Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Four of the best
I'm so used to queuing these blog posts up months in advance -- "we'll have a gamebook piece followed by a scenario followed by game design theory..." -- that it's easy to overlook actual news when it happens. Luckily I was reminded by Andy Fletcher recently that the long-awaited new edition of the Dirk Lloyd books has finally arrived. Not only do the books boast new covers by dapper Dan Boultwood, illustrator of the DL strip in The Phoenix, but the original trilogy has now been joined by a fourth title, The Headmaster of Doom.
There's a story behind it, you'll be glad to hear. Jamie and I originally came up with the idea for a new book series called Grimmer Grammar, in which an ordinary boy called Arthur Tooms ends up at a creepy school for the undead. He has to pretend to be a zombie to fit in. The school has houses such as Charnel House, Slaughter House, Mad House, and so on, the kids sleep in "doomitories", and there are characters like Zom Brown, Lucretia Bitely, and Stitches the caretaker.
As you can see, we were aiming for comedy squarely along the lines of Dark Lord because that's what the publishers all seemed to expect, and in the end they turned out to want it in spades (rusty, mould-spotted, gravedigger spades) because they decided not to launch it as a new series but squeeze and pummel it until it fitted into a Dirk Lloyd shaped hole. And that's how come The Headmaster of Doom. All the laughs you would have got with Grimmer Grammar, and with all your favourite characters from the Dark Lord series too. Happiest days of your life (or death), so they say...