During the 1980s, Image Comics introduced a series that is one of the longest running American full-color comic books to feature a single artist/writer. It starred a superheroic police officer named the Dragon, do you know what series this was?
Savage Dragon, created by Erik Larsen, made his debut appearance in Graphic Fantasy #1 (June 1982). Like many of Larsen’s comic characters, the Savage Dragon was initially dreamt up while he was a child in elementary school. The original Dragon drew inspiration from characters such as Captain Marvel, Batman, Speed Racer, and The Incredible Hulk. He is a large, green-skinned humanoid who has superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and an accelerated healing factor. The Dragon was discovered by Lieutenant Frank Darling in a burning field in Chicago, suffering from amnesia. As such, for most of the initial series the Dragon’s powers and appearance remained a mystery.
His superhuman abilities made him an asset in battling the mutant criminal “superfreaks” that were terrorizing Chicago. After being made a full officer of the Chicago Police Department, the Dragon was often loaned out to other police forces to help them in dealing with superpowered criminals. While assisting the New York Police Department, the Dragon found himself continually teaming up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. During the Image Comics 10th Anniversary hardcover book, released in November 2005, the Dragon’s origin was finally revealed.
It turns out that Dragon was actually Emperor Kurr, leader of an alien race searching for a new planet to inhabit. After discovering Earth, he intended to eradicate the humans and take the planet for his own people. However, upon discovering his plan, two of his top scientists conspired against him. They erased his memory and filled his brain with knowledge of Earth’s current events. As his race searched for a planet elsewhere, he was left on Earth where he was later discovered by Lieutenant Darling.
In addition to a long-running comic series, the character was also adapted into an animated series – which ran for two seasons in 1995. This series featured Jim Cummings as the Dragon, along with Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Jennifer Hale, René Auberjonois, Frank Welker, Dawnn Lewis, Paul Eiding, Peter Cullen, Rob Paulsen, Robert Ito, and Tony Jay.