Community J!NX Blog

David A. Trampier

The world lost a great artist today.

David A. Trampier, often referred to by his initials as DAT, was one of the most influential early artists for Dungeons and Dragons as well as the creator of Wormy, a long-running comic in Dragon Magazine. DAT was the creator of countless pieces of now-iconic art in the early D&D manuals, the most well known being the cover of the 1st Edition Player's Manual. His work was also copiously present in the Monster Manual, defining the original appearance for classic foes like the slow-witted hill-giant and the hyper-intellectual Rakshasa.

Sadly his public art career ended abruptly when one day he decided to just stop. No real answers were ever given, and the series Wormy mysteriously ended in April of 1988 in the middle of a storyline that was never to be finished. After a long period with no communication with the Dragon publishers, everyone assumed that something had happened to Trampier. It wasn't until YEARS later that an interview with a taxi driver in Illinois named David A. Trampier surfaced that fans believed he may still be around. This was confirmed by Wizards of the Coast not long after, stating that he was alive, but not to expect any art from him.

Click the photo for the full view, it's worth seeing all of.

On a personal note from us at JINX, we have a lot of D&D fans here, and specifically 1st edition fans. We love the feel of the early TSR games, the kind of excited, unpolished product that can only result from a true passion and love for what you do. Our Benevolent Creative Overlord, Sean had this to say:

“This is so sad. I was literally looking at his art in the Monster Manual on my desk just moments before I saw this news. He was, hands down, my favorite D&D artist, and one of my favorite artists of all time.”

It was extremely sad when we lost Gary Gygax in 2008, and with the passing of Trampier, another man who made something that means so much to us is no more. His work will forever stand testament to the early days of Roleplaying, and we can look back thankfully to those who had the pioneering spirit to be the first to start a movement, without which the world would be very different indeed.

Rest In Peace, David A. Trampier. Thank you for all the art you shared with the world. You will be missed.

[EDIT: If you want to read more about Tramp, and the first explaination I've ever heard for why he stopped working with TSR/Wizards, the Castle's Ramparts Blog has a post up about his passing as well.]