Overview

Image Month: Savage Dragon #1

Review

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Image Month: Savage Dragon #1

Credits

  • Words: Erik Larsen
  • Art: Erik Larsen
  • Inks: Erik Larsen
  • Colors: Gregory Wright
  • Story Title: Baptism of Fire
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $1.95
  • Release Date: Jul 1, 1992

More than any other creator at Image, Erik Larsen seemed to get it.  He knew what our expectations were of these creators.  As readers (at least to 13-year-old Sam) we didn’t want these guys to start their own companies, to become conglomerates, and focus on making toys, TV shows, video games, etc.  We wanted them to create something new and stick with it. And Larsen delivered.  From the first issue, you could just tell that this was all he really wanted to do.  And he hit all the beats with this debut issue of Savage Dragon

The book was absolutely action packed.  There are multiple deaths, lots of gunfire, a few scenes of the main character engulfed in flame, and bad guys coming out of the woodwork.  Even in the “quiet” panels, there is death as famous characters from the past are noted as being killed. (Larsen’s use of these scenes to establish the backstory for his world are better than just about every other Image debut book.  Rather than show the scenes, we learn of them the same way the main characters do, through news broadcasts.)  Above all else, this book just radiates fun.  There must have been a massive smile on Erik Larsen’s face during the entire creation of this book (and there probably still is to this day).  The dynamic nature of his artwork that had made him so popular during his run with Spider-Man is on full display here.  His linework and character designs are exceptional.  There is never any confusion as to what is going on and everything seems to explode off the page. 

Larsen’s storytelling here is something that the rest of his Image cohorts should have studied.  He moves his story along at a pretty fast pace, covering a pretty big amount of time with just a few scenes (each of which seems to crescendo into a massive action piece).   He has the requisite flashback panels (was this an Image mandate or something?) but always uses them to their fullest.  These flashbacks aren’t just there to let us know there’s a backstory, Larsen used each one to their fullest, relating it to what is going on today but still leaving his readers with questions that we know will eventually be answered. 

While just about every other creator at Image was busy setting up worlds and properties that they would struggle to maintain, Erik Larsen was effectively creating one that would last.  And making it so good that he would want to continue.  It’s no wonder that he is now the publisher of Image Comics.

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Comments

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Apr 26, 2012 at 4:25am

    Savage Dragon still rules after all this time! Good review :p

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