Comic Name: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Publisher: IDW/DC Comics
Writer: Michael Fleisher/Dan Mishkin
Artist: Jan Duursema/Tom Mandrake/Rob Randall
# of Issues: 8
Release Date: 2013
Reprints Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #1-8 (December 1988-July 1989). A group of adventurers made up of a dwarf named Onyx, a warrior named Vajra Valmeyjar, a centaur called Timoth Eyesbright, a half-elf named Cybriana, and a broken paladin named Agrivar find they must come together to defeat a danger to the kingdom in the form of Imgig Zu and his army. Plus, the ghost of a court jester might hold the secret to the killing joke.
Written by Michael Fleisher and Dan Mishkin, Dungeons & Dragons Classics—Volume 1 is a collection by IDW. The volume collects issues of DC Comics Advanced Dungeons & Dragons series from the ’80s before the license was won by IDW.
Dungeons & Dragons was everywhere in the early ’80s and even as a kid I felt that this series missed the boat a bit. With the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series already gone and followers of game fading a bit, it feels like this series should have been put out in 1983 instead of 1988. With a rather generic “fantasy” cast, the series is very generic itself…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable.
The plots of the comic are all over the place. There are two storylines. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #1-4 involve the forming of the “team” and the battle against Imgig Zu. The comic was running at the same time as Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian and feels much like Conan with more fantasy and creatures. Despite having a fun grouping of characters, it isn’t very practical as pointed out when the centaur can’t climb the mountain to help his friends…it feels very forced together at points in that aspect in a desperate grab for fantasy.
The second storyline Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #5-8 has Vajra, the newly minted Kyriani (the former Cybriana), Onyx, Vajra, and Conner going after men trying to steal a joke that can kill. It is a little lighter (at points) and tries to get deeper with political factions fighting for the joke. I enjoy the first story more because it is less jokey (it is hard when it revolves around a joke), and though the second storyline reads easier.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is what you’d expect from an ’80s fantasy series. If you take that in mind when reading it, you will enjoy it more. It is loaded with geeky characters, and you will feel like you are nerding out reading it. Grab your 4-sided die and your wizard’s cap and read away. The series is collected in four volumes.