ruin, one by one.
Think I need to go out into the sunshine for a few minutes and cheer up now.
Well, let’s see….
– I received two rejections this week. Both were a bit unusual, in that they were contained good feedback as to why they did not accept the story, and both were extremely polite. Most of my feedback has been either polite form letters or terse blow-offs. But both of these were detailed and obviously had some thought involved. So my thanks go to those publications, even though they rejected my stories.
– I started two stories this week. One is my latest Woodhollow tale. I went back to the beginning and started with the origin tale of Sydney, Marla, and the rest. It’s coming along nicely. The other concerns a man’s obsession with an artistic rendering of … well, man’s best friend. It’s not as dark as some of my other stuff. Both should be done before the weekend is over.
– "Omega Mage" is still a work in progress. My goal was to finish the first draft before the holidays. I won’t quite make it but I should be able to take it up in a refreshed state of mind after New Year’s and knock out the rest … which is good, because I already have the plot for my next novel sketched out.
– The first trailer for the movie "Thor" hit the net sometime recently. I myself only saw it a day or two ago. Thor has been my favorite comic book character for decades, so I am very excited about this one. Yes, it’s quite deviated from original Norse mythology but that’s okay; the comic has been in publication for almost fifty years so it has a ton of continuity of its own. Anyway, here’s a link.
– Anyone know a good website selling fantasy art? I’m looking for a few specific things, so if you have suggestions, please post away.
That’s it for me, ’til next time.
One of my ongoing projects involves the underground town of Woodhollow, a community of mythical races. Clusters of elves, dwarves, faeries, dryads, goblins, etc., all live and work in the underground city. Other communities exist in the Outland (i.e., our land) but the center of their culture is the town of Woodhollow. They all live, work, and war together.
My main characters are the faeries Sydney and Marla. Sydney is the second in command of the Faerie Clan, one of the various gangs that vie for control of the seedy side of Woodhollow. Marla is her older sister and the head of the Clan. Sydney – while sarcastic and pragmatic, is attached to her clan. Marla is hot-tempered and a fierce fighter but generally puts the interests of the Clan ahead of her own. Generally.
Along the way, they compete with other Clans, have various conflicts with the government of Woodhollow (headed by the mysterious Lord Squam and his ogre and drake enforcers), and generally get into lots of mischief. Right now I have two different tales written:
– Rumble in Woodhollow – The faeries throw down once and for all with the Chaun Clan.
– The Mauler – Someone frames Sydney and Marla for conspiring against Squam and they won’t take it lying down.
I have a few other stories sketched out. There is plenty of gallows humor in the writing but it certainly isn’t light fantasy. This is one I would love to tease out into a graphic novel format someday.