From the editor-in-chief's description of the issue:
Months ago, in a fit of what we call long-range planning, we decided that issue #76 would be a great time to publish an updated index. Within days after that decision was made, one Mr. Gygax politely inquired about whether we were considering doing an index. Aw, sure, I said, we're already planning on it for the August issue.
Well, telling the big guy that you're going to do something is the world's best incentive. The index that lots of you have asked for is finished on time, thanks to that confident promise I made last winter and to the efforts of the other people credited at the bottom of page 46. Use it, and enjoy it.
Something else that makes this issue special is tucked 'way back on pages 87 and 88 - the final two pages in the current episode of the saga of Wormy. An ending...followed immediately by a new beginning: Issue #77 will contain the first installment of a new Wormy adventure, and Tramp will be making pages as long as his markers and his imagination don't dry up - neither of which is liable to happen.
We've been scolded several times in the last few months for not giving proper recognition to our cover artists. So, okay, we can take a few hints... The striking cover painting adorning this issue is "The Thing From the Pit" by Clyde Caldwell. It's the seventh example of his work we've printed, and by no means the last. (I have another one behind the chair in my office, but don't tell anybody.) And I expect to see more work out of Clyde, even though he has plenty to do already in his new job on the TSR artist staff.
The beholder is so hard to pin down that we sent two of our best writers, Roger Moore and Ed Greenwood, on a quest for the inside story. The next article in our "ecology" series examines the Eye Tyrant like it's never been looked at before.
In the Finishing What We Started Dept., inside you'll find part II of Ed's description of "The Nine Hells," completing a plane-by-plane tour and adding lots of information on rule changes that apply when a party is adventuring in the devils' domain.
If your player characters ever need a really evil reason for being good, put them up against Len Lakofka's death master NPC for the AD&D game, described in Leomund's Tiny Hut. Purists should note that Mr. Gygax had a look at this, and made some basic suggestions which were incorporated into the text - but no, that doesn't make it official.
As usual, we're out of space sooner than superlatives. From the first letter to the last laugh, enjoy. - KM