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The TSR Comics Spark 2021

As we head toward December 51st, 2020…

I’ve yet to get together any end-of-year or new-year post…pretty sure that’s not happening this year.

I have, however, been meaning to do a post updating my "Grails" and such, but hvaen’t gotten to that, as yet.

So in a sort of "spin-off" or "prologue to" or whatever on that…figured I’d share on what will likely amount to my 2021 iteration of 2020’s intention to hunt down missing Marvel 2099 books.

I’m not sure when it was that I’d come across my original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comics, but they’re issues I’ve had bagged and boarded for years–decades, really–and they’d been sitting out to keep aware of their location until last spring when I organized my X-Men and related books at the time. These had to find a new home and wound up on a shelf with my Dragonlance stuff.

More recently, I’d grabbed the Dragonlance: Fifth Age issue for bathroom-reading and enjoyed the issue well enough for what it was–though it was still rather vague, cheesey, and hardly anything wonderful. It was nostalgic, and re-ignited a bit more of my interest in the Fifth Age stuff (along with the game books the other week from Half-Price Books) such that I’m also listening to the first book of the Fifth Age novels on Audible.

tsr_promocomics_90s_3originals

Having read the Dragonlance issue–which I specifically remember getting from a Waldenbooks back in the day–I decided to move on to the Forgotten Realms: The Grand Tour issue. That one proved to be a bit of a slog, requiring multiple reading sessions to get through. A lot of walls of (tiny!) text and such…but appropriate for being a promo comic to introduce one TO the Forgotten Realms setting. This was another issue I remember getting from Waldenbooks.

Somewhere along the way, over the years, I acquired the Labyrinth of Madness issue. This one I do NOT recall getting from Waldenbooks–which is not to say I didn’t, but I don’t recall specifically getting it, only that I had it grouped with the other two issues, so obviously recognized it as what it is in a promo issue from a certain time. It’s as likely that I snagged it from a quarter-bin at some point.

But the point of this post, and the way these are a "TSR comics spark" for 2021 comes from an ad in the World Tour issue above.

tsr_promocomics_90s_ad

So along with the Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, and Labyrinth of Madness (apparently "generic AD&D") issues, there were also Planescape and Birthright issues!

birthright_serpents_eye_mcs_stock_imageNow consciously knowing this, and being YEARS removed from whenever I’d picked up the third issue…I was able to hop online to do some searching for these "missing" issues to complete my "set."

I quickly learned that apparently the Planescape issue never saw print, though was released online at one point as a digital/online comic. Ok, scratch ONE off the list.

Further digging and I eventually located a copy of the Birthright issue for sale via some 3rd-party seller on Amazon. I paid a little more than I might have liked, but as a promotional issue, "limited edition" that I hadn’t even consciously remembered/known existed and certainly not being something I’ve come across in bargain bins (I definitely would have bought it if I had!), I decided to hold my nose and go for it, just to save myself the hassle and "grail-ness" of the thing.

But then, that wasn’t enough for me.

I was already searching for TSR comics and recalled the ’80s/early-’90s Dragonlance series from DC; along with a Forgotten Realms and a Spelljammer series.

So I did some further re-searching and ultimately was able to order the entire series for Forgotten Realms (which, now as I type this, I suddenly vaguely recall snagging a small run YEARS ago from a quarter-bin…but I don’t have the time/inclination to go rummaging through unsorted longboxes for those anytime soon, so it’s a moot point). I was also able to order several of the Spelljammer issues. There were only a scant handful of Dragonlance issues available to even order, so I decided to hold off since I couldn’t just cross the series off the new list, and figure I’ll go hunting for those some other time.

But it definitely means I’m on the hunt for this "dead universe" of DC-published TSR comics; most of the Dragonlance and at least half of the Spelljammer runs. I might eventually extend to the more modern iterations of the titles such as from IDW…but those lose a certain quaint sorta "charm".

Time will tell!

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