Erol Otus created the cover art on the 1981 D&D Basic Set, and also contributed eight of the more than 30 interior illustrations to the included rulebook. The other illustrators are Jeff Dee, Dave La Force, Jim Roslof, and Bill Willingham.
It is my opinion, having played D&D since 1981, that the early 80’s issues of Dragon Magazine are the best… but that is because that is from when the most nostalgia is for me. I acquired all of my few Dragon Magazines at the bright age of 12 from the B. Dalton bookstore at Fashion Island… from time to time, on days we chose to walk home rather than ride the school bus, my first pen & paper D&D friend and I would walk in, school books in hand, and would tuck a few books in there behind them… and simply walk out! Accomplished young thieves we prided ourselves on being… just like in D&D! The more I stole… the more I fantasized what level of thief I was in real life… according to the AD&D Player’s Handbook… of course.
My first… sort of… game of Dungeons & Dragons was while walking home with a classmate after school. It was 1980, we were in the sixth grade and I had just met Paul (if I recall his name correctly) for the first time as I didn’t ride by bike to school that day, so I walked home that day. Destiny had brought us together and after we exchanged names and agreed to walk together as far as his house which was a few blocks away and en route to my house which was about a mile away… he asked if I play D&D. “What… is D & D?”, I asked, and he quickly explained and for the few blocks journey home I was enjoying my first dungeon adventure as he talked me through it while we walked. It even had Darth Vader in it, which Paul told me he threw in only because that was a villain I was familiar with. Wow! After parting, I couldn’t stop thinking about D&D and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the game. I never saw Paul again… that day of school was the last day of sixth grade and my family had moved to another city soon after.