Saturday, July 4, 2020

RIP Jim Holloway

We lost Jim Holloway this week.

He was one of my favorite illustrators of gaming products. I could highlight so, so many, like his covers of Dragon Magazine and so many amusing fantasy illustrations.

But his work on Paranoia is just amazing.

First, the three nested covers:

It's a perfect summation of the surveillance state we all live in . . . I mean of Alpha Complex run by the Computer that the game takes place in! Trust Google the Computer! Facebook The Computer is your friend!

He also did this very, very accurate depiction of the game on the back cover of the player's book:

I just love how his pictures feel in media res - in the middle of the action, with something about to happen. The Paranoia ones especially feel like something face-palming or peek-through-your-fingers-bad is about to happen. You just want to look away from the poor Troubleshooter, but you can't.

I also just love how Science Ninja Team Gatchaman aka Battle of the Planets the security troops look.

Thanks for all of the art, Jim. I'm sorry I never got to say that to you in person.


  1. Of all the RPGs I've ever run, Paranoia is probably the most fun for one-shot adventures. (Of course the flip side is that you only get one session, because by the end of it most of the PCs are running out of clones. If you tried getting the PCs to stop murdering each other and survive long enough to finish some goals, it wouldn't be as fun.) Both the writing and the art were amazing for getting the feel of this tongue-in-cheek dystopia. I should run it again.

  2. I always loved his Paranoia art... and yes, Paranoia without his style isn't Paranoia. Frex the art of the 5th edition makes it far too 'Toonish". I can't take it at all seriously, and Paranoia needs to be run on the level of Monty Python seriousness (IMO), where it's whacky, weird, and wild, but the //characters// are taking it with deadly earnestness.

    1. I agree on the tone of Paranoia (1st). I never saw any of the later stuff, really - although I own a 2nd edition GM screen.

      The earnest seriousness in the face of its ridiculousness is what I love about it. I will find some time to run it.

  3. Sincerely I never liked his b&w art very much, but his covers (for Spelljammer, Oriental Adventures, Dragon and Dungeon magazines) were beautiful.
    Another piece of rpgs history left us. :(

  4. RIP Jim Holloway.

    I had never seen the 3 nested covers before (I first picked-up Paranoia 2e, when GW were selling off their UK print edition cheap).

    I recall a Paranoia art piece which I think was Holloway, which literally had a troubleshooter or other AC citizen peeking through their fingers, so that in-media-res comparison is apt. I can't remember which book it was in though; it may have been an old 1e adventure.

    After the Paranoia creators wrested back legal ownership of their IP from WEG, that apparently did not include the original Holloway artwork. My copy of Paranoia XP is full of new Jim Holloway renditions - he was commissioned to redo his original pieces; which was cool.

    1. I never heard that about Paranoia XP. That's very cool.

      I'm glad I could share the Moebius strip of covers that is Paranoia. Who watches the watchmen? You do. Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!


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