And Sometimes Independents Need to Stay Independent

SAVAGE DRAGON #2, Image Comics, July 1993
While Spawn welcomed indie anthropomorphic superstar Cerebus, Savage Dragon got indie anthropomorphic superstars the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Eastman and Laird's Turtles were the first independent comic to actually get mainstream success, albeit as watered down cartoon or movie versions of themselves. You gotta compromise in life if you don't want to be turned into soup or wax.

So I suppose it was a natural match to cross them over into Savage Dragon, another green, vaguely reptilian, indie hero in a comic that doesn't take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, while it could have been a great deal of fun, writer/artist Erik Larsen doesn't know what to do with them.

Chicago's resident super-cop is in New York tracking some kind of gargoyle when he's jumped by the Turtles. They fight. Then they realize they're on the same side and then, the gargoyle jumps them all. They fight it. And that's it. I sure wish it didn't all look like this:
A good day for the guy who sells green ink, but otherwise hard to follow and frankly, dull. The Turtles have interchangeable personalities here, and being the old school TMNT, all the same color masks. So all they've got to differentiate them is their weapons, and they're not always in-frame. No Splinter. No Shredder. It could've been any ninjas in this comic. Missed opportunities.

After the fight(s), the mystery villain is revealed as the illegitimate child of Wolverine and Rogue just back from the saline implant store, but she has no lines and they don't notice her.
The Dragon has this final line: "I wonder if we'll ever know what that was all about." Not in Savage Dragon, you won't. There's a comic by Mirage Studios that has the end of the story, but more "Gargoyle-smashing action" is NOT what I'm looking forward to right now (I own it, I just don't want to find it and read it at this point... hey, more material for later!).

To his credit, Larsen does try to give you more pages for your money. But more pages does not mean more story. There are a few pin-ups by different artists, and that's cool. There's a backup starring a character called Star: he meets a fiery villain called Inferno and they fight. A few more pin-ups. Then there's the introduction, in another backup strip, of an alien called Vanguard. He's in a holodeck thing, and he fights various computer-controlled opponents, no doubt to practice for the fights to come in future issues. And if any of these fights were particularly inspired, I'd give the comic a passing grade.

Quick count: 48 pages for 2.95$ US/3.70$ Canadian. Actually a good value, but if we break it down:
-30 pages: fighting.
-1 page: ad for the end of the crossover.
-1 page: letters page
-7 pages: pin-ups
-9 pages: story (non-fight)
Oh and the Savage Dragon appears in only 21 pages, including 3 pin-ups, 1 ad and as a hologram in the Vanguard story. Maybe Larsen really wanted to do a team book?


Anonymous said...

Larson did want to do a team book, and so he created Freak Force and the Kesel's wrote it and it was good, oh yes, it was good.

Anonymous said...

Meh. I've been told that I should try Savage Dragon sometime, that the storytelling is right up my alley.

I just can't get past Larsen's art, though. I hated it in the late 80's on the Punisher and Spider-Man, and I hate it to this day.

I'll grab an issue out of the .50 bin one day... maybe.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Orville Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine