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Comic Legends: Did Dungeons & Dragons Object to Erik Larsen’s Dragon?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
Comic Legends: Did Dungeons & Dragons Object to Erik Larsen’s Dragon?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and thirty-seventh week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.

COMIC LEGEND:

Erik Larsen named his series Savage Dragon instead of Dragon because of legal threats from the makers of Dungeons and Dragons

STATUS:

True

Erik Larsen’s awesome Savage Dragon series has been going strong for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS now (the ongoing series debuted in 1993, after the original three-issue miniseries).

Larsen has been doing the Dragon character for many years before that, though, as he originally developed the character when he was a kid.

The character first appeared in the self-published Graphic Fantasy…

Before then appearing in Megaton #3 in 1986, fighting Vanguard, the creation of Megaton writer/publisher, Gary Carlson…

Now, you might have noticed something. In both Graphic Fantasy and Megaton, the character’s name is just Dragon, not SAVAGE Dragon.

Reader Bob M. wrote in to ask, “Did TRS Inc. the publisher of the Dungeons and Dragons game and Dragon magazine threaten to sue Erik Larsen over his original character Paul Dragon aka the Dragon, forcing Larsen to change the character’s name to “Savage Dragon?”

I asked Erik Larsen about it, and he both confirmed that it was true and then was kind enough to fill me in on the details:

Originally Dragon Magazine had been called The Dragon and they objected to Image publishing a comic book called the Dragon. And while I knew there would be no confusion in the marketplace I decided to make the change regardless. It’s easier to own and trademark a name which is a combination of words than it is to own and copyright a name which is a word that’s found in any dictionary.

Erik then noted that years later, he had even done a miniseries called Dragon and no one contacted him about it, so, in retrospect, he probably could have gotten away with it. It’s a shame how companies often push these things. I did a Movie Legend on this a while back about how Universal tried to get Nintendo to stop using Donkey Kong because it infringed on the King Kong trademark that Universal knew that it didn’t own!!

Thank to Bob for the question and thanks to Erik Larsen for the information! Everyone should go out and read Savage Dragon, it’s a really entertaining series.


Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed, which I waited to tie in with this legend – Did the 1980s Dungeons and Dragons TV series originally end with the characters all dying?


Check back later tonight for Part 3 of this week’s legends! And remember, e-mail me at cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com if you have any suggestions for future comic book legends!

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