Herculian Review

This (mostly) awesome one-shot from Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen came out at the start of March, but I only just got around to reading it. Herculian is slightly bigger than a regular comic (see photo to the left), in a similar size to 27 and Viking and with it’s thicker paper stock, ’70s-styled Marvel cover and slightly browned paper, it’s a throwback to the kinds of comics Larsen, and many others, grew up reading.

A 48 pager with a collection of short, complete stories it is whacky and often, though not always, funny. You can read an interview with Larsen about the genesis of the book here, but essentially it shows a few weird tales without a certain finned hero in sight. The best, and longest, in these pages is Guy Talk. I finished reading it yesterday and immediately gave it to a non-comics reading mate and he absorbed it all and laughed even more than I did at the punchline. A 24 page tale that was Larsen’s contribution to the annual 24 Hour Comic Day (in which you have to complete a comic within 24 hours) it is dark approach to romance. A man meets his grouchy and jaded brother in a diner to tell him of his new lady love. His head over heels status and firm belief in the power of love makes his sibling sick, as he’s been there, done that and has the heartbreak, selfishness and immaturity to prove it. Throughout this raw discussion  (that wouldn’t be out of place in an early Kevin Smith film) there are two silent, unnamed combatants fighting each other in the streets. Neither of the brothers acknowledge this battle, but Larsen creatively uses some of their dialogue to overlap the fight in key moments. It’s a highly entertaining story that whizzes by.

The rest of the tales aren’t as funny or long, but are just as strange. There’s a 6 page black and white  story called Cheeseburger Head that follows a man who wakes up and freaks out upon realising he’s..yep…a cheeseburger head.

Bacon Mummy, Carl Cosmic, Don Drake (who surprises his blind date with his duck face) and others show up here, and most are 1 or 2 page stories. 7 silent one page gags of the motionless Reggie the Veggie show the legless character in a series of similar panels in tales such as High Tide and Snow Day suffering from bad weather, and Mickey Maus adds to the political incorrectness by putting Mickey Mouse in the concentration camps of Art Spiegelman’s classic Maus.

Like all anthologies, some pages work better than others, and in fact some of the punchlines here are just odd rather than funny, but it’s worth buying for the lead feature, Guy Talk. Some stories are new, some have been seen in Image’s Popgun anthologies, but they all have a zany vibe to them.

Larsen’s work, and lettering, here is cruder than his usual charming sketchiness and the colouring is plain, but with the benday dots for tone it really does look like a long lost comic from decades ago.

Erik Larsen Chat

savagedragon153_coverComics site Broken Frontier had an interesting chat with writer Jeph Loeb recently, in which he met fans on-line and discussed his work. You can see the results here. Well, next up is Image Comics co-founder and the creator of the Savage Dragon himself – Erik Larsen. Here are the details.

On Wednesday September 9, Erik Larsen stops by the BF community for the second edition of ‘Quality Time’, our new feature where you can get in touch with your favorite creators for a live, one-hour Q&A session.

Erik Larsen will answer your questions in real time from 3-4pm Eastern (12pm-1pm Pacific). As usual with Larsen, all bets are of: fire off all your questions about Savage Dragon, Image Comics, and the state of the industry. Oh, and he’s pencilling a very neat page for Image United today, so make sure to bring that project up tomorrow as well!

Get your questions ready and log onto the BF community on Wednesday September 9 at 3pm ET/12pm PT for the second edition of ‘Quality Time’! If you’re not yet a registered member of the BF community, sign up here to participate.

Long Live Overlord

Savage Dragon fans are a loyal bunch. It’s no wonder, as creator Erik Larsen has poured his heart into the Finned Fighter’s adventures for almost 2 decades. Now, in the best recent tradition of Marvel, Image Comics offers up a teaser involving a classic foe. Something’s brewing. 


Savage (Dragon) Politics

One of the beauties of comics is the speed in which they can be made. After 9/11 the comics community was the first medium to tackle the complexities and heartache that went with that heartbreaking day, while film took years to tell their tales. This year, as US politics takes centre stage again (in the 2000 presidential race, Lex Luthor won in the DC Comics world) the real life candidates become comic book figures once more. Just take a look at this variant cover for Savage Dragon #137 by creator (and until recently, Image head honcho) Erik Larsen. The finned one leaves no mysteries as to where his vote is going. The 32 page ish goes on sale September 3.

As reported in the New York Times, a former presidential candidate will give his endorsement for this years’ race in SAVAGE DRAGON #137, as the titular character supports Democratic nominee, Barack Obama!

“Four years ago the Dragon was a reluctant presidential candidate,” SAVAGE DRAGON creator Erik Larsen said. “Fans have asked if he’ll be running again, but given the importance of the upcoming election it seemed appropriate that he would back Barack Obama, the candidate whose politics most reflect his own. Savage Dragon will be giving Barack Obama his full support.”

Savage Dragon made his initial play for the presidential election in the 2004 campaign, but rescinded once the man claiming to be his running mate turned out to be Dreadknight, a supervillain bent on world domination. SAVAGE DRAGON #137 will sport a special 1:5 variant cover featuring Dragon formally endorsing the one candidate he is confident is not a potential nemesis, Barack Obama.

A week after Dragon makes his political leanings public, so do a whole bunch of DC heroes, in the 4 ish mini-series, Decisions, by Judd Winick, Bill Willingham and Rick Leonardi, which has various characters weighing in on some fictional candidates in the DCU.

And, finally, IDW also get in on the act. Their comic biographies of Obama and his arch-nemesis John McCain go on sale on October 8. Comics and politics – what a combo!

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