Friday, February 6, 2015

Old School at the Old School

I've had business on West 57th street in Manhattan lately, around the Columbus Circle / Carnegie Hall area, and in doing so came across a pleasant surprise in front of the Art Students League of New York.

The building's facade is currently covered by restoration scaffolding, but the organization has seized the opportunity to turn the otherwise coarse metal columns into canvases for student murals. One of which (out of about ten in various styles) is a full comic about a typical party of fantasy adventurers!

(My apologies for the grainy images produced by my budget smartphone. And I'm afraid no more specific credit than "ASL Comics and Arts Students" was evident, and the hashtag #CreateArt@aslnyc.)

However, it occurs to me I should find this less surprising than I do. I'm still catching up with the unexpected growth of dungeon-delving imagery into the mainstream. The tropes of mixed adventuring parties, underground labyrinths, faux-medieval stylings, work-a-day magic-users and some very specific monster types (think about it: how many people outside of tabletop gaming even heard of a "Lich" fifteen years ago?) are now the subject of superbowl ads pitching casual gaming apps to the masses. So why shouldn't it be fit to stand next to Mucha and Lichtenstein as part of established pop-culture canon.

Theses boards are about seven feet tall, from floor to top.

Actually, lots of my adventures would've ended better if we all just went home half-way through.

Bards: managing failiure since 1st edition.

What does it mean that these kids think of the Mom as a high level soul-rending demon?