Image Comics today revealed an alternative cover to Savage Dragon #253, featuring Malcolm Dragon endorsing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice President of the United States in the 2020 election. The image is evocative of a memorable cover featuring Malcolm's dad, the original titular Dragon of the series, endorsing then-candidate Barack Obama for the Presidency in 2008. While it is uncommon, for both commercial and creative reasons, for a mainstream superhero comic to see its character explicitly endorsing a candidate for office, Savage Dragon is set in real time, in a fictionalized version of the real world, and as a result often reflects the world a little more directly than most.
There's also the fact that Savage Dragon once ran for President himself (kind of) -- something that, in the real world, makes you a go-to commentator on future elections for the rest of your life. During the 2004 election, a wealthy supervillain decided that his best chance at gaining political power would be to use Dragon's fame and the public goodwill that comes from being a superhero.
Ronald Winston Urass unilaterally declared that Dragon was running for President, and he would be Dragon's vice president. The campaign ultimately failed, but not before a campaign trail run-in that generated some real-world headlines: after President George W. Bush was kidnapped and replaced by a shapeshifting villain, Dragon pursued that villain in order to find and restore the President. One result of that? A cover -- to Savage Dragon #119 -- that appeared to depict Dragon punching out President Bush. Given creator Erik Larsen's own liberal political leanings, conservative comics fans saw the cover in solicitations and assumed the worst, creating a short-lived controversy around the issue.
You can check out Larsen's Biden/Harris cover below.
"This is an important election. They always say that but with America literally on fire and an ineptly handled pandemic it feels especially so," said Larsen. "Twelve years ago Savage Dragon endorsed Barack Obama and history was made. Savage Dragon #137 was the first comic book to feature the then-candidate Obama on its cover, and it became a global sensation. It’s time to take a stance once more and help make the country, and the world, a better place!"
His cover endorsing Barack Obama sold out and went back to press four times. In-story, Obama's final act as President was to pardon Dragon, who at the time was in prison serving time for crimes committed by (this is a gross oversimplification) a villain who has taken over his body. In more recent stories, Trump signed an executive order barring extra-terrestrials or people with extra-terrestrial heritage from the United States, causing Malcolm Dragon and his family to flee to Canada to avoid being deported to Dimension-X. Today's issue, #252, reveals that the Supreme Court has overturned Trump's alien ban, although that likely isn't the end of the story.
"This was obviously when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was alive and well so things could change in the future given what’s going on in the United States," Larsen told ComicBook.com today.
You can get Savage Dragon #252 today. Check back this evening for our regular commentary track-style interview with Larsen about the issue.
Savage Dragon #253 (Diamond Code AUG208695) will be available at comic book shops and digital storefronts on Wednesday, October 21.