The Savage Dragon Trade paper back
Story\Art\ Ink\ Erik Larsen
Letterer, Chris Eliopolous
Color, Gregory Wright and Steve Oliff
Editor, Jannie Wong.
Notes : This trade paper back collects, The Savage Dragon mini series 1-3
The Dragon portion of Image issue 0.
As well as newly inserted pages.
But first a small detour with the trade paper back.
This TPB was my second TPB ever, after the Spawn TPB.
And my first introduction to The Savage Dragon.
I have been an on and off fan ever since, and recently gotten back in to the character after buying 101 issues in one go last year.
My copy of the book is in poor state and falling apart, which just goes to show how often I read this book.
And despite it's state, it will always have a special place in my collection.
But that's not why I am reviewing it.
The very first Dragon TPB is symptomatic for almost every subsequent Dragon trade paper back and that's that Erik Larsen either reshuffles the pages, adds pages or adds extra non comic content.
In this case, he does all three.
He reshuffled the page line up of the original mini series.
The book opens with dragon in the burning field for example, instead of the splash page of him pretty much flying at Cuttthroat in the first issue.
And more such reshuffling, but it's so extensive I cant all cover it here.
This makes the original mini series, which were already pretty much a good solid foundation, easier to read.
And because I read this version first, for me, this is the definitive version.
There are also pages included to introduce Dragon's colleagues on the force and to show him tackling the superfreak problem.
The original mini series issues were already densely packed, with 28 pages on average and they still felt like a roller coaster ride.
The TPB allows the story to breath.
But the real reason for the TBP to exist is the inclusion of Larsen's section of Image 0.
Which was a promo that ran through all the first issues of the original Image comics series.
Long story short. all the other Image founders were chronically late with their sections,
Larsen already finished his section.
It looked like Image 0 was never going to be released. ( It did finally saw release, in late 93, I believe instead on late 92. )
And because his Savage Dragon story was pivotal for the character and lead directly in to the main series.
He decided to include it in the first trade paperback, instead of keeping people waiting or in the dark.
Since then each Dragon TPB has always included extra's either in the form of sketches or scripts or covers and extra pages.
Most of these extra pages have just been linking devices to make things clear, or to make more sense out of a given scene.
But I have the single issues, so we are going see them as they were first released.
Does this mean the readers of the monthly issues get stiffed ?
Not at all, the issues, can still stand on their own.
The trade paperback version just strengthen the ties, add content where necessary to make things clearer add background or verisimilitude that wasn't there in the original issues.
As for the trade paper back it self ?
It's essential reading for anybody who is even remotely interested in The Savage Dragon,
this should be your first port of call.
It introduces the Dragon , his ( limited) back ground, his status quo and sets everything up for the next 12 issues or so .
It also includes the pivotal Image 0 story which has ramifications going all the way up to issue 32, but we will see that when we get there.
Next up, issue 0.
Addendum : I have had computer problems since Saturday the 14th, after a botched Windows update. I have only now managed to get things running again, which have off course thrown my update schedule for a loop.