Forgotten Realms #1 – 4

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Let’s consider the first four issues of the Forgotten Realms comics from 1989 written by Jeff Grubb and penciled by Rags Morales. It’s a 4-part series named “Hand of Vaprak” and as Grubb explains in his blog, these characters are fully aware that are living in a “fantastic universe.” So it’s more adventure than ordeal and the characters are allowed to have fun.

It’s a magical word. Magic spells, magic potions, magic vehicles… Magic gets the characters in and out of danger. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that 3 of the 6 main heroes and the dominant adversary in this series are spell casters and that they are all battling over an incredibly powerful magical artifact.

It’s a light-hearted world. If you were like me in 1989, you wanted your fantasy to feel as real as possible. That meant no silly, tongue in cheek nonsense. So, oddly, Forgotten Realms is a better match for me now that I’m cured of that confining perspective. And I’ll even admit that I chuckled a bit at this exchange in issue #2:

Assistant: The company of dragonslayers is no more…

Mage: What happened to them?

Assistant: They encountered their first dragon, milord.

It’s a Dungeons & Dragons world. If you are acquainted with the roleplaying game you will feel right at home. The D&D character classes and races, the names of spells and monsters, and even the almost sizzle of an almost thrown fireb– (see issue #3) are all here.

About – The Design

It has been difficult to decide on a purpose, an underlying design for this site. There are many things I want to accomplish and I can’t seem to settle on one. Until that time comes I will simply post what’s on my mind and post regularly.

So far there’s…

All Things Ranked – which allows me to evaluate and rank anything I want without using a predetermined scale. I know this is heresy but get over it! For me, this ranking is more comparative than criterion based.

Videogame Short Review – which makes me feel as though I can write about games while still spending the bulk of my time actually playing them.

Commentary Collected – which is a collection (mess) of notes about things I enjoy.

My Inventories – which gives me a list of what I have so I don’t accidentally buy the same things again.

I may develop…

Skirmish! – a game of miniature/card/dice battle that is original in its diversity of stolen ideas.

GameStory – a paper and pencil roleplaying game for applying standards based mathematics.

Or perhaps some some projects like…

GAD – starting and journaling first impressions on one videogame each day.

San Antonio Spurs Retro Videogame Project – playing those retro basketball games as the mighty Spurs.

Comics – Conan the Barbarian (Vol 1 #4)

This issue titled “The Tower of the Elephant!” (1971) is an adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s short story “The Tower of the Elephant” (1933) and I want to say something snarky like, “the only improvement on the original story was the exclamation point in the title.” But the expectation that this comic is better than the original adventure classic would be unfair. In fact, this issue is very good because it sticks so close to its source. Howard strikes a wonderful balance between mystery and excitement in his story. And it’s all here in this comic including the varied deaths of men and beasts. Sal Buscema’s bold ink style works well and issue #4 takes no chances. It’s simply a faithful, though compressed, rendition of a great short story, a comic that will feel like a bit more than the 20 pages it encompasses. Rating: 669