The Fairer Sex: Erik Larsen talks "She-Dragon"

Tue, December 21st, 2004 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

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She-Dragon has tried hard to be a hero but she usually screws it up. The Savage Dragon is usually there to save her. However, this coming February in "She-Dragon" from Image Comics, a one-shot by Erik Larsen and Franchesco, She-Dragon is thrown into the nightmarish Dimension X and no one is coming to rescue her. She must learn to save herself. CBR News spoke to Larsen about the comic, the character of She-Dragon and the effects the one-shot will have on upcoming issues of "The Savage Dragon."

The character of She-Dragon began as a parody of Marvel Comics "She Hulk." She-Hulk often broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to readers, while She-Dragon hears voices that are presumably readers speaking to her. "She mostly started out as kind of a ditsy, valley girl that was very sick and was given powers by a guy named, The Creator, who immediately lost interest in her after having her do some adventures," The Image Comics publisher explained to CBR News by phone. "And then it was like, 'Uh, uh. Forget you. You're just not that cool.' And he kind of abandoned her and went on to concentrate on some of his other creations. She ended up kind of becoming attached to the Savage Dragon."

The "She-Dragon" one-shot came together when Franchesco told Larsen he would like to draw a story featuring some of the characters from the Savage Dragon universe. Franchesco was specific in what characters he wanted to draw which helped Larsen in crafting the story. "He wanted She-Dragon and another thing he wanted to draw was Malcom, The Dragon's son," Larsen said. "At the time he had talked to me about it, She-Dragon wasn't yet in Dimension X. So it was this thing for me I've got to get She-Dragon into Dimension X so she can come into contact with Malcom. There you go that's part of a story right there. That's a good starting point."

The way the story came together gave Larsen a chance to redefine and reexamine the character of She-Dragon. "She has not really been particularly competent in the comics of late," Larsen explained. "So, what this will do is give me an opportunity to take her from the rest of the cast and kind of have her come into her own. Become really confident and effective, which she has not been and I can do that in the course of this. So, more than anything this is going define and spell out the next evolutionary step for the character which hopefully will be every bit as cool if not cooler than anything that has gone on before."

She-Dragon's growth as a hero will in part be due to the variety of threats she faces as she journeys through Dimension X. "We wanted to take her and put her through a lot of different kinds of situations and that's one thing that Dimension X can kind of lend itself too," Larsen said. "It's a knockoff of The Negative Zone or The Phantom Zone or whatever kind of zone you got. It's one of those where she can literally go from one kind of world to another kind of world. We, as readers, can see her going through different places, learning things and coming into contact with different sorts of people and creatures and stuff like that and come out of it bigger, faster and stronger."

Larsen promises that "She-Dragon" will deliver the same thrills and laughs that "The Savage Dragon" regularly does. "My stuff generally varies from being incredibly savage and severe and hair raising to being absolutely ridiculous. So it kind of goes in my usual way like that where, when people get hurt there are lasting repercussions that are severe. But at same time that doesn't mean that the hero might not slip on some guts on the way out of there. Its fun for the whole family."

You don't have to be a long time "Savage Dragon" fan to enjoy "She-Dragon," said Larsen who always tries to be new reader friendly. "There will be at the very least a lengthy 'what the heck you need to know' sort of thing on the inside front cover to get people started. I don't want people to be baffled out of their mind. And being that its a essentially a first issue, the story will have enough sort of recapping of her life that you can just get caught up to speed on who she is and what she's done and everything else."

Larsen recommends a number of stories for fans looking to catch up on She-Dragon's adventures and for fans that read "She-Dragon" and want more. "She-Dragon pretty well took over the regular 'Savage Dragon' comic beginning with issue 51 and sort of was in place there and around for the 5-6 issues that followed," said Larsen. The writer also recommends issue 117 of "Savage Dragon," which sets up the events in "She-Dragon." "117 is certainly the most recent self contained kind of issue," he explained. "Where you can just grab that one, go, 'Well this gives me everything I need to know in terms of how she got into Dimension X in the first place.' So its all there."

"Savage Dragon" fans will want to pick up "She-Dragon" because the events in the book will directly affect upcoming issues of Dragon. Mr.Glum, a two foot tall alien despot whose main ambitions are killing the Savage Dragon and world domination, is the one who hurled She-Dragon into Dimension X. "He's like, 'She's out of here. She's caught in this deadly dimension. I don't have to worry about her anymore,'" said Larsen. "Meanwhile, while she's in Dimension X, Mr.Glum takes over the world. So, when she comes out again Dragon is going to need her to be able to help takedown Glum once and for all."

"She-Dragon" may hold a cover price of $5.95, but Larsen guarantees that the book will be worth it. "It's going to bitch'en stuff," he said. "Franchesco is doing a dynamite job. If you like the cover there's plenty more of the same on the inside. We're also going to run all the layouts that I give him in the book. You can check out what he had to work with in various stages. It's a cool project and I'm looking forward to seeing it out and he is, too."

 
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