In today's Savage Dragon #218, Erik Larsen's long-running creator-owned series became the first major American comic book to address the election of Donald Trump to the office of the President of the United States.
The reaction, provided by series lead Malcolm Dragon?
"We are so f---ed."
Given Trump's rabid and vocal support online, and Larsen's long history of stirring up political storms (Savage Dragon has seen God and the Devil fight; Dragon once punched out George Bush on the cover of a comic; and on and on), the response is likely to be loud -- but Larsen assures readers, that line would have been there if Hillary Clinton had been elected, too.
"That page was the last to go out," Larsen told ComicBook.com. "I knew I was covering the election but I wasn’t sure how it’d go. No matter who had won, the reaction would have been essentially the same—we’re f---ed."
The election is only really relevant on the comic's last page -- and even then, it's more an exclamation point on the issue, which ends with the characters in a bit of a bleak place to start with. There was, at one point, a time when he considered making it more a part of the issue's story, but there just wasn't the room.
"I was going to have two time-traveling assassins show up—one from a future where Clinton took office and one from a reality where Trump did and in both realities things just went to hell," Larsen told us. "But logistically, it was problematic, and I simply didn’t have the space."
Larsen said that when he was growing up, he always enjoyed seeing the President show up in The Incredible Hulk.
"It seemed like there was a presidential portrait of sorts with every new administration," Larsen said. "I’ve made it a point to do that as well and I kind of wanted to just get it out of the way."
Of course, with Savage Dragon having been set in Chicago since its beginning, the Obama presidency was a little more "present" than previous administrations had been, right up to an issue where Dragon (not Malcolm, but his father, who used to be the series lead) met the President.
To the question of whether Trump will play a big role in the series going forward, Larsen as yet has no answer.
"I’m in a 'wait and see' mode on that. Definitely in the run up to the election there was some serious race baiting and tensions were super high. The guy has been on nearly every side of every issue, so it’s really hard to know what to expect from him as a commander-in-chief," Larsen said. He said that if he perceives Trump as a particularly poor President, he would feel obliged to address that in-story, but if the next four years are relatively unremarkable they probably won't make it into the comic, concluding, "You never know. If Trump’s presidency is at all significant I might touch on it again."
For more on this (and more commentary on the actual substance of Savage Dragon #218), check back later today. You can check out preview pages from the issue in the attached image gallery.
You can get Savage Dragon #218 at your local comic store today, or buy a digital copy here.