Author(s): David Kushner
Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story. Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game, determining the rules and inventing the signature 20-sided dice. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand. Gygax was a purist, in the sense that he was adamant that players use their imaginations and that the rules of the game remain flexible. A creative mind with no real knowledge of business, he made some strategic errors and had a falling out with the game's co-creator, his close friend and partner, David Arneson. By the late 1970s the game had become so popular among kids that parents started to worry -- so much so that a mom's group was formed to alert parents to the dangers of role play and fantasy. The backlash only fueled the fires of the young fans who continued to play the game, escaping into imaginary worlds. Before long, D&D conventions were set up around the country and the game inspired everything from movies to the first video games. With D&D, Gygax created the kind of role playing fantasy that would fuel the multibillion dollar video game industry, and become a foundation of contemporary geek culture.
David Kushner is an award-winning journalist and author of many books, including three on gaming: Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids, and Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone and the 2016 Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, Kushner has written for GQ, the New Yorker, the New York Times, and elsewhere. This book is based on his 2008 Wired profile of Gary Gygax and extensive interviews with both Gygax and Dave Arneson-Dungeons & Dragons' co-creators-before they died. Koren Shadmi is an American Israeli cartoonist and illustrator. His graphic novels have been published internationally, and include In the Flesh, The Abaddon, Mike's Place, and Love Addict: Confessions of a Serial Dater. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, Village Voice, Playboy, Washington Post, Wired, and elsewhere. Koren's work has won several awards at the Society of Illustrators. He teaches illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York.