Friday 26 April 2019

Classic Cover! Appointment with F.E.A.R.

As capes and spandex seem to be very much on everyone's minds at the moment, today we thought we would revisit Fighting Fantasy's one and only superhero-themed adventure, Steve Jackson's Appointment with F.E.A.R.

Back in 1985, Steve Jackson had not written a Titan-set adventure since The Citadel of Chaos, and his fifth title in the series continued this trend. The hero of Appointment with F.E.A.R. is Jean Lafayette, or rather, his alter ego, the crime-fighting Silver Crusader.

The Silver Crusader does battle with such colourful characters as the Scarlet Prankster, the Serpent and the Alchemists, as he struggles to discover the time and location of the next meeting of F.E.A.R. – the Federation of Euro-American Rebels. This evil organisation is led by Vladimir Utoshski, a.k.a. the Titanium Cyborg who is the subject of the book’s cover art.

Appropriately enough, seeing as how Appointment with F.E.A.R. is, in truth, a comic book superhero gamebook - nothing more, nothing less - the original cover was painted by veteran British comic book artist, Brian Bolland, who was famous for drawing such iconic comic book characters as Batman and Judge Dredd!

Appointment with F.E.A.R. has since been turned into a nostalgic '80s-themed app, by Tin Man Games, and the cover of the most recent edition, published by Scholastic Books, features Vladimir Utoshski once again, this time as realised by Robert Ball.

But for many, it is Brian Bolland's cover that holds a special place in their heart.

Monday 22 April 2019

Fighting Fantasy Easter Eggs - The Answers!

On Friday we asked you, in which Fighting Fantasy books do these eggs appear? Well here are the answers...

City of Thievesby Ian Livingstone
- from Iain McCaig's illustration of the Market Square, where an old crone is offering you a couple of eggs to throw at the poor wretch locked in the stocks.

Island of the Lizard King, by Ian Livingstone
- from Alan Langford's illustration of the Razorjaw nest.

Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World, by Marc Gascoigne
- from Alan Langford's illustration of a Lizard King hatching.

City of Thievesby Ian Livingstone, again
- from Iain McCaig's illustration of the panicking Silversmith.

How did you fare? If you got all the answers right, why not let us know in the comments below?

And if you like quizzing, don't forget, the second dedicated Fighting Fantasy Pub Quiz is being held the evening before Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, where Alan Langford will be one of the guest artists in attendance.

Friday 19 April 2019

Fighting Fantasy Easter Eggs

Here at Firetop Mountain, we're looking forward to taking a break over the long Easter weekend. But while we're otherwise engaged, battling giant bunnies and defeating monstrous chocolate chick golems, we thought you might enjoy this quick Easter quiz.

There's only one question to answer: in which Fighting Fantasy books do these eggs appear? Answers on Monday.





Monday 15 April 2019

Legendary fantasy artist Les Edwards to attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 3!

What do the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks Caverns of the Snow Witch, Crypt of the Sorcerer and Return to Firetop Mountain all have in common?

Well, apart from the fact that they were all written by Fighting Fantasy co-creator Ian Livingstone, they all feature cover art by legendary British fantasy artist Les Edwards.

Les actually provided the cover art for 11 of the Puffin-printed titles - including the infamous Sky Lord - and new cover art for four of the Wizard Books releases.

We are delighted to announce that, all being well, Les will be joining us for Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, at the University of West London on Saturday 31st August 2019.

This will be Les's first appearance at a Fighting Fantasy Fest, and so will be the perfect opportunity to get some classic FF adventures signed by him.

If you've not secured your ticket for the day yet, what are you waiting for?

Saturday 13 April 2019

Blast from the Past! Portal of Evil

Thirty years ago, Puffin Books published the 37th book in the Fighting Fantasy series - although the book didn't have the number 37 appear anywhere on its cover - and the second title to be written by Peter Darvill-Evans.

Set in the area surrounding the city of Neuberg in Khul, Portal of Evil was an adventure involving magical portals and a dinosaur invasion of Titan. “I wanted to write something different,” says Darvill-Evans, “so a portal to another world of dinosaurs seemed appropriate. And everyone likes dinosaurs.”

The book featured a cover by Games Workshop artist David Gallagher cover, who had also painted the cover for Marc Gascoigne's Battleblade Warrior. “Battleblade was the first cover I did for Puffin,” says Gallagher. “I was freelancing and this was Puffin’s response to my initial approach for work.”

Portal of Evil featured illustrations by Alan Langford, back on dino duties following Battleblade Warrior and Ian Livingstone's Island of the Lizard King. “Zdeněk Burian, Ray Harryhausen and Frank Frazetta – they were my influences as far as dinosaur art went,” says Langford.

Both Peter Darvill-Evans and Alan Langford will be attending Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 in August, and talking about their collaborations. So if you have a burning question you would like to ask either of them, make sure you book your place at the Convention of Firetop Mountain today!

Friday 5 April 2019

Deathtrap Dungeon is 35 years old this month!

Ian Livingstone's seminal Fighting Fantasy gamebook Deathtrap Dungeon celebrates its 35th anniversary this month!

One of the things that made the sixth Fighting Fantasy gamebook stand out on the shelves of bookshops and libraries was Iain McCaig's incredible watercolour-painted cover image. Who can fail to remember the myriad-eyed Bloodbeast, staring hungrily at the reader, its pustule-scarred tongue licking the bloody juices of its most recent victim from its fangs?

Deathtrap Dungeon sold over 350,000 copies in its first year alone, was the best-selling children’s book in April 1984, and was ranked 8th out of all books sold that month, coming just behind Dick Francis in seventh place and ahead of Stephen King’s Christine in ninth. It spawned a direct sequel, Trial of Champions, a card game, and a video game. More recently there has been an app version, and there are currently plans to develop a new video game based on the book, as well as a movie.

When Wizard Books republished the series in the Noughties, they reinterpreted one of McCaig's internal illustrations to become the book's cover, but now that Scholastic have taken over the licence, the dreaded Bloodbeast is back, in all its grotesque glory, this time as envisioned by Robert Ball.

As 2019 is the book's 35th anniversary year, Deathtrap Dungeon is one of the FF titles that will be the focus of events at this year's Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, which is taking place on Saturday 31st August 2019. There are even rumours that the Bloodbeast might be making a special appearance at the event.

So don't delay, and make sure you book your ticket today!

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 & You Are The Beer-o present... The Forester of Doom!

Tickets are now on sale for the second ever dedicated Fighting Fantasy pub quiz. The first was held two years ago, on the eve of Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, and, continuing the tradition, The Forester of Doom meet-up will take place the night before Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, on Friday 30th August 2019.

This year all profits from the event are going to be donated to the UK Sepsis Trust, in memory of FF fan Neil Taylor, who attended the very first Fighting Fantasy Fest back in 2014 and who tragically passed away as a result of sepsis on 5th January.

Neil Taylor, photographed at Fighting Fantasy Fest 1 by Oliver McNeil of Legend Photography.

To find out more about sepsis, and the work undertaken by the UK Sepsis Trust, click this link.

To buy tickets for The Forester of Doom event, click this link, and to secure your ticket for Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, click this link.