Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Games in ‘Advance Comics’

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We’re presenting a snapshot of game history from Capital City Distribution’s Advance Comics, the first game distributor-produced monthly consumer catalog.  The first issue published was un-numbered, essentially a #0 issue, listing comics and other products planned for release in December of 1988.  Issue #1 came the following month, listing products for release in January 1989.

Issue #2, pictured here, featured Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2E on the cover, and listed products for release in February 1989.  The publication continued on a monthly basis until #94, listing products for October 1996; the publication was then shut down as the result of the acquisition of Capital City Distribution’s assets by Diamond Comic Distributors.

In addition to the AD&D 2E cover shown here, we also came across another fascinating set of information, a complete schedule of Dungeons & Dragons publisher TSR’s 1996 product releases.  This was the last year prior to the company’s purchase by Wizards of the Coast in 1997, and product releases were at a high point, although unprofitable.  The Advance Comics pages are pictured below, but as they’ll be too small to make out, we’ve assembled the list here: an ambitious RPG publishing plan from nearly 30 years ago.

AD&D Game System

  • The Silver Key (Adventure, January)
  • The Rod of Seven Parts (Hardcover Novel, February)
  • Den of Thieves (Accessory, March)
  • Treasure Tales (Accessory, April)
  • Players Option: Spells & Magic (Rulebook, May)
  • I, Tyrant Monsterous Arcana (Accessory, June)
  • Eye of Pain (Adventure, June)
  • Sages and Specialists (Accessory, July)
  • A Hero’s Tale (Adventure, July)
  • Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar: The New Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (Campaign Setting, July)
  • The Rod of Seven Parts (Adventure, August)
  • AD&D Character Generation Dice (Accessory, August)
  • AD&D CD-ROM Handbook (Accessory, August)
  • 1997 TSR Annual Calendar (Calendar, August)
  • Eyes of Doom (Adventure, September)
  • World Builder’s Guidebook (Accessory, October)
  • The Games of Firestorm Peak Player’s Option (Adventure, October)
  • Wizard’s Spell Compendium Vol. 1 (Accessory, , October)
  • Monsterous Compendium Annual, Vol. 3 (Accessory, November)
  • Eye to Eye (Adventure, December)

BIRTHRIGHT Campaign World

  • The Book of Magecraft (Accessory, February)
  • Binsada Domain Sourcebook (Accessory, February)
  • Sword of Roele (Adventure, February)
  • Greatheart (Novel, February)
  • The Rjurik Highlands (Campaign Expansion, May)
  • Baruk-Azhik Domain Sourcebook (Accessory, May)
  • War (Hardcover Novel, May)
  • The Hag’s Contract (Novel, June)
  • Legends of the Hero-Kings (Accessory, August)
  • Khourane Domain Sourcebook (Accessory, August)
  • The Spider’s Test (Novel, September)
  • Heavens of the Great Bay (Campaign Expansion, November)
  • Tuarhievel Domain Sourcebook (Accessory, November)
  • Stjordvik Domain Sourcebook (Accessory, November)
  • The Falcon and the Wolf (Novel, December)

DARK SUN Campaign World

  • The Wanderer’s Chronicle Mind Lords of the Last Sea (Accessory, January)
  • The Rise and Fall of a Dragon King (Novel, March)
  • Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas (Accessory, June)
  • Psionic Artifacts of Athas (Accessory, September)


  • Land of the Minotaurs (Novel, January)
  • Theros Ironfeld (Novel, March)
  • The Dragons of War (Novel, May)
  • The Gully Dwarves (Novel, June)
  • Murder in Tarsis (Hardcover Novel, June)
  • Knights of the Rose (Novel, July)
  • Dragonlance: The Fifth Age (Adventure Game, August)
  • Dawning of a New Age Fifth Age (Novel, September)
  • The Last Tower: The Legacy of Raistlin (Adventure and Accessory, October)
  • The Dragons (Novel, October)
  • Dragons of Summer Flame (Novel Paperback Edition, November)
  • The Doom Brigade (Hardcover Novel, November)
  • Heroes of Steel (Adventure and Accessory, December)
  • Lorth Soth (Novel, December)


  • Warriors and Priests of the Realms (Accessory, January)
  • Escape from Undermountain (Novel, February)
  • Faiths & Avatars (Accessory, March)
  • The Veiled Dragon (Novel, March)
  • Murder in Cormyr (Hardcover Novel, March)
  • The North (Campaign Expansion, April)
  • Realms of the Underdark (Novel, April)
  • Undermountain Trilogy I: The Lost Level (Adventure, May)
  • Vilhon Reach (Accessory, May)
  • Sword Play (Novel, May)
  • Volo’s Guide to the Dalelands (Accessory, June)
  • Silver Shadows (Novel, June)
  • Heroes’ Lorebook (Accessory, July)
  • Cormyr: A Novel (Hardcover Novel, July)
  • Undermountain Trilogy II: Maddgoth’s Castle (Adventure, August)
  • The Mage in the Iron Mask (Novel, August)
  • Passage of Dawn (Hardcover Novel, August)
  • Volo’s Guide to All Things Magical (Accessory, September)
  • Daughter of the Drow (Paperback Novel, September)
  • Netheril: Arcane Age (Campaign Setting, October)
  • Stormlight (Novel, October)
  • Murder in Halrua (Hardcover Novel, October)
  • Arcane Age: How the Mighty Are Fallen (Adventure, November)
  • Dangerous Games (Novel, November)
  • Undermountain Trilogy III: Stardock (Adventure, December)

PLANESCAPE Campaign World

  • The Planewalker’s Handbook (Accessory, August)
  • On Hallowed Ground (Accessory, September)
  • Pages of Pain (Hardcover Novel, September)
  • A Guide to the Astral Plane (Accessory, October)
  • Doors of the Unknown (Adventure, November)
  • Planar Powers (Novel, December)

RAVENLOFT Campaign World

  • Forged of Darkness (Accessory, January)
  • Bleak House (Adventure, March)
  • King of the Dead (Novel, March)
  • Ravenloft Monsterous Compendium Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Accessory, April)
  • Grim Harvest I – Death Unchained (Adventure, June)
  • Grim Harvest II – Death Ascendant (Adventure, July)
  • A Guide to Transylvania (Accessory, August)
  • Grim Harvest III – Death Triumphant (Adventure and Accessory, September)
  • To Sleep With Evil (Novel, September)
  • Children of the Night: Vampires (Accessory, November)

SAVAGE COAST Campaign World

  • Savage Coast Campaign Book (Rulebook, July)
  • The Black Vessel (Novel, August)
  • Monsterous Compendium: Savage Coast Appendix (Accessory, September)
  • Orc’s Head (Accessory and Adventure, November)


  • First Quest: Immortal Game (Books, February)
  • Winged Magic (Novel, March)
  • Mystara: Dragonmage of Mystara (Novel, April)
  • F.R.E.E. Fall (Novel, May)
  • Runes of Autumn (Novel, July)
  • Trail of Darkness (Novel, September)
  • Buck Rogers: A Life in the Future (Novel, November)


  • Blood Wars – Escalation Pack 4: Insurgents of the Inner Planes (P.O.P. Display Box, January)
  • Spellfire – Runes & Ruins Booster Pack, Set 8 (P.O.P. Display Box, February)
  • Spellfire – Birthright Booster Pack, Set 9 (P.O.P. Display Box, April)
  • Blood Wars – Escalation Pack 5: Weapon Masters & Warmongers (P.O.P. Display Box, May)
  • Spellfire: Master the Magic Card Game, 4th Edition (P.O.P. Display Box, June)
  • Blood Wars – Escalation Pack 6: Hand of Fates (P.O.P. Display Box, September)
  • Blood Wars – Warlord’s Tactical Manual (Accessory, October)
  • Spellfire Reference Guide, Volume II (November)


  • Dragon Dice Kicker Pack 2: Firewalkers (P.O.P. Display Box, March)
  • Dragon Dice Kicker Pack 3: Undead (P.O.P. Display Box, May)
  • Dragon Dice Treasure Hoard (Accessory, June)
  • Dragon Dice Kicker Pack 4: The Feral (P.O.P. Display Box, July)
  • Dragon Dice Expansion Set: Magestorm (P.O.P. Display Box, August)
  • Dragon Dice Kicker Pack 5: Swamp Stalkers (P.O.P. Display Box, November)

Click Gallery below for Advance Comics images!

This history is part of ICv2’s Comics Direct Market 50th Anniversary celebration; for more, see “Comics Direct Market 50th Anniversary.”

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