Appendix: C? (Fantasy Comics for RPG Inspiration)

I’ve been thinking about trying to come up with what comic series I would put on a comics version of Appendix N. I think my initial desire is to avoid anything that is an adaption to stories that appeared in other media, like books, and avoiding any comics that are adaptations of fantasy roleplaying material. Not that any of that is bad, but it’s kind of on the nose.

So thinking about that, I’ve got some initial thoughts.

I have only read a few issues of this, but I really liked the world-building in this series. It shows what a fantasy world looks like from the point of view of the people in the settlements near an adventuring site, and it also touches on the concept of living dungeons.

Rat Queens is great, and it’s very adult in nature. Hard-partying and hard adventuring women adventurers that are walking disasters, but yet are extremely likable. It even has rival adventurers, and then there is poor Gary, the butt of so many jokes.

I’m specifically calling out Gail Simone’s run on Red Sonja, because Gail Simone is awesome, and she strikes a great balance between gritty fantasy adventuring, and a wry wit with a few cleverly executed subversions of tropes surrounding the main character.

Ragnarok features Walt Simonson writing Thor, but this time, not as a superhero, but as an undead juggernaught gaining revenge on his enemies after the world ends. There is also a nice alternate take on dark elves in the issues I’ve read so far.

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This has been required reading at every gaming company I’ve founded.
I think McCloud’s insights would be of great use to everyone running or creating any game, digital, tabletop, or RPG.

If you haven’t read it, you’ve been missing something transformative.

Love the idea @JaredR!
Man. Rat Queens. We’ve ALL played with this group of gamers. Fun read.

Since you brought up Red Sonja (which I’ve not read, thanks for the heads up, loved her work on Clean Room, that was creepy), I’d strongly recommend Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord’s run on Conan. Sure, it’s cliche, but that was a great 50 issue run, and Nord’s work (frequently colored by Dave Stuart) was gorgeous.

It’s gotten some press lately, but Die is a neat meta-game concept book, and worth a solid read through.

I think it’d be remiss to have that appendix and neglect Knights of the Dinner Table, Nodwick, Dork Tower, or web comics like Order of the Stick and Goblins.

I think there’s a lot to be taken from Hellboy for inspiration.

If you’re playing a SciFi game, I’d think about books like the most recent run of Prophet, I can’t recommend highly enough Fear Agent, and I’m sure there’s a lot to be said for Saga.

OH! Monstress, SOLID book to mine from.

Man, I need to get home and look at stuff there for a better answer…


Tellos is great pulp fantasy and is the best comic ever. Similar vein is Battle Chasers, but the dude didn’t get around to finishing the story arc.

Seconded recommendation for Monstress.

There was a comic from like 20 years ago called Arrowsmith that has WWI but if there were mages on hand. Great writing. For exploration/monster fighting I would recommend cribbing ideas from Manifest Destiny, it is if Lewis and Clark explored the west not for surveying the land, but for clearing the region of deadly monsters.

Comics are great.


Ah, Arrowsmith was written by Kurt Busiek. I knew that sounded familiar.

The guy who wrote Die also did Wicked + Devine, which is about reincarnated gods as pop stars and is just fantastic writing.