It's time for a slice of life, Savage Dragon style... by way of homage to Sunday funny pages!
Maddie's birthday, noisy neighbors, a friendly fight with a talking tiger... it's all here in this beautiful homage to the Sunday comics strips!
Savage Dragon #252 is a truly unique reading experience. Erik Larsen has embarked on artistic challenges before in the pages of his signature book, but never on this level. Every page is drawn and crafted in the style of a classic comic strip – from Cathy to Blondie to Popeye to the Family Circus to Doonesbury and more. What’s more, Larsen manages to tell several stories, and although each vignette isn’t necessarily the standard 22-page story readers are accustomed to, each strip does tell a complete story, catching up with several of the comics’ many, many characters.
Malcolm, Maxine, and the kids celebrate Maddie’s birthday. “Paul” Dragon, newly arrived after the Merging of Multiple Earths, tries to establish a life for himself based on memories from worlds that no longer exist with people who don’t even know him. Angel and Alex adjust to life in Canada during the pandemic, while Angel’s fiance Frank Jr. faces the current social justice battle in Chicago. Yes, there’s even room for some great social commentary throughout (well, “great” if you’re left-leaning on the political spectrum… conservatives are more than likely steer clear of SD on a good day anyway, so no worries).
The upside to this grand artistic experiment – that, it must be said, succeeds in its intent on every level – is that it’s a singular experience, unduplicated at any point in time in the history of comics. The downside is that it’s a pretty brief read. Due to the numerous double-splash pages, not to mention the strict adherence to the imitated styles of each strip’s style, it’s impossible for this particular issue to have a wealth of dialogue or exposition. And that’s fine – art shouldn’t be hampered by the unnecessary. Given how successful the issue is as an artistic experiment, I don’t think very many readers will complain. No, I think they’ll applaud more than anything else. Add regular series colorists Nikos Koutsis and Mike Toris’ stellar work to the mix, and you have a once-in-a-lifetime reading experience. Savage Dragon – and by extension, Erik Larsen – is a lot of things to a lot of people. Some see it as a relic of the ’90s exxxxxtreeeeemmmme aesthetic. Others see it as a curio of a bygone age, or a left-wing propaganda porn comic. Those people are all wrong. Savage Dragon is an ongoing artistic experiment, proudly showing it’s creator’s passion in every single issue. Issue 252 is no different – but it might just be the most wildly successful experimental issue in the book’s twenty-eight-year run… so far.
Savage Dragon #252 continues Erik Larsen's proud trend of experimentation with comics page and form, this time paying homage to Sunday comic strips in their respective styles. I guarantee you've never read a comic like this!
Savage Dragon #252: Funnybooks
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 6/106/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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