Just looking at the cover art to Andre Norton’s Forerunner will start you thinking about Dungeons and Dragons, Mordicai Knode says, as the pitch black skin and pale white hair match Gygax’s vision of the drow, or dark elves:
The first thing I did, then, upon seeing the cover for this, was flip to the copyright page — 1981 — and then look up the drow on Wikipedia. The drow’s first official mention is in the AD&D Monster Manual, 1977, with their first appearance in Hall of the Fire Giant King (G3) in 1978, which really nailed down their signature “look.”
Just an odd coincidence? Perhaps not, since Norton definitely was affiliated with Gary Gygax and Dungeons and Dragons. She wrote Quag Keep in 1979, the first official D&D tie-in novel, about a group of people from the “real world.” How did she know so much about the hobby? Well, because she played in Gary Gygax’s Greyhawk game in 1976, of course. Which means…well, what does it mean? I guess it probably means that either Norton thought Gygax’s dark elves looked cool, and cribbed it, or that they put their heads together and cooked that look up together, and that Norton repurposed it for Forerunner. An ancient race of ur-aliens, a pre-human proto-culture that explored the stars before the human species left their home world for the first time? Yes please!