Monday, May 27, 2024

TSR Women of Fantasy Calendar

So, I've been enjoying Steve (Stan) Brown's weekly podcast on the history of TSR as told by people who worked there at some point over the last fifty years, with each weekly episode illustrated by a cartoon rendering of an iconic piece of D&D art.

This week's guest was Karen Conlin (Karen Boomgarden back when I knew her, from '91 to '96). It was good to see her after all these years and to hear her perspective on what TSR was like in back in those times. There was one story I was sure they'd bring up that didn't get told. Thinking back, it was before Stan's time. So I thought I'd share. Here's how I remember it.

A tradition at TSR every Christmas was the Tacky Gift Exchange, in which all the designers and editors who wanted to take part drew names from a hat and then traded presents on the last day before Christmas. There was a mathom that got traded around each year, but as might be expected from a great big room stuffed with creative people a few were memorable. *

This particular year, 1993 or 1994, had seen the release of TSR's WOMEN OF FANTASY calendar, in which the staff artists had outdone themselves in the scantiness of the scanty outfits on display.  Whoever drew Karen's name had an inspiration: he or she got one of these cheesecake calendars, then went through a clothes calendar like Land's End and cut out clothes to cover the inadequate bits. He or she then taped into place the comfy sweaters and sensible slacks. The juxtaposition between what we might call the Caldwell school of illustration and what those characters might actually wear was hilarious.

I wonder if that artifact of the past survives and, if so, who has it.  

--John R.

* P.S. For example, THE LITTLE BOOK OF ELVES, created I think by Rich Baker and given to Colin McComb; it was particularly apt because Colin had just finished PHBR6: ELVES 

No comments: