Thursday 28 October 2010

The Black Sun: Issue 2 (Sept-Oct 1984)

So after many weeks of begging around the interwebs and generally hassling GW fandom  I finally managed to get my hands on a single copy of the Black Sun fanzine. And what a A5 black and white beauty it is...

Firstly the awesome cover by Trevor Hammond introducing a host of characters from the GW Mail Order Catacombs. The Black Sun is a parallel universe where GW mailorder is a dungeon complex rules over by the slave-lord Zlargh the Mighty, and populated by depraved Man-things,  zombie-ghoul like slaves. The editorial is an introduction to this otherworld of Zlargh the Slavelord, off to holiday in Skegness.

Tales from the Crypt comprises news of Games Workshops games developers and other industry news. Albie Fiore (best known for Field Factory / FiendFolio and the Guardian crossword) finishing off Golden Heroes (which is now currently available as Squadron UK) and Ian Marsh starting work on a Doctor Who RPG. As far as I know, GW never published this, but Marsh did have his TimeLord RPG released by Virgin Books in 1991, and now gives it away for free on the interwebs, not sure about its relation to the work in progress mentioned here, but as it shares an author and a subject it probably is a version of the same rule-set. Quite amazing that these two old British titles are still around today...

Next up is a comic strip by Trevor Hammond entitled Torture Tips, wherein Gunatha misunderstands water torture and ends up smacking a hobbit round the back of the head with a bucket. This is not Hammonds finest hour, Gunatha seems to have the same fixed expression in every panel, and there's a lack of coherence to the whole thing, nonetheless it has an early Viz-like 6th Form quality.

The centrefold comprises a very long review / description of Ringworld by the Chaosium. It really does make it sound like an excellent product (as most Chaosium tended to be back in the day) and goes into much more detail than the WD review of the same article.

Lord Zlargh's Catacomb Clearout features a list of explicitly 'end of line or slightly damaged' and implicitly 'taking up space and not selling well' RPG items, all typeset at a jaunty 45 degree angle.

The Castle of Cross Moles - a brilliant single page spoof on the solo adventure "The Castle of Lost Souls" by Dave Morris which was running in White Dwarf at the time. It's satire is actually quite funny - including berating the player for cheating (claiming they had an object which doesn't exist) and a combat system that allows you to "pretend you won anyway", the fact you're playing an ancient race of Warrior Moles fighting against the evil horde of Necroworms just makes it all the better.

Gutter Press column reviews various RPG fanzines. I shall, for your erudition and entertainment list the titles: Tempestuous Orifice #5, Misers Horde #7, Journal of the Senseless Carnage Society #6, Necropolis #1, Dead Elf #1, Morrigan #2, SEWARS, Demons Drawl #6. Yes indeed.

Finally Agaroths Mindflayer, a quiz section that makes very little sense.

Frankly, the obscurity, cockeyed humour and unique styling make this pure collectors-crack. I'll be pawning my shoes and hassling people on public transport "oi, mate, got any Black Sun?" any day soon.

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