Who is “Mr. January”?

One of the presents I got for Christmas of 2011 was the 2012 Diablo calendar. The artwork is wonderful, and days of the week use the font style that we, as Diablo game fanatics, are so familiar with. The O in Monday has that cross going through the center of it!

After hanging up the calendar on my wall, I took a look at the artwork for January. It shows a male human, who has long, brown, hair, and a mustache that has grown to connect to his short beard. He is wearing what appears to be a green robe, and has a brown, leather-like, cloak thrown over his shoulders.

In one hand, he holds a closed, thick, hardcover book. Across the opposite shoulder hangs a leather strap that appears to be attached to another hardcover book. Little square “buckles” attach the strap to either end of the binding of this book. It is as though whomever created the book intended for someone to cart it around like a purse. Attached to the waist of the figure is a green “knapsack”, for lack of a better word, that is either filled with a few more books, or perhaps is stuffed with rolled scrolls.

Surrounding this mysterious figure are several loose pages, that may have come from other books. You can almost see the writing on a few of them, but, they are indecipherable. It is a very interesting image of a figure who could be starting a battle with an unseen foe that would be located just off the edges of the painting.

At this point, I realized that I had absolutely no idea who this character was supposed to be. This inspired me to do some investigation to see what I could uncover about “Mr. January”.

An interesting article was published at Joystiq,com, on April 1, 2009. That date is significant, because it reminded me that Blizzard is known for doing an elaborate, (and hysterically funny), series of April Fools jokes every year.

It turns out that “Mr. January” started his existence as a part of Blizzard’s 2009 April Fools. The artwork depicts The Archivist, who was supposedly being revealed as the fourth of five classes that players could choose from in the upcoming Diablo III game. The Diablo Wiki has the text “From the writings of Abd al-Hazir”, which explain more about the Archivist. Part of it reads:

“But the might of these heroes is nothing compared to the power of the archivists of Westmarch. These brave souls wade into battle wielding tome and quill, armored not in ensorcelled plate or links of chain, but in the knowledge of generations past. These archivists fight not only for our future, but our past as well”.

His abilities were said to include the “Lorenado”, (a tornado of pages of lore, that can destroy enemies), the “Quest Bolt”, which fired a page at an enemy (and stopped them in their tracks), and an incredibly powerful ability called “Shush”. One “Shush” from The Archivist would completely destroy any enemies in the room, (and, potentially, the Archivist himself).

Blizzard went so far as to create a video that showed The Archivist in action.

Today, with the release of Diablo III hopefully happening sometime this year, we know that The Archivist never actually made it into the game as a class players could choose to adventure as. For a while, though, there were players who knew that The Archivist was nothing more than a clever April Fool’s joke, but who kind of wanted to play one anyway.

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