Thrud – British D&D Humour

thrudIn my round-up of D&D Humor I managed to forget one classic from the eighties. Thrud the Barbarian.

Drawn by Carl Critchlow, Thrud appeared in White Dwarf magazine (Games Workshop’s equivalent of Dragon) and followed the simple life of Thrud. Looking remarkably like a certain California Governor, with huge muscles and a tiny head, Thrud is very much in the mold of Conan. Never making a direct D&D or gaming reference, it is clear that Thrud is based on the same literature that inspired Gygax and Arneson

There are notable difference exist between Conan and Thrud. First, Thrud is world class stupid, the sort of person who makes George W. Bush look like Einstein. However, what Thrud lacks in brains he makes up for in sheer willful violence. Not a page goes by without a whole scale slaughter of villains, bandits, innocent villages and people who just happen to be standing next to him in the bar.

There is nothing clever about the humor in the strips and it is not D&D humour exactly. All the gags revolve around Thrud’s love of drink, violence and his stupidity. Often he will defeat great mages and their evil plots without realising it or slay evil priests intent on slaughter simply because they spilled his pint. But there is a charm to Thrud. It gently sends up D&D and the whole fantasy genre by exaggerating those aspects we all know are a bit ridiculous to start with.

After doing Thrud for several years and producing an anthology of strips Carl moved on, doing a variety of work for for DC, Wizards of the Coast and 2000AD. In 2002, after years of positive feedback from fans who remembered him from White Dwarf, Critchlow returned to Thrud and independently published a new 24 page comic, imaginatively entitled Thrud! This won him the Diamond 2004 Award for Best Small Press Title and he has produced a new issue about once a year since then.

The original anthology is hard to find but any good comic shop will be able to order you the five issues of the more recent comic. You can also order direct from the man himself at the Official Thrud the Barbarian Website