Cold Cut Distribution's Feature Spotlight #39 - February 1999

Knights of the Dinner Table

Publisher: Kenzer & Co.
Creators: Jolly R. Blackburn, Brian Jelke, Steve Johansson, David Kenzer
Cover Price:$2.95
Issues Available:27 + 2 collections


Storyline: A group of five gaming friends get together every week to game. Usually they play the standard RPG game, "Hackmaster", but sometimes they'll play a collectible card game or some other "Hack" game like "Spacehack". And when this gang gets together, they're just like most other gamer groups you've ever known - except much, much funnier. There's B.A., the long-suffering GM, Bob the excitable but somewhat clueless one, Dave the also-clueless but not so excitable one, Sara the lone female and probably the only really sane person there, and Brian the dedicated and devious uber-gamer. Join in as they attempt, night after night, to game their cares away, only to find that things rarely go as planned. Writing Review: The funniest gamer comic out there; in fact, if you're at all familiar with gaming, this is the funniest comic being published today, bar none. Every issue contains at least two or three self-contained short stories, and every one is a guaranteed laugh. The central game in KODT, HackMaster, is a basic stand-in for AD&D, and the occasional foray into the life of HackMaster's creator or the game shop owner rings just as true as the gamers' lives.

Every issue is non-stop can't-put-it-down hilarious. As an example, the two pages shown in this review are from a story where B.A. decides to set up a "SpaceHack" campaign for a change of pace. But Brian turns the tables when they discover a holodeck on an abandoned spaceship, as seen to the left.

Art Review:

There's not much to say here, since KODT is not really about the art. The comparisons to Dilbert are unavoidable, since here's another strip with static panels and simplistically-drawn characters which relies on its writing for its humor. Frankly, the art on KODT is not very interesting - but who cares?


KODT is the Dilbert of the comics world. Like Dilbert, it's the writing that carries the strip, since the art is unexciting at best. Dilbert takes the life of an office cubicle dweller and spins it to absurdity; KODT does the same for typical gamers. For everyone who has ever gamed, or has ever known gamers, or even knows about how gaming works, KODT is the best bargain in comics - $2.95 a month for three or four great, funny stories! For gamers, it's a must read; and for everyone else it's highly recommended. Check out the regular KODT strips in Dragon magazine, too!

If you like Knights of the Dinner Table, take a look at:

Dork Tower

Publisher:Corsair Publishing
Writer:John Kovalic
Artist:John Kovalic
Cover Price:$2.95
Issues Available:2


Four gamers dealing with the real world - or at least, as real as it gets when you're a college-aged gaming geek. There's Matt, the well-meaning but neurotic star of the book (and the usual GM), Igor, the short stocky ultra-geek, Ken, their gaming partner and straight man, and Carson the Muskrat, who is... well, a muskrat.

Join the adventures of these inveterate gamers as they attend goth parties, try to impress dates with knowledge of fandom, go to conventions, and more!

Writing Review:

Another funny book about gaming? You bet! Dork Tower takes gamers and juxtaposes them against other aspects of life, both fandom and real-world. Usually structured as single-page strips, but sometimes with stories going on for five or six pages, each issue is chock full of lots of self-contained stories and jokes. The pacing is like the best of comic strips, with excellent setups and great punchlines. Very few of the strips take place at the gaming table, instead choosing to show our intrepid gamers in other situations, usually dealing with non-gamer people. Issue 2 (and future issues) also include comic-panel versions of "Murphy's Rules", real gaming rules from real games which don't make that much sense (for instance, a game in which if your armor is too heavy for you to wear, you can carry it in your backpack until you gain strength!) Funny, funny stuff!

Art Review:

Great comic-strip-style art from a man who's obviously done a lot of strip work. Expressive characters done with a minimum of lines, and distinctive characters whose look matches their personality. But one of the best things about the art is the confidence John has in portraying nearly any locale, allowing him to set strips in places as diverse as a goth party or a mall bookstore. Simple, direct, and clean - Dork Tower's art is very well done.


Dork Tower is another guaranteed sale to gamers in your store, or to anyone who knows gamers, or for that matter anyone who would like to see fandom in general taken down a peg or two. With its quarterly frequency, it shouldn't strain anyone's pocketbook (especially not gamers, who are used to buying $20 expansion packs). Certainly the obvious audience for this book is fans of Knights of the Dinner Table (and vice versa, of course) as well as University2 and Dilbert, but Dork Tower should also appeal to readers of The 3 Geeks, and even fans of Oh My Goth! and Scary Godmother may find some appealing bits in here. Fans may also want to check into Kovalic's other work, including the collections of his Wild Life strip and the regular Dork Tower appearances in Shadis magazine.

If you like Dork Tower, take a look at:

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