Thursday, June 9, 2011

AD&D Coloring Book

Everyone has their first DnD memory, usually one of which revolves around the trusty "red box" edition. Admittedly, that classic's one of my firsts as well, but I have a slightly different road to my very first DnD memory, and methinks it's certainly a less traveled one at that.

Thanks to my mother being a candidate for the A&E series "Hoarders" this gem of my youth was preserved. She called the other and said she had found some of my old books and asked if I wanted them. Of course I said, "Sure..." figuring I'd take a look and end up recycling most of it. Well in there were some of my old coloring books, but this isn't just any old coloring book, but an official Dungeons and Dragons coloring "album" written by the late Gary Gygax.

I'm going to have to sit down and give it a proper (and thorough) read-through, but from what I can tell it's basically a self-contained adventure module. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and immediately better than any roleplaying fare of the same time period. In fact, why didn't they shoot for all of their art to look like this back then?

The text is pure, classic RPG gold. I can tell you this though, it was lost on the seven year-old Mik, haha. I am going to sit back down with this now that I've got my hands on it again and read through it. The top half sets up the scene but if you look at the bottom half, it gives you...stats. That's right, it's not just a coloring "album", it's a game too!

I remember not having a flesh colored marker back then, yes, thirty years "back then" and was going to go back and finish it with pencils. Well you know what? I've got a new summer project, and that's to finish this picture!

Here's some more unfinished coloring, and it's a Bulette!

In the middle of the book is the dungeon map itself, which if you've even been a pre-teen drawing dungeon maps, is big trip down memory lane. Like I said, there's so much awesomeness inside and I had completely forgotten all about it until just last week. I also, now that I've seen it again, remember taking it to school for show-and-tell. That's why my mom wrote "Please do not color in my book!" on the cover!


  1. That is awesome. I have never seen that before. Interesting that is is Advanced D&D and not normal D&D.

  2. That is freakin' amazing. I would love some full size scans if you finish up those images!

  3. Wow. I never had any coloring books when I was a kid that featured a Bulette eating a horse.

  4. I love the idea of a book that grows with the reader. First it's for colouring in, then for stories and later gaming. What a concept! Made to last, and a long-term emotional bond.

    What a product for that matter. Maybe producers are thinking too short term these days?

  5. Hotness. Now I have to go ask my mom why she ruined my childhood (again) by never getting me this sweet coloring book!

    Crazy that it's in such good condition. My books from that era were brutalized by owlbears and sticky fingers.

  6. @Brad: Yeah, considering it came out in 1979, the 'advanced' in there is a bit odd.

    @Tristan: I'll see what I can do!

    @Nick: Well said, I guess it had a pretty profound impact on me this whole time!

    @Porky: You've hit the nail on the head (as usual), this thing still seems ahead of its time.

    @CClay: It gets better, this was one of three equally awesome coloring "albums". I brutalized one with featuring a giant manga-style robot, but the third is as sheer of genius as this one, but on a totally different level. I'll get some posts up of those too.

    For the record, I've now given this over to my daughter (as well as the others) and she is picking up where I left off.

  7. I love the expression of terror on the dwarfs face as his buddy's horse gets mauled by that bulette!

  8. Damn dude, you were seven? That's some damned neat colouring in for a seven year old

  9. @Christian: "Ach! I cannae afford to loan him money for another horse!"

    @Dangerous Brian: Looking back I was probably six when I first got this, but I colored on it through the years. I probably didn't do the Bulette page 'til a couple of years later. There's a big difference between that and the title page.

    My eight year old finished up the Night Hag Riding a Nightmare page though, and it looks better than any of this!