Like many of Erik Larsen's characters, the Savage Dragon was created by Larsen while he was a child in school and Larsen drew the Dragon in homemade comic books. The original Dragon, inspired by elements from Captain Marvel, Batman, Speed Racer and Hulk, differs from the modern incarnation. A redesigned Savage Dragon was featured in 1992 in two issues of Graphic Fantasy, a self-published title with a small print run, published by Larsen and two friends, the Dragon as a widower and a retired member of a government-sponsored superhero team. Dragon then made an appearance in the third issue of Gary Carlson's Megaton anthology in its Vanguard strip, which Larsen had been drawing, now with a living wife. Both the Graphic Fantasy and Megaton issues containing the Dragon have since been reprinted in high-quality editions from Image Comics, who published the million-selling mini-series and ongoing series which has run written and drawn by Larsen since 1992 as a green amnesiac, who joined the Chicago police department after being discovered in a burning field. A copy of Megaton #3, the first non-self published appearance of Savage Dragon, and the first time he used the name "Savage Dragon" as opposed to Paul Dragon, is up for auction from Heritage Auctions today, in a CGC 9.0 grading. 'Savage' was added to the character, after a cease and desist order from Dragon Magazine. Which makes this the first appearance of "Savage Dragon" even though the character had appeared a number of times before – but years before his more famous Image Comics' debut.
Paul Dragon gets hitched in Savage Dragon #260, marking the first time he has successfully done so, since the Bronze Man interrupted his original wedding and killed his fiancée in the Graphic Fantasy era. The issue also sees the return of Torment, a massive, monstrous child who is driven to villainy by one of two competing voices in his head, exhibited literally by tiny heads that protrude from his own. It's a wild month, and as it's all playing out, fans are getting a little bit of a sense for what the Savage Dragon dynamic (and perhaps supporting cast) will be in the months to come.
Next week's issue of Savage Dragon will ship with something fans have long joked was the inevitable consequence of hype-driven comics marketing: variant interiors. There's a little twist, though; the ever-so-slightly different guts to Savage Dragon #260 are not being used as a marketing gimmick; two different versions of the book are being published as a consequence of creator Erik Larsen's expensive search for a new letterer. The series typically ships with two slightly different covers, one featuring a trade dress reminiscent of a Silver Age comic, with an "Image Comics Group" banner across the top, and a corner box image.