This week saw the passing of David A. Trampier, an artist whose work always reminded me of the woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer and Gustave Doré. Trampier's black and white line work was obsessively detailed and richly conveyed light and texture. He was also co-designer of the board game Titan. Trampier's world was one of hard-bitten, opportunistic adventurers (including seeming self-inserts, like the bearded chap here):
And sophisticated monsters:
Note the shoutout to wacky boardgame Snit Smashing in the lower right-hand corner...
And the perils of living in a world in which you're not necessarily on the top of the food chain:
Dave Trampier was also a gifted comic artist, whose Wormy comic portrayed the everyday lives of monsters in a sympathetic light (Eskov's The Last Ringbearer mines similar territory). The monsters is Wormy, aside from the eponymous, conniving game-hustler dragon, were working stiffs, just trying to live their lives in peace, for the most part. "Tramp" was able to portray his "other" characters with genuine pathos- one of my particular favorite sequences has his most sympathetic characters going from sorrow to relief (and comic relief) in the space of a few panels. One of his most beautiful pieces is the coda to this sequence, in which his intrepid duo makes their triumphant arrival in Toadtown:
In the mid-80s, Tramp gave up his art career, even leaving his checks uncashed (it's commonly thought that he felt that he was screwed over by his employer. About fifteen years later, he was featured in a newspaper profile of late-night taxi drivers in Carbondale, Illinois. After being located, he was courted by fans but declined all overtures and offers of work. In one of life's tragic ironies, he may have been planning a return to the art and gaming communities in the months before his passing.
RIP, DAT! It's a pity to have lost you twice. Your intricate art fired the imaginations of legions of fans... it's a pity that the majority of us were too young to shower you with financial success to equal our esteem for your work.