Tony DiTerlizzi, Never Abandon Imagination \ Artistic Process \ Owlbears, Rust Monsters and Bulettes, Oh My!


About this time last year, I recalled a set of toy dinosaurs and monsters that I had played with so much that their toes and tails broke off. These poorly molded plastic beasties were purchased at our local Variety store in the early 1970’s. They came bagged under the label “Prehistoric Animals”.



Though they were odd – even silly-looking by monster standards – there was something endearing about them. Soon, they became the perfect creatures for my Micronauts to discover or my plastic cowboys to combat. Some years after our playtime adventures had concluded, these creatures reappeared in another adventure of mine by means of paper, pencil and twenty-sided dice.


You see, during that time that I was playing with these “Prehistoric Animals”, somebody else was playing with them too – a fellow named Gary Gygax. Gary was using them for a game he was developing called Dungeons & Dragons and his book, the Monster Manual, contained pen & ink renditions of these creatures within its pages.

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One thought on “Tony DiTerlizzi, Never Abandon Imagination \ Artistic Process \ Owlbears, Rust Monsters and Bulettes, Oh My!”

  1. So many people who played early RPGs must have had this same experience, with the same ubiquitous plastic figurines!

    Another similar set were “Halloween” plastic toys, very odd collection of figurines including a Morticia type vampire or witch, a fat tweedle dum type character, a 60s style werewolf and so on.

    Usually with these really old plastic figurines the molds gradually wear out or are sold for cheap and used with little care. Sometimes however the molds stay in great shape and are even fixed up a little by whatever company buys them.

    In the replicator age in which we have just begun to live, 3D photocopying via 3D printers will soon bring many of these classics back from the dead. 🙂


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