“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
I was introduced to RPG’s at a reasonably young age by two little shits on the school playground. It was the very end of the 1980’s and I was an introverted 10 year old at a new school. At lunch I overheard two kids talking about killing some form of demonic wolf creatures that couldn’t be seen without a magical spell. Now being a fledgling fantasy fan who had watched the Ralph Bakshi ‘Lord of the Rings’ at least 20 times, this sounded supremely interesting. I edged closer and closer hoping to enter the conversation through some weird form of social osmosis, willing them to notice me. They finally stopped talking and looked at me in unison.
“What are you guys talking about?”
“Roleplaying” came the brisk reply
“What is that? Sounded cool.”
“We play a game were we’re warriors and wizards who kill all kinds of monsters and get magic. It’s called Dungeons and Dragons.” The words sort of escaped in a lazy rambling manner as if this was the most boring question I could have ever asked.
A decaying orbit around Neptune isn’t somewhere you’d want to find yourself with an emotionally unstable physicist in tow.
I’m 17 years old, I’ve just paid to go and see a film that looked for all the world like a cross between Predator and Aliens on a space ship, with a banging soundtrack by the Prodigy. Laurence Fishburne stars, and I’m wandering into the now defunct Arena 7 Cinema at the NYNEX Arena with a pep in my step and an excited smile on my face.
Nothing had prepared me for what I was about to experience.
‘all structures collapse, mysteries unfold
borne from the skies in these times of grace’
Whilst John Blanche is quite rightly regarded as the undisputed master of grimdark within the Warhammer realm, there are myriad other artists working beyond that it’s narrow borders whose visual aesthetic could certainly be considered ‘grimdark’ and thus partially responsible for the ritual scarification of my adolescent mind. As an act of penance on my part if you will, to provide a cultural counterweight to my forthcoming Rob Liefeld confessional, I want to cleanse my soul by turning my attention to a master of the form. A man, much like John Blanche, whose sense of grim splatterpunk violence and gallows humour was crucial in shaping my own tastes and approach to artistic endeavour. Guys, can we just take a minute and talk about Simon Fucking Bisley? Continue reading →