Thursday, May 17, 2018

D&D meets Underground San-Fran artist: The Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album 1979

Back again true believers! A look at another long out of print D&D gem! The "Official Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Coloring Album of 1979! Let's jump right into the deep end, shall we?
     This "coloring album" was published in 1979 by Troubador Press of San Francisco. Written by your hero & mine, Gary Gygax, with a starter dungeon & adventure for the young & young at heart!

I haven't colored anything in this book...the previous owner did. But this coloring album is what inspired us to color most(if not all) of the illustrations in our 3 AD&D books soon after!
     And just so you know...I didn't own this back when I started playing D&D...the same good friend I've mentioned many times here did. I'd always loved the art in this I tracked it down & pulled the trigger!
My friend colored his immediately....and did a pretty awesome job if memory serves me correctly.....
     The art in this book is iconic for me....looked at this at the same time as the Holmes basic & AD&D books. The artist here, one Greg Irons, is both a very colorful and tragic figure.Born in Philly in '47...he moved to San Fran and started illustrating for the underground press of the late 60's early 1970's. He even worked on the Beatles "Yellow Submarine" movie! Worked for concert promoter Bill Graham at the legendary Fillmore...and later illustrated books. He died in an accident in Bangkok in 1984 at the too young age of 37. Super talented guy...he did some tattoo work as well....would have loved to have gotten some ink for such a talented individual! Here's the link to his wiki page for anybody who'd like to check him out.
     Since this album is on the net at various places I won't reproduce it here in its entirety.....yet still lets check out the dungeon that came with Gary's adventure setting!
1 level....with the monsters already placed for the DM! Gary's story of the adventure is also well done! The ODM (Original Dungeon Master!) was a natural born storyteller & this album should be considered a treasure for his story alone!
     Let's look at some of the great works by Greg Irons in the album...
The party at the Green Dragon Inn before the adventure gets rolling....Humans, Dwarves & Halflings!
A Cleric turning a easy feet!
The party's encounter with a Beholder! The "Eye Tyrant" has killed a dwarf hero & sent him to a watery grave!
An Umber Hulk attacks! Great action depicted by Mr Irons!
A "sneak-peek" into the Abyss...where some demons are engaged in a game of dice...with Demogorgon lurking in the background!
Always remembered this Ettin surprising the party!
The Zorn here would make a killer tattoo....& would be perfect for a T shirt!
And a Wizard summoning an Effreti!
The last page shows some of the other books published by Troubador press....I've never know anybody who owned anything else by them. Might be worth a look...

    Very cool small illustration to go along with the contact info for TSR!

     I know we used this dungeon as a starting point for some of our early adventures...just a small beginners dungeon to get our feet to speak. These illustrations are on par for me with any of the ancient D&D art....great stuff that really helped bring the monster to life in my adolescent mind! I'll always be grateful to Gary for creating this & Greg for his brilliant art!
     Side note....there are always a few of these coloring albums on Ebay....sometimes you can catch them at a reasonable price like I did! The ones I've seen for sale on Amazon are always at an astronomical price....but each his own!
    Here is an extra added bonus to anybody reading this far...I found another of my friend's old AD&D notebooks!
The insane thing is he cut the cover & lettering off the original notebook & glued them onto this larger notebook! Looks to me like a "Black Rider" like figure searching for some Hobbit types!
     He copied the Chainmail rules into this one as well...along with the addition of new creatures from the MM2 and Fiend's Folio!

He must have planned on using this as a kind of DM's log....he even added info from Gamma World...since we were incorporating GW into our D&D campaign around then!
Great memories for me of weekend long D&D sessions and hanging out with my friends!
Hope you enjoyed this look back at gems from my D&D career! 'Till next time...Excelsior!


  1. I had my own copy, which disappeared over several moves (I think), so I bought an almost uncolored copy off eBay a while back. I am slowly coloring it in.
    The new book that came out a year or two ago is great, but lacks the nostalgia factor.

  2. This book takes me back to discovering D&D....the wonder & awe, the excitement of seeing the new products as they rolled out of Wisconsin....great times!