Monday, April 4, 2022

Finieous Meets Jasmine

With the advent of a new month, I got the idea of looking back at Dragon magazine's April Fools' Day issues to see if I could find anything particularly noteworthy. Issue #48 (April 1981) included an insert entitled issue #48½ filled with numerous humorous articles. Also included was the following comic.

It's not clear to me whether the comic was actually written and drawn by J.D. Webster, creator of the actual Finieous Fingers comic, or if it, like the content of the strip itself, it's an affectionate spoof by someone else. Regardless, I found it amusing, not least for the way it subtly lampoons the self-seriousness of Darlene's Jasmine comic. Of course, the strip also references two other Dragon comics: Dave Trampier's incomparable Wormy and the oft-forgotten Pinsom by Steve Swenston (though, to be fair, it's easy to forget, given its very brief run).

I was (and am) a big fan of April Fools' Day content. They're a good way to puncture the pomposity of roleplayers and, as someone regularly prone to that particular flaw, a well done comedic jab is an act of public service. Likewise, humor of this sort is, in my opinion, powerful evidence of an emerging RPG sub-culture, one with its own unique references, allusions, and, of course, jokes. The fact that Dragon could annually devote several of its pages – not to mention the occasional page in other non-April issues – shows just how much the hobby had grown and evolved since 1974. Plus, it's just fun.


  1. Cartoons affectionately spoofing D&D go right back to its start - in April '74 Minneapa had a spoof dungeon cover (see UK fanzines in particular had a lot of joke cartoons and comic strips in the late 70s, and the Monster Manual's Giant Lynx cartoon made them officially acceptable (and they had a fairly central role in the DMG)

  2. They weren't limited to just D&D jokes, but Murphy's Rules ran for years in The Space Gamer (and IIRC Pyramid later on) and ribbed humorously inept game mechanics incessantly the whole time. Fineous appeared there for a bit too, as well as in the short lived Adventure Gaming mag and later Shadis.

  3. J. D. Webster went on to create and publish air combat war games with GDW (air superiority and air strike) and currently develops the Fighting Wings series of games with Clash of Arms.