Savage Dragon's Pre-Image Graphic Fantasy Comics To Be Reprinted Officially

With founding Image Comics titles Savage Dragon and Spawn enjoying what appears to be a surge in popularity, with several issues going back to press and back issue prices soaring, Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen is giving fans a chance to own a facsimile edition of the earliest published appearances of (a version of) the Dragon. Originally published in 1982, Graphic Fantasy #1 and #2 featured one of number of proto-versions of Dragon that Larsen created over the years, beginning when he was in elementary school and used to draw mini-comics featuring a version of the character. This version, Paul Dragon, was recently introduced into the main Savage Dragon title.

Paul has a different backstory than Dragon -- his counterpart in Image-era Savage Dragon comics -- does, and the fact that he has a first name is different, too. In Savage Dragon, the title character was given his name by a supporting character in the comic when he revealed he had no memory of his past. The Graphic Fantasy Dragon stories have been reprinted previously in the pages of the main book, but these facsimile editions will be reproduced faithfully from the original comics, with the inclusion of stories Larsen didn't write or draw and featuring characters he doesn't own.

"These will be as-published," Larsen posted on Facebook. "Both will be black and white, and include all pages as published. This is as close as most of you will ever come to owning these classic (and quite expensive) books."

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Larsen has always considered Savage Dragon #1, the Image Comics miniseries, to be the true first appearance of the character most closely associated with him. Since that comic (and other Image firsts of the '90s) enjoyed such a massive print run, though, speculators have often turned to the Graphic Fantasy issues as the Holy Grail of Savage Dragon stories. They generally sell for upwards of $2,000, while an ungraded copy of the character's '90s debut can be bought for about cover price.

When we joked whether the decision to bring Paul into Savage Dragon would make the Graphic Fantasy stories less valuable, since it was now clear he wasn't Dragon, Larsen parried back, "If anything, it makes those appearances MORE valuable because they are clearly canon--and they absolutely ARE in continuity and DO matter. Hell, they're even being referred to in footnotes."

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You can contact your comics retailer to pre-order copies of the Graphic Fantasy #1 and #2 facsimile editions.