Almost 10 years ago, journalist David Kushner had a chance to interview Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the two creators of Dungeons & Dragons, before they died. Kushner’s reporting became a story for Wired, and now he’s expanded the scope of his tale into a graphic novel. Rise of the Dungeon Master, beautifully illustrated by Koren Shadmi, is both a moving portrait of two creative outsiders and a chronicle of how a new kind of storytelling changed pop culture forever.
Kushner recounts the story of Gygax and Arneson in the second person, addressing the reader as if Kushner were the dungeon master. “You” are young Gygax, the child of immigrants growing up in the midwest, seeking escape from ordinary life by exploring the wilderness, hunting, and eventually learning to break into an old, abandoned asylum.

The narrative technique sounds gimmicky, but it works: you’re sucked into the story and into immediate sympathy with Gygax as he traces his fascination with adventure games back to his childhood, when he climbed around in the maze of tunnels below the creepy asylum’s rotting rooms.
A fascinating graphic novel about the origins of Dungeons & Dragons
Nation Books
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