The Alexandrian

Tagline: Possibly the funniest gamer-related cartoon of all time, Knights of the Dinner Table has well-deserved its position as a cult classic. All true gamers should be reading this. Hoody hoo!

I would now give the title of “funniest gamer-related cartoon of all time” to the early strips of Order of the Stick. I have long since let my subscription to Knights of the Dinner Table lapse, but these early strips are still hilarious good fun.

Knights of the Dinner Table - Jolly BlackburnAlthough this review purports to focus primarily on the reprint volume Bundle of Trouble it’s really going to be a general assessment of the Knights of the Dinner Table (KODT) strip as a whole.

KODT debuted in the pages of Shadis several years ago when its creator, Jolly Blackburn, was still serving as the editor of the magazine he had created. Jolly would eventually leave Shadis and KODT would make the transition to the back of Dragon Magazine. More recently KODT has become its own stand-alone comic/magazine and is now well over the twenty issue mark. The first few issues have become scarce and impossible to track down, which brings us to Bundle of Trouble — a reprint volume of the first three issues.

Although gamer-oriented comics have had a place in the hobby for years, KODT was the first strip to truly take the humor of those strips out of the game settings and place it on the gamers themselves. It focuses on the escapades of B.A. Felton, the GM, and his players: Bob Herzog, Dave Bozwell, Brian Van Hoose, and (more recently) Sara Felton (B.A.’s cousin). In addition, a large supporting cast has been established, including Gary Jackson (the creator of the HackMaster(TM) game); Nitro Ferguson (infamous for his LARP involving steam tunnels and college students); and Weird Pete (everyone’s favorite game store owner and Keeper of the Lore).

It has become clear over the years of KODT’s growing popularity and success that Jolly Blackburn has successfully tapped into the gamer’s consciousness. His strips repeatedly strike far too close to home not to elicit peals of laughter while raising the question, “Where has he hidden the camera he’s filming my gaming group with?” Again and again Jolly succeeds at pinioning the classic stereotypes and realities of gamers in a hilarious fashion. His quirky, amateur style – which he constantly pokes fun at himself – only serves to heighten the effect. It has well-deserved its reputation as a cult classic and is quite possibly the funniest gaming-related comic every produced. All true gamers should be reading this strip, and Bundle of Trouble would be an excellent place to start.

Hoody hoo!

Style: 5
Substance: 5

Author: Jolly Blackburn
Company/Publisher: Kenzer & Company
Cost: $9.95
Page count: 96
ISBN: n/a
Originally Posted: 1998/12/14

No offense to my former self, but this is a terrible review: It summarizes content without explaining why the summary is significant, and it spends far too much time saying “it’s really funny!” without explaining why I think it’s funny. It starts to pull itself together in the last paragraph, but then abruptly stops instead.

Ah, well. Can’t win ’em all.

On the other hand, I am going to go pull my collections down off the shelf.

For an explanation of where these reviews came from and why you can no longer find them at RPGNet, click here.

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5 Responses to “RPGNet Reviews – Knights of the Dinner Table, Volume 1”

  1. Marthinwurer says:

    OOtS is definitely my favorite webcomic.

  2. Norcross says:

    I used to love KoDT, but stopped buying it years ago when they pulled my favorite feature (Gamer’s Rant on the Movies) due to a few people whining that they weren’t interested in it. These people whined that devoting two pages in each issue to something they didn’t like made the whole book worthless. Meanwhile, there were at least a dozen pages of each issue that were completely useless for me, but I didn’t care – I skipped them and read the parts I liked.
    Kenzer ended up dropping the column because of these whiners threatening to drop their subscription if there was a single page in the magazine that wasn’t just for them. And I ended up dropping the magazine – not because there were multiple columns I didn’t care about, but because there was no longer any column that I did.

  3. Sebastien Roblin says:

    Knight of the Dinner Table is hilarious, but I found that it does have the downside of being extremely cynical about gamers and gaming, presenting such a bleak portrait that it can leave one despairing over human nature (at least in the later issues that I read). By contrast, OoTS manages to laugh at 3.5 system while still demonstrating how it can be used to create a compelling story; on the other hand, it concerns characters rather than players, and the series is so episodic that you have no chance of following it if you don’t start from the beginning.

  4. Roy says:

    I got into KODT early and had the original four comics. I kinda lost interest a little after hack master was published and I sold my comics.

    I got some good money because one comic had a story I suggested. Back then when they used your suggestions you got a free copy with Blackburn’s autograph.

    I would pick it up now but too many of the stories are not stand alone so it is difficult to just jump right in.

  5. LordTentacle says:

    I find the editorials in material to be very positive especially as regards “print is still alive.” I find the comic still funny vis-à-vis gaming table parody and satire and about the industry itself with a gentle and balanced hand. I really enjoy their stuff, and while there are portions that I find more useful or entertaining than others, I get multiple laughs and ideas out of each issue.

    I don’t know what to say about losing the movie rant – I’d be pissed, too if someone dropped my favorite piece in a magazine. Still, publishing is a numbers game, and I’d guess more spoke against the feature than for it; I doubt it was a minority.

    It is true there are ongoing stories, but there are usually notes that explain where they are. I mean, 36K subscribers and nigh on to about 180+ issues – they must be doing something right.

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