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DND Icons of the Realm Adult Red Dragon

I’ve long been a sucker for giant-sized "miniatures." Heroclix Galactus back in the day. vehicles and such in Mage Knight. And even miniatures in general, whether D&D, Mage Knight, Heroclix, Warmachine, Warhammer(/40k), etc.

A year or two back, I bought a (used) box of the D&D game Attack Wing or such (the D&D version of the one Star Wars game)…just for the DRAGONS.

So when I recently learned of an upcoming giant-sized dragon–the Adult Red Dragon–from the Dungeons & Dragons Icons of the Realms line, I was all for it.

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The box wound up being significantly larger than I’d expected! But that also made the figure itself larger than I expected…and i’d been a BIT worried about its pose with the wings, whether they’d make the overall figure seem too "skinny" or be opened out and adding depth and "size."

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I needn’t have worried overly much. This thing is huge.

Appropriately enough, I had a "nano mini-fig" D&D mini handy to pose with the dragon.

While still surely out of scale, it at least shows what a couple-inches-tall figure looks like dwarfed by the dragon!

And in the background you can see a Heroclix Sentinel, as well as the lower part of The Spectre.

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Here’s another angle with the figures isolated on a different shelf…

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And another angle to create the illusion of a greater difference of size!

This is probably my favorite of my dragon "minis" thus far–though the Mage Knight dragons have a lot of nostalgia for me, and are still cool artifacts from the past for me and NOT something I’ll be looking to part with anytime soon.

But all the more for the price I paid–my math was broken, so it wound up even cheaper than I’d mentally budgeted despite having the discount %percentage correct–this is an amazing figure, and I’m really looking forward to the Adult Blue Dragon now, and even considering other Adult _____ Dragons. A definite "grail" piece, though, would be the Mage Knight Apocalypse Dragon…but that was a limited-edition thing 16-17 years ago, let alone now!

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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.

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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.

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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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Back to Old Gaming Stuff (With a Little New)

Over the holiday weekend, I had a chance to dig out some dice, pull my old Players Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons off its shelf, and for the first time in 13-15 years, play D&D.

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I’d bought this volume when it was brand-new, back whenever that was (early 2000s!), and shortly after also bought the Dungeon Master’s Guide…though I never really got around to being able to use them. (It would be several more years before I snagged the Monster Manual after 3.5 had hit and it was "on sale" as an outdated edition.)

I was unable to actually find my old dicebag (having recently moved, and it being so long since I’d had need of the thing, I haven’t a clue where it’s wound up!)…so I scrounged up another bag from some USB multi-piece set, and managed to pull together a small assortment of dice from several different gaming bins (Heroclix, Shadowrun: Duels, D&D Miniatures). But then, not satisfied with that, I hit a comic/game shop and snagged a cheap set of 7 dice and then a number of random misc. dice to beef up my now-current collection.

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In rummaging through everything looking for the old dice, I found two large card boxes that proved to hold a number of stand-out Magic: the Gathering cards I remember.

Above: two "dual lands" from the Revised Edition. I’d at one point had a third, but I’d traded that to someone for a couple other cards I was more interested in. That was before these become such incredibly expensive cards. I obviously stuck them into card protectors, and for the moment, they can stay there.

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A couple more "fun" cards–the hydras! The Balduvian Hydra is from the Ice Age expansion, while the Rock Hydra is from the Revised Edition, I believe. I quite enjoyed using both, being a fan of the token-creatures and stuff, and just the rarity and air about ’em (the Ice Age card being the "new" or "poor man’s" Rock Hydra).

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Similar to the Balduvian Hydra, the Polar Kraken was–to me–a neat creature that seemed like a new version of an older one–and fun to use as one of the largest (if not THE largest) creatures in the game at the time, the Leviathan. I believe I traded or bought the two Leviathan cards from the The Dark set, and "inherited" the Fourth Edition one from a friend when he got out of the game.

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And then there’s my favorite subset of cards from the game: the Elder Dragons! (The Nicol Bolas pictured here is out of its case for the group photo…it was in the case in a photo shared several weeks ago.)

Chromium was by far my favorite of the five, if only for the art and concept, but probably also for its inclusion in some of the early comics. Nicol Bolas has come to be a favorite as well thanks to use of the character in the books (Time Spiral in particular) and for getting a toy made!

While probably not at all powerful nowadays, some 65 sets and 12,000+ cards later, considering I got into the game in early 1995 or so (the game had not yet been out for 2 years!), these were great at the time, and truly the stuff of legends.

Though they’re obviously not comic books, I may start "showing off" some of my old favorites as I come across them, sorting through all these old cards that I hadn’t realized were not in with what I’d thought was my entire collection (oops!).

Time will tell, though!

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Last Week’s Mega-Haul – Week of December 09, 2015

last_weeks_haul_1209fIn the wake of a seeming random 50% off sale that rolled into a “Black Friday Week” sale at the local comic shop (that saw stuff go from 50 to 60 to 70 to 80 to 90% off on successive days, the remnants wound up as “Dollar Table” items.

And as is usually the case, for the price, I was more than willing to buy a few extra things beyond “just” my usual comics for the week…

And consequently, I more than doubled my library of RPG supplement books, while making the “regular” new comics seem prohibitively expensive by comparison, certainly an extremely poor value compared to the bargain table stuff.

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Along with a randomish-ly purchased Munchkin issue (reviewed the other day) and the latest Constantine: The Hellblazer issue, I got a couple other X-Men volumes at cover price…and largely cleared out the gaming books from the bargain table.

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Considering Lensman had a steep sticker price…and was here for “only” $1…absolutely worth checking out. The FantasyCraft volume also looked interesting, and for $1…and its sheer size and being a hardcover? Certainly worth getting. And the D&D book…ditto. Then, of course, would be a shame to pass on the Civil War volume for $1, if I’d ever wind up with the main volume. And for $1 apiece, the Smallville books were a no-brainer…particularly my being on a relative Superman kick of late.

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And then because they were there, and it’s D&D and only $1 so why not?…cleared out the D&D supplement volumes.

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I definitely remembered seeing the Dragon Magazine Annual volume a couple weeks earlier and being mildly curious…an Annual for a magzine, published to fit right in with other supplemental volumes…definitely cool! (I’m a fan of such things!)

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And Eberron is a name I’m familiar with from sometime down the years… and then Menzoberranzan and Dark Sun are both names I’m QUITE familiar with from the Spellfire game from TSR back in the early days of collectible/trading card games.

All told, including the NEW comics, and tax, I paid slightly less than what any ONE of these hardcover supplement volumes would have cost at cover price. This spoils me, though, on the notion of buying additional volumes…but certainly “weights” things toward D&D Fourth Edition over any of the others!

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