I enjoy Dark Sun for a lot of reasons, one being that I am always discovering new things about the setting and art even after 20 years since its inception. My discoveries continue with a 1995 FPG (Frielander Publishing Group) Brom art card entitled “Transfixed”.
A great thing about all the FPG Brom cards is that on the back there is a description of the work from Brom himself as well as a sketch version of the image that’s on the front, that is, with the exception of 4 of the 89 cards: The Affront, Skullberry’s, Underlord, and of course, Transfixed. The Affront is something worth talking about in another post, so let’s take a look at the back of Transfixed.
Notice that this image isn’t an inked section of the front of the card, but rather it is a different sketch. This sketch made its way into Dragon 197’s short story “Ashes to Ashes”, and presumably is the character Lazra.
In this case, the back image is either an inspiration for the front image or perhaps happens to be the same subject. It appears that the piece was slated for Dark Sun as it is used on the 1993 AD&D Dark Sun Collector Card (17 of 495) with the name “Salicia”, described as a 6th level human (despite having pointed ears) preserver, as well as appearing in the Dark Sun section of the 2004 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. This isn’t the first time a Brom work went unused in the Dark Sun setting and I’ve noted it before (1,2).
Any connection that might be made between the front and back images might be nothing more than a graphics error or just filler for the back if no inked sketch was available. This seems to be the case for Skullberry’s and Underlord, with Underlord (The City by the Silt Sea cover) having the dragon’s head from the Bedazzled work (Dragon 197 cover) on the back of the card (perhaps there is a connection though not that I can make at this time). On the Transfixed card however, the similarity between the two subjects is striking and easily connects the two images together. For this reason and its use in the 2004 history of Dark Sun, I consider the Brom image “Transfixed” to be a Dark Sun image and would still consider it so if only for the painting being exceptional and having a Dark Sun feel.