Vault of the Drow is a remarkable adventure module, presenting a vast subterranean environment where the player characters are able to explore, do battle, or almost anything else they desire -- provided they are careful not to draw too much attention to themselves. Gygax's portrayal of the dark elves as power hungry and, therefore, riven with internal conflict gives them both depth and versatility; it opens the door for Dungeon Masters to use the drow as they see fit, with even details as seemingly integral as the worship of Lolth open to individual interpretation. Gygax even introduces the idea of non-evil drow in the form of “Nilonim, a dissident drow ... [who] led a band of rebels attempting to overthrow noble rule. He is of neutral alignment with a slight tendency towards good deeds.” Remember that Nilonim appeared in 1978, ten years before The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore gave the world Drizzt Do'Urden, perhaps the most famous drow in the history of Dungeons & Dragons.
The look at the drow's origin in D&D stops there pretty much. Of course, they continued to grow and evolve over the years. More drow deities were added (such as Eilistraee and Vhaeraun) and R.A. Salvatore's novel Homeland fleshed out the chaotic culture of the drow a lot more. But it is nice to see where they began and as such an interesting article to read, particularly if you didn't already know how the drow first appeared.