Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.
Today, we take a look at eight examples of Erik Larsen’s experimental issues of Savage Dragon. Larsen, you see, has been writing and drawing Savage Dragon for over twenty-five years now. When you work on a comic book that long, part of the fun is coming up with ways to challenge yourself to keep things fresh. In Larsen’s case, some of his challenges are so outrageous that it is a marvel that he is even able to come up with his comic book on any sort of regular schedule, as we’re talking some elaborate and time-consuming concepts over the years. Do note that these are just eight of my favorite examples. He has done a few more than these, but I figured that eight was, as they say, enough.
Okay, very early on, we got the first “experimental” issue of Savage Dragon, but do note that it was experimental in a rather normal fashion. Savage Dragon #7 was told entirely in splash pages, either full page splashes or double-page splashes…
Cool stuff, albeit, again, fairly standard stuff.
Things got trickier with Savage Dragon #64. With this issue, Erik Larsen designed the panels so that they could work as a regular issue of the comic book….
But also as a strip that ran as a feature in Comics Shop News for a number of weeks…
That takes a really great eye for design to make that all work and make sense.
One of my favorites of the issues was Savage Dragon #104, where the pages are designed like a series of comic strips. Therefore, the page obviously reads okay as a regular issue of a comic book, but if you split it up, each section works on itself as a comic strip. So if you only read each “strip,” you would not be missing out on any story. There were each self-sustainable comic strips…
Plus, of course, the strips were legitimately funny. The addition of Angel to Savage Dragon’s comic book was a great one, as it allowed for the introduction of one of the greatest Savage Dragon characters, Angel’s “imaginary friend,” Mister Glum, who is actually quite real and he is quite evil. The stuff gets played for laughs in the early goings on, in a sort of Pinky and the Brain type set-up, but Glum gets more and more evil as time goes by and so, too, does the character get more and more twisted. He’s become a great recurring villain. He recently really messed up things by trying to merge worlds together until he finds one in which Angel loves him again (in the process, everyone on Earth remembers all of the alternate versions of their realities, so people remember each other doing some messed up stuff).
Next up is another really difficult one for Larsen to pull off, which is Savage Dragon #113, where the story opens up with 21 panels and then each page after that drops one panel until the book ends in a splash page…
That’s really clever. Okay, on to the next page for four more!
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