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Dragon Magazine #24

Another favorite early Dragon cover, this one for issue 24, from April 1979. I love this decadent cityscape. I guess it is keyed to the feature for Source of the Nile, but I dunno, this is sort of what I picture Melnibone looking like. The people who live there are probably not nice, but they have style. This one is visibly signed by Elrohir, a pseudonym for Kenneth Rahman, co-designer of the Divine Right board game.

Inside are a number of interesting articles, particularly the one on alignment and the application of it to gods. But the art contest is the best part. It was called Featured Creature and the idea was that Dragon would publish a monster description from a piece of fiction and artists would submit their interpretations. The first one seems to have been a success. This was the second one and…not a success. The accompanying text is pretty hilarious, complaining about the small number of entries and the expense of printing the winning entries in color. Very gracious.

Anyway. The contest used prose from Fritz Leiber’s “The Bleak Shore,” which is cool. What’s cooler is the winner and one of the runners up. The winner was Bob Charrette, who was busy co-designing and illustrating the Fantasy Games Unlimited RPG Bushido (1979) right around then. That Honorable Mention, tho! Erol freakin’ Otus! As far as I can figure, this is the first time Otus was published by TSR and it was for an honorable mention in a contest! A year later, of course, his iconic wrap-around art would front Deities & Demigods.

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