Friday, March 28, 2014

Dave Trampier, Wormy Artist, Passes Away

Dave Trampier, best known in the gaming world as the creator of the strip Wormy, passed away last Monday at Helia Heathcare, here in Carbondale.

Trampier worked as a staff artist for TSR for almost a decade, painting the cover for the original Dungeon Master's Screen, as well as working on the company's Gamma World and Star Frontiers games, leaving the company in the late 80s, after he felt the company reneged on an agreement to publish the first volume of a collection of Wormy. I do not know what he did for the next several years, but about 1998, he started driving a cab for Yellow Taxi in Carbondale.

During this period, he adamantly refused to have anything to do with the gaming industry, politely rebuffing any inquiries from companies wanting to publish Wormy.  He only came into the store once, back about 2008, when Valley Games printed a new edition of Titan, which he co-designed (with Jason McAllister), in order to see a copy of the game.

I next heard from him a couple of months ago, after he had a stroke and Yellow Taxi shut down due to tax problems.  He wanted to sell some artwork in order to cover some expenses, so I bought several pieces from him and discussed the possibility of publishing the Wormy collection.  He was quite interested in doing so, asking about Kickstarter or companies that might be interested in working with him to bring the book into print.  I suggested Troll Lord Games, who had tried contacting him several years ago about re-publishing Wormy and he was interested, though he still harbored hard feelings towards TSR and WOTC, as he wanted to make certain that Troll Lord Games had no connection to either company. He never moved forward any further on that front though, understandable as his doctors detected cancer and his health deteriorated.

He thought he was getting better though, as about three weeks ago, he agreed to appear as a guest at Egypt Wars, a gaming convention in Carbondale, and display the Wormy collection mock-up he still had from 1988.  Since Troll Lord Games will appear at the same show, I hoped the two might talk and move the publication of Wormy forward. Unfortunately, that won't happen now.

Update:  If you would like to see them, we have posted photos of some of the artwork I bought from Trampier on the store's website