Happy New Year folks! To celebrate the start of 2019, I thought I would take a look at something a bit different. It’s a whole new year, so maybe it’s time for something new.
Both comic books and tabletop RPGs are an important part of geek culture. A lot of creative people got into their chosen field because they played role-playing games growing up. And there can be little doubt, that Dungeons & Dragons is the undisputed king of role-playing games.
Dungeons & Dragons was originally published by TSR and is now owned by Wizards of the Coast.
In the past few years Dungeons & Dragons has seen a real resurgence in popularity. From live broadcast games, to live shows, to appearances in fictional series like Stranger Things. Dungeons & Dragons is more popular than ever.
And of course, for many years we’ve seen numerous computer games based on Dungeons & Dragons. Even other fantasy games not directly related to the Dungeons & Dragons franchise have taken a lot of inspiration from it.
The relationship between comic books and Dungeons & Dragons goes way back. In 1988 DC Comics published the first issue of their Advanced Dungeons & Dragons series. They would continue publishing Dungeons & Dragons up until 1991.
The license for Dungeons & Dragons is currently held by IDW Publishing and it is remains very popular, but the link between Dungeons & Dragons and comic books goes even beyond that.
Pathfinder is a game which evolved from Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 and now exists as Dungeons & Dragons main competitor. It is a game that wouldn’t exist without Dungeons & Dragons, and unsurprisingly, it has a line of comics too. The license for Pathfinder is held by Dynamite Entertainment.
Dungeons & Dragons has also become an internet phenomena, thanks to internet shows like Dice, Camera, Action, Critical Role and The Adventure Zone.
This can be attributed to when the creators of Penny Arcade, a webcomic about video games culture, were invited to do a podcast showcasing the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This podcast became known as Acquisitions Incorporated and it is a series that continues on through live games run at PAX events. It has even spawned a spin-off series called Acquisitions Incorporated – The “C” Team.
These shows too have grown in such popularity to spawn their own comic books series. Critical Role has had a series published by Dark Horse Comics and The Adventure Zone graphic novels are currently being released by First Second Books.
The creators of The Adventure Zone podcast; the McElroys, have even just been announced as writing a Journey Into Mystery series for Marvel Comics, so I think we can expect to see them continue to branch out into more comic book work. And it’s something which wouldn’t have come about without The Adventure Zone.
All these internet shows are available to watch for free online, so I would encourage people to go out and track them down. They are very entertaining.
And what I would consider the biggest announcement linking comic books and Dungeons & Dragons in 2018, was the announcement that Lion Forge Comics would be launching their own gaming imprint called Quillion. The title of the series launched with this imprint is Rolled & Told, and it features new adventures in every issue, alongside a brief comic strip illustrating part of the adventure.
Follow this link to learn more; https://www.newsarama.com/40439-lion-forge-launches-gaming-imprint-with-rolled-told.html
This is possible because of the Dungeons & Dragons Open Gaming License, which allow other publishers to use some of the material from the Dungeons & Dragons game to publish their own adventures. This has led to the rise of smaller gaming companies like Goodman Games and Kobold Press.
In the coming years we will likely see more crossover between the medium of comic books and role-playing games. In an industry that is increasingly difficult to to break into, the meeting of these two mediums might provide new opportunities.