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"When an artist's checks are returned uncashed, he is presumed dead."

-- Phil Foglio


Wormy first appeared in issue 9 of Dragon magazine. The cartoon was extremely popular and the artist seemed to have some carte blanche with the magazine's editorial staff. One month his cartoon would be 1 page long. The next month it would be four pages long. The comic ended abruptly mid-story in issue 132 with a troll trying to free his salamander friend from a bureaucratic police station.


There have been several attempts to secure the rights to produce a compilation of Wormy strips but the strip's author, Dave Trampier, dropped off the face of the earth and publishers have been unable to acquire rights, let alone make contact with him. It appears TSR and Dragon magazine either do not know the fate of Trampier or are extremely tight lipped.


The seeds of his disappearance may be hinted at in the strip itself. Wormy featured "evil" D&D monsters acting in kindly human ways and the humans tended to be the bad guys. Ogres and Trolls war gamed. Wormy the dragon was a pool-playing, cigar-smoking lay about. Occasionally violence would erupt but Trampier did not hold back. There was blood and terror. Trampier never depicted violence in a noble or heroic fashion. Characters ran for their lives. The subtext of Wormy was really an anti-gaming message. Wormy subtly screamed at its readers "quit fantasizing and experience real life".


Some claim the artist is dead and buried in Philly. It's been confirmed, however, via his family that Trampier is still alive. His whereabouts are utterly unknown, even by his brother-in-law (and fellow Dragon contributor) Tom Wham. Wham states he's not talked to his brother-in-law since 1982. He thinks Trampier lives in Illinois... "somewhere". There's a rumor in comic circles that he's living out of his car in Canada. TSR will only make vague statements that point to a possible falling out between Trampier and magazine staff. Art Director Roger Raupp stated Trampier's strip simply ended because "He didn't turn in any art." An unnamed TSR staffer was quoted as saying "I will never work with him again." Dragon magazine editor Kim Mohan has stated checks for Trampier's final cartoons were returned unopened.


There's a Wormy archive here, although TSR routinely enforces its copyrights on the net and this might not last long. Other Wormy archives have not.


-- Karl Mamer








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