IDW continue to pull together classic series for release as Trade paper backs. Amongst others, this week sees Dungeons and Dragons Classics, volume four; the collected issues of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons magazine 1991/92. With a romping good story, reading it is utterly reminiscent of playing the 2nd Edition Game, probably over findus crispy pancakes, with pepsi, cheesy wotsits and your mum calling up the stairs, telling you its a lovely day, so why aren’t you outside. Just as it should be when one was fortunate enough to have a good dungeon master, the story builds the team from an individual in inauspicious circumstances, right up to a wonderful melange incorporating all the expected classes, races and ‘professions’ by the battle royale at the end. This collection sees that arc run from initial trap (murder/set up) to resolution taking in the quest for the Dragon’s Eye, some elves, the usual every issue sword fight, some more dwarves and a whole lot of magic without the need to use words. And being the early 90’s, a good mix of female and male characters.
Just as with volumes 1 to 3, and indeed in the games themselves, the same basic story line is adhered to, there’s a touch of the female gaze, there is surprisingly little sexism; and Yes, It does show that sometimes there is a lot of dross, but usually its the oldies that deliver the goods. The artwork is naive by current standards, and the colouring also that of the earlier pressure-based printing processes – no digital retouching here. Whilst its available in a digital format, I’d personally seek this out on paper, stick my nose right in for the smell of fresh print, and sink back into one of those secret pleasures from our teenaged years.