Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ads of Dragon: D&D Poster

If you ever need a concrete reminder that the days of Dungeons & Dragons as a mainstream pop cultural phenomenon are long past, you need only look at this advertisement from issue #90 (October 1984) of Dragon:
Back in 1984, you could buy a D&D poster, featuring art by Larry Elmore, from Sears stores or from the Sears Christmas catalog. When was the last time that you saw a D&D poster at all, let alone available through a major department store chain? It's little things like this that remind us how big a fad D&D was once upon a time.

20 comments:

  1. Of course, when was the last time you saw and used a Sears Christmas catalog at all?

    Kind of sad really. When I was a kid, there wasn't much better than getting the catalog in the mail and plotting for Christmas loot.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I ordered my 1st Ed Efreeti-covered DMG from the Sears Catalog. It came in the mail... Good times!

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ Coldstream: O So True.

    RE: Elmore's Painting

    What kind of "hero" brings a sword to fight a dragon? Especially mounted? This guy is toast and good riddance. Next time remember your lance, whack-job.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First AD&D PH and DMG I ordered from Sears catalog. Good Times

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember seeing the Basic and Expert sets in Sears alongside the Atari cartridges and Texas Instruments computers. For some reason they weren't with the toy department or board games. I thought that was strange even at the time.
    There was a toy store in Indianapolis that took about an hour drive. As a kid it was like...I can't even describe it. I only got to go maybe two or three times a year.
    I always went straight to the roleplaying games. I remember buying the first Marvel Superhero game stuff and the Fiend Folio.
    I still treasure those moments and those books.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've always hated Elmore's dragons -- they look like humans wearing dragon suits. His women are beautiful though, even if they're always the same person with different hair.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As I recall this poster was and most likely still is up for sale on eBay. It may have had a BIN option though. I struggled with buying it but it is a smaller poster and in the end I realized I would never hang it so why not let someone else get it. Like I said it was there yesterday or the day before but it might be gone.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wal-Mart carried D&D posters during the 3rd edition era, interestingly enough.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Coldstream,

    Ain't it the truth. Getting the Wishbooks and Christmas Catalogs was as much a seasonal expectation as football or Halloween or going to Cedar Point each summer, or even Christmas itself. Sears was, of course, good at getting its foot into the hype door (Atari Space Invaders?). I can't remember which store, but it was around 80-81 that I first saw a "Dungeons and Dragons" product (the books plus little lead minatures) in a Christmas Catalog. I remember one in particular. It said 'Bugbear captain' and I wondered: What the heck is a bugbear? And where is the game board and box?

    As for the hype, this wouldn't surprise me. I'm surprised it was still going on then. I seemed to remember it dying down some by 1984, but then I wasn't really in the hobby and could only measure by what I noticed from the outside.

    FWIW, I've always liked that particular painting.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I got a copy of this print, when I wrote a letter to TSR. I was 11 and wrote a letter to Garry, and I got a response from TSR with a typed letter from someone whom I cannot remember, and a copy of that print, in a 4" x 6" format.

    ReplyDelete
  11. DNAphil, I'm curious. What did you write to Gary?

    ReplyDelete
  12. I got that poster in college, and it hangs in my basement/game room to this day!

    ReplyDelete
  13. JB,

    I always saw the horseman as decoy, the female warrior under the rock ready to leap out and slice into the underbelly of the beast, so to speak. That's just me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cool, now I know where my folks got that from for me 27 years ago... Stayed on my wall for the better part of forever and regrettably, it shows.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Not a poster, but I saw 4 or 5 4th edtion red starter boxes in Wal-Mart some 2 mo. ago.

    ReplyDelete
  16. @Dom - I don't remember the specifics of the letter, but I think it was a letter of thanks for creating D&D.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I want to live in a world where that poster is not kitzch but pop art

    ReplyDelete
  18. I got this poster for my birthday that year!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It wasn't this poster but I bought my first D&D product at Sears. It was one of the Desert of Desolation modules. It wasn't until I got it home and read it that I began to understand I needed the rules.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.