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Bill Willingham's You Tube: TSR Ads in Comic Books  

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dan2448
(@dan2448)
Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 23
01/05/2020 4:00 pm  

I suspect some of you have already seen the series of videos posted recently on You Tube under the title,  "Drawing Me Out With Bill Willingham."

I thought I'd start a topic here to discuss one episode in particular, the one about the comic-style advertisements that TSR ran in Marvel Comics nearly 40 years ago.

I loved these ads as a kid.  I was very interested in his story of how they were created, even if, as with so much about the RPGs and Comic Books that I loved a as kid and as a teenager in the 1980s, the 'behind the scenes' stories are almost always bubble-bursting and leave me with the impression of a much smaller business/'industry' than I had envisioned as a child.

Specifically, what spurred me to write about this particular episode here was Bill Willingham's line about Jeff Dee, that he was, "the kind of guy who would grab a bucket of water and rush into hell."  This line struck me, in part because there's a little bit of this in me as well, and because it was sort of how I had come to conceive of Bill Willingham's public persona, from his sometimes cantankerous and sometimes controversial editorials in his "Elementals" comics, and from his periodic interviews over decades.  

I was also amazed to learn that there was once a Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  I've never been there myself, but I always envisioned lake Geneva to be a small-ish place, and for Playboy Clubs (which came and went before my time) to have been located in only the biggest cities.

I was also gratified to finally have confirmed what I had suspected as a kid (from the art style): that one of the early episodes was drawn by Jeff Dee.

The details about TSR wanting all violence "off camera" and not wanting the ads to show a style of playing D&D which I saw a decade ago referred to as "murder hobo-ism," where wandering parties roll into town briefly, kill everything in sight (monster and man), loot all their treasure, and then leave, remorselessly.  This made me laugh because, if you had asked me in 1981/1982, I would have been totally unaware as a kid that there was any other way to play D&D.

Well, those are my thoughts.  Might anyone have anything to add (or disagree with)?

This topic was modified 1 month ago by dan2448

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Majestic
(@majestic)
Estimable Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 131
06/05/2020 4:57 pm  

I've enjoyed each of these 'Drawing me Out' as well.  I loved those old TSR ads, too.

Fun bit of trivia: the old Playboy Club in Lake Geneva is now the Grand Geneva hotel, where Gary Con has been held for many years.  So many of us venture back there to wander its halls every year.

Even more fun trivia: Jeff and Jack once shared that this (the Playboy club) was the actual location where they first pitched V&V, as teenagers, to FGU.  IIRC, it might have been an early GenCon being held there (a quick glance at Wikipedia suggests that Gen Con X was held there in 1977).

 

 

V&V GM and player since 1982, my current campaign is 29 years old


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dan2448
(@dan2448)
Eminent Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 23
07/05/2020 2:09 pm  

I love this further detail, Doug!  I am going to start a new topic about this Playboy Club now.


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