Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Small Press Re-Discoveries

We recently moved a few things around and re-discovered a bunch of Mini-Comics (Phobovore Comix might live again!), old Zines and other stuff from the early to mid-Eighties. There were copies of Fringeward, Serendipity, Scream Factory, After Hours, Scavengers' Newsletter; plus there were a few copies of Silver Griffin, an RPG-zine that was produced locally back then.

Silver Griffin was where we first discovered/encountered Remgarn, one of the more disreputable NPCs whom we've used to good effect in numerous scenarios that we've run at various conventions and the like. The Exotic Armors article was written for AD&D (1st edition), so it might even be slightly useful after all this time. Especially with the impending reprint of the 1st edition books by WoTC.

Why do you think it was named
'Griff Silv Crater?'
The Guide to the Weird City might also be worth reprinting, if only for historical perspective. There had been plans to expand the central map significantly, but that never happened, or rather it hasn't happened yet.

Bybark the Mad, Zabbrum the World Walker, Flame-Snails, Ice Lions...It was a lot of fun working on those articles for Silver Griffin

It's also great to see new Zines like Fight On!, Delve!Oubliette, The Manor, Crawl and Loviatar (and others) out there, and more seem to be popping up all the time. It'd be great to see the Zine & Mini-Comics small press scene be reborn. Maybe there'll be a revival of sorts and we'll see a new version of W. Paul Ganley's Weirdbook. That'd be awesome.

We re-used this guy on our post about Scribbles...


  1. Cool. You really about to post the content of some of these.

  2. Wow. I'm feeling that. The stain is like the frosting. Did you actually publish these? If so, I say reprint, at least one or two to see whether we can handle it. Proof if it were even needed that you guys go way back, that you're heartwood.

  3. @Trey: What's coolest of all, for me, was finding my very first professional illustration which was sold to W. Paul Ganley of Weirdbook. We've talked it over and decided to re-print some of our old AD&D-oriented stuff from the few issues of SG on-hand. It might be fun to finish Remgarn's Map and guide to the Weird City as well. Maybe.

    @Porky: Silver Griffin was published by D. Johnson back in the Eighties. He sort of dropped off the face of the earth and the Zine folded. It ran to about a dozen issues, I think. We only have a few remaining copies here. There's probably a few more floating around out there or tucked-away in some attic or cellar in Minneapolis.

    As for reprinting...we don't have the rights to anyone else's work, and all rights reverted to the contributors, so we'll stick to reprinting our own stuff or at least some of it.

    As for going way back...we're just getting old. So much of what once was oh so important back in the day is meaningless, forgotten, obscure and lost now. Too many of the folks we used to game with have passed away. If anything all the time we've been 'working' on all this crap is embarrassing--there is no merit in taking too long to finally let something go. It's the final product that matters, not the years it took to get it done.

    @Matthew: We've discussed this, as I noted above, and we've decided to re-print some of our stuff from these old 'zines, probably even revise/expand on a few things. That said, we're willing to send you one of the better-printed issues we have here and you can see if your scanner can do a better job than ours. So far the faded printing isn't coming through very well, but as you have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, maybe you'll have better luck. Drop us an email with your mailing address via our new Contact Us page and we'll get a Silver Griffin out to you via the USPS.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Jim. That's a piece of Twin Cities gaming history I have never heard of before. And a very cool illustration to boot!

  5. The Eighties weren't all just big hair and Zubaz-pants, though it might have come close for a while there. There is a ton of this sort of thing out there, in just about any sizable community. I used to correspond with DMs & small press writers & artists in Chicago, New Jersey, New Mexico and elsewhere. we had Factsheet Five, and Scavenger's Newsletter (Thanks Janet!), to help us find each other. Now everyone has a website, blog or Facebook account.

    One thing that nags at me these days is just how ephemeral all that work, all those physically produced 'Zines and Mini-Comics and Newsletters and so on turned out to be...and now the vast majority of such things are done electronically, making them even more ephemeral and vulnerable to the depredations of time and an uncaring universe.

  6. The point about ephemera is a good one. I don't know how I feel about it. I think we gain from letting go, but the value of having the resources available down the generations is clear. Maybe we need to store well, but refrain from referring too often, to go boldly outwards knowing we have a guide to hand if we ever need new strength.

  7. @Porky: Entropy wins. No matter what measures we take or what we try to do to preserve stuff for whomever might come next, it all eventually either burns out, fades away or crumbles into obscurity. There's a bit of melancholy in that. But like you said; we do need to let things go and move on, always keep moving onward, ever onward.

    It was a pleasant surprise to find those old bits and pieces from the old days. It'll be fun to revise some of these old articles into new and improved versions.

  8. Hi I collect obscure old rpg stuff (zines and games) and would love to get (read pay) for any that you want to get rid of.. My zine/magazine collection stands at 4000+ issues.. please feel free to email me;) beasterbrook at hotmail dot com

    1. I'm planning to scan a few of these and send them off to Mr. Schmeer so that the contents...such as they are...can be shared with anyone interested. Once that's done, I can certainly consider selling off the physical copies. Some of these are very obscure...

    2. Just following you up;) Silver Griffin ran for 33 issues I think..


    3. There were at least two different Silver Griffins. The one I contributed articles/artwork to was a very small/micro-press venture out of St. Paul, MN. Think they had all of a dozen issues all told. The other zine was from a then up-and-coming small rpg company supporting their own set of proprietary rules. Not sure what all happened with them. Sorry to not have been so active of late. Been very, very ill. Focusing on health and getting back up to speed these days. Will return to blogging, etc. when I'm able.

  9. and like 8 years later I'm following you up;)


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