The Order of the Stick began as a very silly very simple fourth wall breaking comic sending up various tropes familiar to anyone that has long experieThe Order of the Stick began as a very silly very simple fourth wall breaking comic sending up various tropes familiar to anyone that has long experience with Dungeons and Dragons. It had no apparent depth, and no obvious ambition beyond landing a punch line at the end of the day's strip. It had only the most trite sort of dungeon crawling story about delving into a stereotypical dungeon to defeat a stereotypical villain. It's protagonist characters were constructed as simple parodies, and drawn as stick figures. It was occasionally funny, but probably only to insiders in a "you had to be there" sort of way typical of most role-playing funny stories.
Somewhere along the way, in the hand's of the Story Teller, this simple story of stick figure heroes acquired true narrative power. It began to elicit emotions other than simple humor. For me, the moment I consciously realized this had happened was the panel drawn in perspective in strip #438, with the little figure of Haley waving far down the battlements. Not only was this moment lovely story telling, and funny, but there was something more to it, and at that moment the stick figure art itself transcended the medium and I found I cared deeply for these little stick figure people and their silly little quest to save a purposefully silly little world.
Somewhere in that is a metaphor for everything that makes playing RPG's great.
Rich Burlew is an artist of the highest order....more