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Frank Miller’s Ronin, 1983 and D&D

Updated: May 26, 2020



I went to my Local Comic Shop yesterday and my guy there said, “ Hey, you might like this trade (paperback) it’s a re release of Frank Millers series, Ronin from the eighties.”

I turns out, I love it.


The cover of DC’s re release of Frank miller’s Ronin series (1983).


I was in Burlington for the day to play some A D&D at a meetup in the public library. I was a bit nervous, going to play with total strangers. Would they let me play? Would they like me? Would I be good enough? Typical teen angst I guess, but it was my angst. Turns out, The answer was yes to all those questions, D&D has always been an accepting community. But I digress.

To kill time and calm down I went to a nearby arcade for a while and then to a comic book shop, Earth Prime.  I was browsing ( I had no more money to spend, I had bought some new D&D stuff and the rest was gone on arcade games) my usual books, Batman, Superman and Sgt. Fury when the counter guy interrupted.

“You might like this, I saw the D&D books in your bag.”, he said by way of explanation.

What he handed me changed my world. . It was book 2 in Frank Millers “Ronin “ Series , a short run 6 issue DC comic.  Only it wasn’t a comic. Not like Superman , Spiderman or anything else I had ever read. It was Gritty, had a real story and the art was out of this world. I loved everything about it. And, Samurai. Say no more. I already liked Samurai but this put me on the hunt for everything Samurai, Movies Books, games, everything.

As far as comic books go, it changed my world. I Understood with reading that one book (in the store without buying it) that comics were more than classic super heroes, that they were a vehicle for storytelling , archetypes and multiple layers as much as any novel. I just had to find the people that were making those comics.

From that I walked over to the public library, early, and found the room for “Advanced Dungeon and Dragons Game Meetup, 12:00 – til Closing (8:00 PM). The door was closed and I opened it to find 6 kids already there. The looked up from the table and in an instant sized me up and Cheered, “ Hey! We have a seventh!” Getting up to welcome me. They didn’t even know me.

“What’s your Name” “ What class do you play” “We have two Dwarves and an Elf” “A Druid and a Paladin, and a thief” “How long have you played” and on it went…I was instantly a part of this group and the Dungeon Master Looked me in the eye after everyone had settled, “ Welcome to the rest of your life, Derek. Your Party will be searching for a lost Tomb today, What Race and Class do you want to play as?”

“Samurai” I said , with only the hint of a nervous question.He laughed in a way only a Dungeon Master can,”  A D&D does not have a Samurai Class. Yet. We could design a class like that later on”.

So that day I went into the ”Tomb Of Horrors” with my brothers as a Human Ranger. I  lived and Fought as a Samurai  until the Library closed.


Derek Smith

Nerdz Garage

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