The Dinosaur’s New Clothes

The jerks at Penny Arcade (not actually jerks) reminded me of something I’d completely forgotten.

Transdimensional TMNT was the first RPG book I ever bought. It’s only a supplement and pretty much useless without the core book, but how could a ten year old hope to deny that cover?

It had The Turtles, a T-Rex, and a Giant Robot at the same time. As if that wasn’t enough, and it was, it was a book about time travel, a subject I’d been 100% gay for since 1985. Hell, it’s still one of my favorite covers (of anything) and probably my all time favorite RPG book because the intervening twenty years have done nothing to reduce my fondness for The Turtles, a T-Rex, Giant Robots, or time travel.

My favorite picture in this favorite book is that of the Saurinoid. See, you could play as different kinds of dinosaurs. I mean, this is a setting where turtles can become ninja. Introducing dinosaurs into this process is surprisingly logical. Anyway, the Saurinoid was a catch-all dino for Dromaeosauridae, only this was back in 1988 so they looked more like Jurassic Park than a parrot. What was particularly fascinating about it, though, was that he was wearing clothes.

It blew my dumb 10 year old mind. Here’s this dinosaur and it’s wearing clothes. Suddenly, every other dinosaur in the book nude. Thus, I was immediately aware of what clothes meant. They were no longer merely a statement of utility or fashion. They were a statement of personhood.

That Robo has always worn clothes in his every iteration is a direct descendant of that revelation one Sunday afternoon twenty years ago.

Dr. Dinosaur, one of the Robo’s more active protagonists in the modern era, is a clothes-wearin’ time-travelin’ tribute to that plucky Saurinoid.

  • Scott!

    Ugh I hated (and still hate) the cover to Transdimentional TMNT. Why?

    Two Words: Kevin. Long.

    Even as a kid I could see that this guy was a pretty bad artist.

    However, my first EVER RPG was Palladium’s ROBOTECH -with offensive cover by Kevin Long. What saved it for me was that they used a lot of the animation studio art inside. though for some wacked reason when they did Robotech Masters they applied some god-awful stippling effect to all the beautiful artwork.

    The second RPG I ever bought was the TMNT supplament, AFTER THE BOMB -with art by the TMNT guy (whose name I am blanking on because I’m sick, and drunk on cold medicine).

    There was a series of TMNT books that used original art from the TMNT guys and I loved them all.

  • Scott

    Ugh I hated (and still hate) the cover to Transdimentional TMNT. Why?

    Two Words: Kevin. Long.

    Even as a kid I could see that this guy was a pretty bad artist.

    However, my first EVER RPG was Palladium’s ROBOTECH -with offensive cover by Kevin Long. What saved it for me was that they used a lot of the animation studio art inside. though for some wacked reason when they did Robotech Masters they applied some god-awful stippling effect to all the beautiful artwork.

    The second RPG I ever bought was the TMNT supplament, AFTER THE BOMB -with art by the TMNT guy (whose name I am blanking on because I’m sick, and drunk on cold medicine).

    There was a series of TMNT books that used original art from the TMNT guys and I loved them all.

  • http://www.nuklearpower.com Brian!

    Yeah, Kevin Long wasn’t helping that cover. But the sheer amazing-ness of robos + dinosaur + The Turtles won me over!

  • http://www.nuklearpower.com Brian

    Yeah, Kevin Long wasn’t helping that cover. But the sheer amazing-ness of robos + dinosaur + The Turtles won me over!

  • http://www.laurenpettapiece.com/ Lauren

    I remember picking up the Deities and Demigods (Legends & Lore?) D&D supplement and a monster manual at a yard sale when I was little.

    Jeff Easley’s cover with Odin on a six-legged horse flanked by wolves pretty much did it for me. The monster manual made for intense thought-provoking reading. Take centaurs for example… nothing should have that many organs.

  • http://www.laurenpettapiece.com Lauren

    I remember picking up the Deities and Demigods (Legends & Lore?) D&D supplement and a monster manual at a yard sale when I was little.

    Jeff Easley’s cover with Odin on a six-legged horse flanked by wolves pretty much did it for me. The monster manual made for intense thought-provoking reading. Take centaurs for example… nothing should have that many organs.

  • Josh

    I think mine was The Third Edition Player’s Handbook (I would have been 13 or so at the time) and I still love the design of all the third edition core books.

  • Josh

    I think mine was The Third Edition Player’s Handbook (I would have been 13 or so at the time) and I still love the design of all the third edition core books.

  • http://www.red5comics.com/ Paul

    In the wise words of Jerry Seinfeld… “Pants beats no pants every time.”

  • http://www.red5comics.com Paul

    In the wise words of Jerry Seinfeld… “Pants beats no pants every time.”