Thursday, July 17, 2003

Knights Of The Dinner Table Origins Special #1 - A Review

Written by: Jolly Blackburn, Brian Jelke, Steve Johansson and David S. Kenzer
Penciled by: Jolly Blackburn
Inked by: N/A
Colored by: N/A
Lettered by: N/A
Editor: Jolly Blackburn
Publisher: Kenzer And Company

A bit of explanation is in order here at the start. This is not, despite the presence of the word “Origins” in the title, a story of the origins of the Knights of the Dinner Table. Origins, in this case, refers to an international gaming expo held every summer in Columbus, Ohio. This comic is a free special that was given out to all ticket-holders at the convention for free and has now been made available to the comic-reading public. Yet despite not being a typical “origin” issue, this is still a great jumping on point into the series for new readers.

The set up of the book is simple; five friends sit around a table playing role-playing games. There are various different groups of friends, based on different RPG groups in the town of Muncie and this comic introduces us to all of them, if all too briefly. Most of the book focuses on The Knights (Bob, Dave, Sara, Brian and BA), but we also get a look at two other groups; The Blackhands (the most dysfunctional of the groups, filled with players who fight each other as much as the monsters) and The Perps (the least explored of the core characters, but no less interesting for it).

Unlike some issues of the main book of late, a lot of the humor is this issue is very accessible to non-gamers. Consider the story where the chronically long-winded Newt gives way too much information about his character when asked to talk about it. Who hasn’t been stuck in suck a situation where someone else is chewing your ear off about something that was interesting at first, but is quickly becoming duller than dirt?

This is balanced by a few strips which are definitely geared towards the role-playing gamers in the audience, such as the final strip where the merits of a new 4.25 upgrade of a paper and pencil game are debated, mocking a real debate between gamers today over whether the newest edition of Dungeons and Dragons Core Rulebooks Version 3.5 is really an improvement of version 3.0 or just a scam to make more money. Still, whether you’re a regular dice slinger or just a fan of good comedy, the Knights will come to your rescue!

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