Monday, May 28, 2012
Slapstick Humor And DnD
I'm cheating just a bit here, putting the above image and the magic user spell, Fumble, together. The preceding Sutherland illustration appears on page 11 of the ADnD Players Handbook, while the Fumble spell description appears on page 77. Combining them in this post helps highlight an important feature of early versions of Dungeons and Dragons: humor.
I've already spent some time on this blog discussing the illustrations of Will McLean. Will McLean's cartoons graced the pages of the 1979 Dungeon Masters Guide and early Dragon Magazines. His style of humor was welcome tonic to the too-serious arguments over rules minutia that occurred during Dungeons and Dragon's early development.
What I like most about the preceding Sutherland illustration is the great contradiction inherent in the barbarian's fall: did he truly slip on a banana-peel, and if so, what is the point of the spell-casting wizard's inclusion in the cartoon? Or did the spell-caster just recently summon the monkey which ate the banana and dropped the peel, which the barbarian then slipped on?