Dragon was the premiere magazine of the 1980s for game players. In addition to the RPG based articles and ads for new products it was the artwork by the classic TSR artists of this era that is most fondly remembered. No better are these artists represented than on the covers during this time.

Below are my take on the best Dragon covers of the 1980s. My goal in compiling this list was to not over-represent any of the “big names” (Easley, Elmore, Caldwell and Parkinson), but highlight them all, while also including the “chess” themed covers with and rounding out the list with a few gems by lesser known artists.

10. Dragon #97 (May 1985) – Robin Wood

Dragon #97

9. Dragon #65 (Sept. 1982) – Clyde Caldwell

Dragon #65

8. Dragon #53 (Sept. 1981) – Clyde Caldwell

Dragon #53

7. Dragon #62 (June 1982) – Larry Elmore

Dragon #62

6. Dragon #106 (Feb. 1986) – Keith Parkinson

Dragon #106

5. Dragon #69 (Jan. 1983) – Clyde Caldwell

Dragon #69

4. Dragon #89 (Sept. 1984) – Den Beauvais

Dragon #89

3. Dragon #(Oct. 1988) – Jeff Easley

Dragon #138

2. Dragon #126 (Oct. 1987) – Daniel Horne

Dragon #126

1. Dragon #140 (Dec. 1988) – Larry Elmore

Dragon #140




  1. Just yesterday an ad for this t-shirt shop popped up on facebook… nothing but dragon magazine covers. I went back 2 hours later and it was gone… what a crime!!!

  2. I think that one of Den Beauvais’s Dragon Series like The Antagonists, The Conflict or my favourite Bridge of Sorrows should have been on the list. # 78 featuring a Fairy dragon or one of the Phil Foglio Phil and Dixie covers….guess keeping it down to ten was quite the challenge.

  3. Fantastic choices! Man, on the on hand this brings back some great memories. On the other…yeah, I’m getting old. Side-note, getting together with friends to play our own version of DnD tonight. May the percentile’s always roll in your favor!

    • I have a Starlog collection dating back to issue #2, the covers were amazing up until the mid-90s when they began to look like a tabloid. Those early Fangoria ones were awesome as well! What a great time that was…


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