Gygax #1

Gygax was an attempt by the new TSR to revive the spirit of Dragon Magazine. This is the first issue, from February 2013. I should note that Dragon still existed at this point, entirely as a D&D-focused publication, though only in digital form and would cease publication at the end of the year.

Gygax wouldn’t last much longer – the sixth and final issue appeared in September 2015, the victim of lawsuits and family disputes. Despite that (and any other potential dooms it might have suffered – it was, after all, born into a distinctly anti-print climate and never quite hit its promised quarterly pace) Gygax launched with a packed stable of heavy hitting talent, both old school and new – slightly surprised to see Cory Doctorow’s byline in there. It feels, visually, like a Dragon Magazine, at least if you ignore the modern-style advertising. Paging through it is good for a nostalgic buzz, for sure.

There is a good mix of stuff here, but it is odd to have the magazine look like it does and not have it so laser focused on upcoming D&D products (also, the lack of the Dragon columns like Sage Advice is weird, even though it shouldn’t be – of course they didn’t have the rights for Sage Advice! They do have an ecology article, though!) A lot of stuff tends towards system agnostic advice. I wasn’t really paying attention to the RPG zeitgeist in 2013, though, so I don’t know how well Gygax did in reflecting it. 5E was still D&D Next, though, so I feel like it was largely a transitional moment in time. If that’s true, then Gygax feels right on target.

Big win here for me is the Daniel Horne. The more I go through my old Dragon back issues, the more Horne and Dean Morrissey are in a dead heat to be my all time favorite cover artists. A lot of artists change over time, but Horne seems preserved in amber – this cover is as classic as anything he put out in the 80s.

Big thanks to Clay Fleischer for sending this my way!

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