Thursday, June 26, 2008

When Kobolds were Jokes (and not Dragon Men)

I'll have some more extensive thoughts on old school art soon (perhaps later today), but in the meantime, enjoy this darkly cruel piece of Jeff Dee art from the Rogues Gallery.

9 comments:

  1. This has always been one of my favorite pieces of art.

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  2. More movement and 'animated-ness' in one Dee sketch than in a pile of Elmore renderings.

    - Doug

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  3. Not that Elmore wasn't capable of movement. I think "Snarfquest" had a lot of the character and action that get associated with the older RPG illustrations.

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  4. Snarfquest was pretty fun, I remember. In hindsight, it seems almost a bridge between the older style and his new wave for RPG art.

    Dee's kobolds are how I picture kobolds even today. Scaley dogs with tiny horns.

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  5. Dee's art is from before my time, but I find myself strangely attracted to the androgynous nature of his B&W characters.

    Sometimes it is hard to tell the genders apart on first sight. I think we could speak volumes about this approach and the chainmail bikini or plate corset with boobs style that dungeonpunk has embraced.

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  6. Huh,I'd never call Dee's figures androgynous. The men in his drawings do seem to puff out their chests a bit I suppose. His Deities & Demigods illustrations certainly leave the gods' and goddess's genders in little doubt.

    Interestingly, in the V&V section I found a bit of proto dungeonpunk in the hero Mace, ca. 1982 even. We can't really blame ole Jeff; he was illustrating a supers game after all!

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  7. I never really liked kobolds until I saw that picture. I'm also a big fan of that full page Dee picture of the paladin who killed the dragon from Rogue's Gallery.

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  8. Scaley dogs with tiny horns.

    Yep. If kobolds are no longer little scaly dog men, then The Keep on the Borderlands no longer works quite right, since rumors in the module distinguish between the kobolds and gnolls by calling one "little dog men" and the other "big dog men." If you can't play Keep -- the most primal of adventures -- without changes, something is wrong.

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  9. I'm also a big fan of that full page Dee picture of the paladin who killed the dragon from Rogue's Gallery.

    Me too. Dee, honestly, wasn't my favorite old school artist; he tended to look somewhat "comic book-y" and it sat poorly with me even as a kid. But he still produced a number of iconic pieces that really sum up what D&D was all about back in the day. That paladin standing on the corpse of the black dragon is one of them.

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