Comics fans, rejoice! The mighty medium has returned. It’s been 7 weeks since Diamond Comic Distributors decided to discontinue publishing new comics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone – retailers, creators, and fans – has felt the ramifications of that decision. Yet as the saying goes, “The greater the storm, the brighter the rainbow bridge at the end of the tunnel,” as Diamond announced that it’ll be resuming its trade in shipping Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, and more from May 20. What better title to get those old feels of new comics than reading Image Comics’ Savage Dragon!
Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon is one of two original Image Comics titles still published (the other being Spawn), but it is the only one still written and drawn by its creator. Larsen received the 2017 All-in-One Award for his work on Savage Dragon and has written and drawn every single issue since its debut in 1992. With this being #248, the suspense in the buildup to the monumental #250 is palpable.
The history of Image Comics is a story of artists’ rights, in which some of the biggest names in comics in the ’90s – Erik Larsen, Todd Macfarlene, Jim, Lee, Rob Leifeld, and others – unified and stuck it to the man as independent creators. Savage Dragon continues to capture that rebellious style, and Larsen, being the potter with his hands in the clay, has complete control over his story.
Savage Dragon #248 follows a huge battle against the Demon King which left the character Angel with a shattered spine and our titular character sans his iconic head fin. The imagery of the fin being ripped off was particularly graphic, and Lasen excels at the mature violence and stakes in these books. The story opens with the villain Dart leading a penitentiary breakout of dozens of Dragon’s most dangerous baddies, and the side story follows the foes as they spread terror and death, killing hundreds of police officers.
The crux of this issue is the relationship between Savage Dragon and Maxine. Her hyper sexuality and comedic quips bounce off his larger-than-life, yet logical, demeanor in a playful way, even though the jokes can be very raunchy. Erik Larsen’s dialogue goes from innuendos to direct as heck and fits these characters perfectly.
Reading this book is akin to time traveling to the early, modern age of comics. The art is very much a callback from the ’90s stylized costumes and over-the-top gimmicks, but I really enjoyed it. Larsen created these characters when women were always drawn in knee highs and skin-tight bathing suits and the men wielded cylindrical guns and were covered in spandex and pouches. Credit to Larsen for being able to draw feet, though. (heh)
Savage Dragon has had one creative voice for almost 30 years – a feat that cannot be matched in comics – and Larsen deserves the praise he receives for sticking to his beliefs and not releasing this issue on digital for the sake of the retailers. Hopefully, this is the mark of a slight return to normality in our great culture and when the illustrious Savage Dragon #250 comes out, times will be even better.
Creative Team: Erik Larsen (writer, artist), Nikos Koutsis/Mike Toris (colos
Publisher: Image Comics
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