Savage Dragon 252 is a excellent reminder of the joys of reading the Sunday Funnies. It is also An excellent reminder of this year genius that is Erik Larsen. The issue is packed with humor, social commentary and great homages to the past.
Within each of the separate comic strip homages we see a great reminder of why panel work is so important, how different art styles can change the way that we look at humor, and how each type of storytelling has its own validity and can convey interesting thoughts and statements.
Larsen presents this as a love letter to the comic strips of the past rather than a criticism of those strips or their format. He also present some massive social commentary in terms of family dynamics and politics. He also keeps things incredibly funny throughout.
What is the most striking feature of this issue are all of the different artistic styles that he’s able to employ showing just what a great artist he is. It’s easy to forget how much Larsen has put into the Savage Dragon over these many decades. He has created what so many comic readers say they want, an ongoing series with a consistent voice, high quality and real changes to the life of the heroes over time.This issue highlights just how much skill Larsen has and how much thoughtfulness he puts into his work.
Savage Dragon is at its heart about two guiding forces, Family and Politics. Each one of these strips reflects one of those forces highlighting the joy and pain of a busy family life and the horrors found in our sociopolitical landscape.
The strips about family are much more effective in striking up the nostalgia, staying close to the tone of comics we loved like Peanuts, Family Circus, Fox Trot, Popeye and Calvin and Hobbes. These are all pitch perfect, mirroring the art, humor and heart of those works even while keeping the stories firmly in the world of Savage Dragon.
The other more adult strips feel less familiar but allow Larsen to comment on issues of infidelity, government overreach, political correctness and police brutality. All of them are well done and all of them match the styles, tones and most incredibly looks of the funnies they are paying homage to.
This issue is a true gift and as much as it’s a reminder of the love we had for the Sunday Funnies, it is also a reminder of the love we have for Savage Dragon and Erik Larsen.
Writing: 4.5 of 5 stars
Art: 5 of 5 stars
Colors: 5 of 5 stars
Overall 4.8 of 5 stars
Writer: Erik Larsen
Art: Eric Larsen
Colors: Nikos Koutsis
Publisher: Image Comics