I'm on record as not being a big fan of Bill Willingham's art because I've always found it too "comic book-y" for my tastes. I realize I'm in the minority in holding this opinion, as most people have great fondness for Willingham's art. On some level, I suppose it's because I've never actually been a huge fan of comic books. I've read some over the years and enjoyed them and, even now, I occasionaly pick up collections or graphic novels that people recommend to me. But I'm not deeply versed in comics lore nor did I collect them as a kid.
Until recently, I never felt as if I were missing out on anything. Based on comments made in various places, I'm realizing that Marvel comics from the late 60s and early 70s were a significant influence on the early hobby. For example, it was once noted that Brian Blume was a fan of Doctor Strange and that the psionics system presented in Eldritch Wizardry may have been an attempt to introduce a Doctor Strange-like magic system into OD&D. Likewise, Ken St. Andre, creator of Tunnels & Trolls, stated in a 1983 interview that "my conception of the T&T world was based on The Lord of The Rings as it would have been done by Marvel Comics in 1974."
The good folks at the Acaeum, who are the real experts when it comes to the history of the hobby, have noticed some more overt Marvel connections to the early hobby in the form of Greg Bell's artwork for OD&D, a piece of which can be seen on the upper right hand side of my blog. Take a look at these comparisons between Marvel comics and Bell's illustrations:
Does anyone else have any examples of Marvel comics influences over the early hobby, not just in terms of artwork -- though that's useful too -- but in terms of ideas and concepts? I can't shake the feeling now that there are many more out there than we realize.