Friday, September 18, 2020

Surf's Up!

For our next entry in the category of "weird licensed D&D products," I present you with an AD&D beach towel – which is helpfully labeled as such, just in case you're not sure of its purpose. Based on the information at this blog (which also has photos of other beach towel designs), this product was released in 1982. Until I stumbled across that blog, I don't think I'd ever seen one of these before. 

Perhaps surprisingly, I see nothing objectionable about this. Sure, it's kitschy, but that's par for the course when it comes to beach towels. The art looks very similar to that of the late David C. Sutherland III. Compare the blue dragon here with the illustration in the Monster Manual. The knight, with his historical armor, holds a lot of appeal to me, but I am a huge fan of what I've called "the extraordinary ordinary" style of fantasy art. As I say above, I never saw one of these when they were released, but, if I had, I might have considered buying it. Heck, I might buy one now.


  1. Yeah, that definitely seems to be a Sutherland drawing. For 1982 that’s a little surprising - something by TSR’s “new hotness” Timothy Truman or Jeff Easley would have been more likely - but also kind of cool. It gets a lot of flak (and sometimes it’s merited) but for the most part I like Sutherland’s art. It’s also kind of cool and surprising that as far as I know that’s an original piece of art, not something that was recycled from an earlier product. It makes me wonder if, for whatever reason, this design was done 2 or 3 years earlier and it just took until 1982 for the towel to make it into production.

    1. Along with Trampier, Sutherland is the artist who most strongly comes to mind when I imagine the "look" of D&D. Technically, he had many flaws, but I love his illustrations nonetheless.