In 1981/82, TSR, to promote D&D, published in comics a strip of cartoon-shaped ads.
It depicted the adventures of Saren the cleric, Indel the rogue, Valerius the warrior and Grimslade the mage at Zenopus castle...
I am very grateful to Das Übernerd's post that made me discover these ads.
I am also very interested in the concept of the story being an endless loop... cf comments in his post.
If the first page's artist is unknown (high probability it was drawn by Keenan Powell, who is credited for her arts in early D&D rule books and extensions), 2nd page was done by Jeff Dee and all the other ones by Bill Willingham.
You can find funny and very inspired frame-by-frame analysis by Christopher B of the 4 first pages at his "A Rust Monster Ate My Sword" blog. Enjoy ! ;)
Then I somehow managed to get another cartoon ad for D&D, relating adventures of Auric, Tirra and the wizard Khellek in the Dungeon of Roakire.
(Also by Bill Willingham)
It s dated 1981.
My first bet, checking the TSR "reply-coupon" (not sure of translation here... :P) which doesn t include the UK address, was it started to be published before summer '81 as well as first 2 ads from the Zenopus series.
I did some digging, and in fact these ads ran from october '81 to april '82 in magazines like Dragon or Epic illustrated...
This is a 4 pages strip :
And, icing on the cake, it also exists a third set !
This one has a title : Quest through the Savage Country
Dated 1982 (released from june), it is featuring a ranger named Rory Gellan and Shadrak the gnome rogue being recruited to help Khellek, the wizard from Roakire series.
It is obviously the sequel of the precedent story.
We could bet it was meant to be also a 4 pages strip but story ends in midstream as the following pages were never drawn according to Bill Willingham.
Here s how it starts :
Any further infos about these ads or any other I am not aware of would be greatly welcomed !