Dungeons & Dragons #3: The Ads

I think it was around 1983 that Dungeons & Dragons really hit its stride in the US.  Obviously, the game itself was selling well, but, beyond that, the whole environment during those days seemed steeped in  D&D culture.

At the arcade there was the popular Dragon's Lair game, at the movies there was Krull, on Saturday mornings there was the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, and at the newsstand there were Dragon magazine and White Dwarf

I must admit, during this period I lapped it up and begged for more.  Looking back on these advertisements really brings back some memories.

The advert above was on the back of seemingly every comic book churned out in 82/83. 

Legend has it that this is the daughter of Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons.  I assume the girl in the second ad (the one after the jump) is also her. Could be wrong.

I never really got into the whole D&D miniature aspect. 

What's weird is that it's been about 27 years since I've played a game of D&D; yet, I still recognize the artwork.  I can tell the ads above and below are by the same artist who illustrated numerous D&D modules.

I had every one of these books.  I believe the last book I purchased was the Monster Manual II (it had an orc or something on the cover); then suddenly I became "too cool" for D&D.  Late nights in parents basements were now spent doing other things (cheesy wink). My trusty +3 battle axe was cast aside like yesterdays onion rings; however, it obviously left quite an impression on me that two and a half decades later I'm writing about it...


  1. I played D and D one time. Wish it had been more, but I didn't have money for it. I rememeber most of those ads. At least all of the ones that appeared in comic books at the time.

  2. You might enjoy this, Gilligan.

  3. Dungeons & Dragons is now in its 4th Edition and still going strong.

    The strengths and weaknesses of the various editions are of course too large a subject to go into on this blog, and in fact take up as much Internet real estate as silly photos of cats do.

    Suffice to say, lots of fun was had by many;

    is that a girl behind the stood-up book in that first ad? Awesome;

    and if that is EGG's daughter ... now I feel slightly uncomfortable. Unfortunately he's now running Saint Peter through the Tomb of Horrors and we can't ask him.

  4. Yes, that is EGG's daughter (Elise, I believe her name is) in that ad - as well as the "Where the action is" ad.

    If you're a fan of the game, check out my deconstruction of the comic series ads on my blog: A Rust Monster...

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed your posts Christopher B!!

  6. How about this?
    I still have a working one!
    There's also a flash game one can play since it's so hard to find one working and cheap!

  7. I sure remember D&D but I guess I was too old. My friends and I tried playing a game once and gave up in boredom. No kick against the game, I think it was better suited to younger people than the ancient 30 somethings we were.

  8. Just FYI.

    Those D&D comic ads were illustrated by Bill Willingham, famous artist and author of Fables, The Elementals and more.

    It's true!

    Brian Denham

  9. Yes it is true.
    All the 14 D&D cartoon ads there :


    And your blog is just excellent ! Am fan !