Arting Around—Render Silent and Advent of the Wurm

There was a twelve year-old boy who played baseball, wore through a VHS tape of Ghostbusters, collected trading cards, and had just gotten into comic book art. He drew all the time. At some point baseball cards stopped making sense to him. They seemed kind of like a scam and didn’t *do* anything. Once bought they went into a binder and he checked a Beckett price guide to see how his investment was paying off. Even then money meant almost nothing to him and he spent any that came in as soon as it came in on art supplies and comics.

Marvel Masterpieces came out and the kid ate packs for breakfast chasing the ever elusive foil cards, not for monetary value but for cool value. These sat in binders, too, and, though the art on them upped the kid’s interest, their use value was incredibly low. Collecting them was an empty pursuit.

“What’s this?” the kid asked his local comic shopkeep. “These are Magic cards, it’s a game. They’re like baseball cards and Dungeons and Dragons combined. Buy some cards, build a deck, come back, and I’ll teach you how to play.” The kid did this, read the rule book a few times, and brought back a 100 green card monstrosity filled with Grizzly Bears and Craw Wurms.

Duh, the kid’s me.

I’ve been looking at the art of cards like Craw Wurm and Grizzly Bears for 19 years. Magic card illustration used to be less hegemonic, I’ve mentioned this before. However, some nods to the past are appearing in new sets and Render Silent’s art looks brilliantly similar as a bit of diversity to our old pal Grizzly Bears.

Look at this sad sack. He’s poorly rendered, proportionally inaccurate, and incredibly mundane. He’s bored. I’ve come across better paintings at yard sales. It’s folkiness and “bad”-ness sets it apart from other Magic art, gives diversity to the format, and offers us something to base our criticism on.

More diversity:

Hymn to Tourach Abomination Living Wall Skeleton Ship

I dunno, just tossing those out there. Render Silent reminds me of the work of Bill Sienkiewicz, an illustrator known for his washy-dreamy style. He’s only worked on two Magic cards.

Phyrexian War Beast Soldevi Steam Beast

Young me was really into his comic work and seeing his name on Alliances card art, one of the first sets I really played, was dope.

(I love Batman and Wolverine.)

See what I’m getting at? Look at Kev Walker, straying from his usual style a bit, rocking some kind of ethereal-ish style on Render Silent (a card that I hope no one plays, ever).

rendersilent

Long term relationships are very interesting and it’s with one of these that I will close. The illustrating of the creature type “wurm” has varied wildly throughout Magic art history. The current suite of wurm illustrations, while not 100% identical to the o.g. wurm, Craw Wurm, certainly relates to and updates the imagery depicted on the iconic card. With the spoiling of Advent of the Wurm, a card I’m genuinely excited about, I wanted to go through wurm history a bit and see what there is to see. I remember drawing copies of Craw Wurm over and over again as a kid thinking “Why the hell isn’t this just a dragon?”

Craw Wurm Craw Wurm Autochthon Wurm Armada Wurm Arrogant Wurm Dirtcowl Wurm Enlisted Wurm Bellowing Tanglewurm Siege Wurm Water Wurm Wurmcoil Engine Wurmweaver Coil

And now our newest favorite card and favorite wurm art, Advent of the Wurm. All Ravnica wurms look like unknown characters from Masters of the Universe.

Advent of the Wurm - Dragon's Maze Spoiler

I can’t wait to play with this guy. Don’t let me leave four mana up.

Hope you are enjoying spoiler season!

All the best,
Matt
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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Comments
5 Responses to “Arting Around—Render Silent and Advent of the Wurm”
  1. Jess Stirba says:

    Long “t-wurm” relationships, ehhhhh?

  2. Zac Clark says:

    I think the Rav Wurm look like Shai Hulud from Dune.

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