After a great deal of searching (and impatiently waiting) I have finally acquired a copy of the Dragon Magazine Archives, a compilation of PDFs of the first 250 issues of Dragon Magazine plus all seven issues of The Strategic Review (the predecessor to Dragon Magazine).
In 1999, WotC released this set of CDs containing the aforementioned PDFs. Apparently, there were copyright issues with the authors of the various articles and comics contained therein, disputing WotC’s right to reprint the material in this manner. Whether this is the true reason or not, the product was discontinued and there has not since been a source for reprints of these magazines.
Used copies can still be found on eBay. Rumors abound that these sets can be had for around $50. If so, I have not been able to find them. Instead, I regularly see copies selling for $150 – $250 (Still a deal but a considerable hit to the pocketbook).
Although I wouldn’t recommend or condone it, I will mention that these PDFs can certainly be found on various file-sharing sites as well.
I never had a subscription to any of the rpg gaming magazines (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc) but a member of our group did, so I was able to read (or at least skim through) most of them during games. There was no internet back then. At least not in the form it is today. Even BBSs were still in their infancy. Therefore, there were no forums or other means to communicate en masse with the rest of the gaming community. Magazines were the primary source of information and every issue of The Dragon was brimming with ideas.
I’ve only had time to glance at a few issues so far, but it’s been a real blast from the past seeing these old articles, comics, and ads from companies long since gone. As a great fan of Gary’s, I’m excited to re-read all of his old articles (as well as those by early TSR employees and others involved in the early years of the game).
I’ve never been a fan of page-by-page reviews of products like this so don’t expect to see anything like that from me (there are probably plenty to be found already out there). However, I’m sure I’ll find bits and pieces now and again that I just won’t be able to help myself from sharing.
These really are wonderful magazines that truly do contain some of the magic that permeated the hobby back then. If you can, it’s well worth your time and money to track down a set!