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Abomination thru Dreadnought (1988)

I love these books. This is the first volume of the Gamer’s Handbook to the Marvel Universe (1988), for TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes RPG — Abomination thru Dreadnought. When I got copies of these in 1989, I already had a bunch of D&D books, but I didn’t really understand how to play (or have anyone to play with). These books, though, hooked into my newfound interest in Marvel comics and, thanks to the accompanying attribute lists, fed into the inevitable “who would win in a fight” conversations at the comic shop, or sitting on the stoop or wherever me and my friends were idly spending time. Seeing attributes contribute even obliquely to those conversations went a long way toward helping me figure out the Marvel RPG and, soon after, D&D itself. Neat!

Anyway, these are essentially a four-volume encoding in RPG terms of the Marvel universe circa 1988. Important characters and jobbers and innocent bystanders alike. Even now, it seems like a massive undertaking requiring a pretty deep appreciation of the source material. Weighing in at about 1,000 pages across the four volumes, it is nearly three times the length of the Marvel Encyclopedia from DK, and that isn’t even taking into account the four annual update books.

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