Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Christmas Stalking
Written by: Erik Larsen
Pencilled by: Erik Larsen
Inked by: Erik Larsen
Colored by: Rueben Rude
Lettered by: Chris Eliopoulos
Publisher: Image Comics
There isn’t a more fun, refreshing, and enjoyable comic on the stands today, than SAVAGE DRAGON! Every component of the comic from front to back cover is a nod to a simpler era of graphical storytelling. Even the dialogue feels like it’s the 1960’s. Several books on the stands, including DC’s soon to be cancelled POWER COMPANY, boast a Silver Age sensibility, but none in my opinion do it as blatantly, or as well as SAVAGE DRAGON does.
Breaking from the trend of recent issues, SAVAGE DRAGON #106 contains a single story. When you learn that this is a Christmas tale, you understand just how far behind Mr. Larsen is on his pet project. Since the Dragon’s story has been told nearly in real time from the start, attempts have always been made to have the contents fit the cover date. Considering this is the December dated issue, the idea that this is a Christmas story makes sense, even though it shipped in April. As a funny aside, Larsen notes in this issues letter page, the next issue will be cover dated May 2003 and he will finally be caught up! Way to cheat Erik! J
This two-pronged story concerns the search for Rita Medermade, a long time Dragon supporting player, who is a prisoner in the danger zone on the outskirts of Chicago. The crux of the story though, follows Dragons’ attempt to deliver Santa Claus’ gifts! Yes, good old Saint Nick has been captured in an attempt to ruin Christmas, and in exchange for Santa’s elves’ assistance in locating Rita, Dragon must in turn help deliver Christmas tidings to all. This one is about as over the top as it gets, but what a lark!
What can you say about Erik Larsen’s art? You either love it, or hate it! His style has developed a great deal from his days at Marvel, and his current work is really a treat to the senses. There is a happy feeling on each panel of every page. The sheer joy Larsen brings to the work, is reason enough to pick up SAVAGE DRAGON!
So much has been crammed into the 106 issues (109 if you count the original three issue mini) that it may seem daunting to a new reader to try and jump on board. I tell you, leave that misconception at the door to your comic shop! SAVAGE DRAGON is one of the best books each month (or so), and you owe it to yourself to try at least one issue.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodâ€¦ spring!