As much as I love Peter Bagge, by the sixth issue of something from him I know that here will be a cranky and cynical guy complaining about minor things in life. An I tell you what, thats why I read it. I read different books for different reasons. I don't want Savage Dragon to be Daniel Clowes Wilson to be Chew to be Preacher.
By the way, I don't see Savage Dragon as a serious book. If you started reading with the Emperor Dragon or Dragon War arcs, you might get the impression. But over its course of 18 years, it has had a lot of funny, silly and yes, zany moments.
And again, I love Bagges work, but as a whole, Savage Dragon has shown way more diversity than Bagges output.
True, SD has shown more diversity. That's mainly due to Bagge's own fault. Bagge created his characters before Image was even formed and has produced significantly fewer comics than Erik. I still like the Buddy Bradley comics though. I liked how Buddy was a loner slacker who didn't get along well with his own family, found himself exaggerating the intensity of his real life problems, found out his Miss Right was the social nutcase who had personality problems, and became a normal person in the end. That and many other things about Buddy's stories I could connect with.
If I read superhero comics, it's mostly pre-Frank Miller, Watchmen, Wolverine, and Punisher popularity era. Most of my superhero comics are from the 60s and 70s. And the ones from the 80s I have mostly resemble the zany comics of the previous decades, like West Coast Avengers. If you've read a lot the comics from the 60s and 70s, and even prior to that you'd probably be able to understand why I think SD is serious and much less zany than the old school comics.
Sure, in issues 55-58, when Dragon is in William, and he's trying to fight with the cape on and finds out it's hampering his ability to fight and he wonders how caped heroes like Batman do it, that's pretty funny. Or in issue 88, when Dragon is beating the living crap out of Thor with his own hammer in 88. Or in issue 105, when Dragon's in Rock's diner, talking with the comic book guy about how Marvel and DC lack creativity and how it's frustrating to read an important even in a comic only to have some other dude kill it off a few months later. That's pretty cool. But when Dart gets her head punched out by accident and at the end Dragon says, "He killed her, Sara. Dart's dead." and he ends it like that, that sort of lacks the zanyness and becomes serious and moody.
The same could be said for what I like to call the Search for Jennifer Saga. Dragon spends issue after issue searching for her, getting the reader amped up for what will happen when Dragon finds her, then we find out his daughter killed Jennifer when Glum ruled the world, and his kid exits with Glum. I remember thinking, "What the hell, Larsen? You get us all excited for Dragon to find Jennifer then you end the search on a fizzle and on a moody note. Who are you John Byrne?" Because that's exactly the type of stuff Byrne does. He gets people excited for some interesting plot development, then ends things with a abruptly with a fizzle, as if it was never important. And Erik seems to do the occasional Byrne with SD.
I'm not saying SD should be more like Clowes or Buddy Bradley stories. But give me more to think about. There seems to be a gruesome fight in every issue and a lot of it seems unnecessary. I like the fight in the diner in 106, but it wasn't necessary. I would have preferred for Dragon to keep talking and discussing. The same with issue 106. If that issue had been a comedy without fighting, that would have been more interesting. But I guess my biggest peeve is those villains in those stories didn't add anything to the Dragon storyline, and seemed to be unnecessarily thrown in.
I apologize if I appear to be going around in circles. I just would like to see a Dragon issue where everything is mellow, relax, non-violent. When I used to lurk here, there was a dude called Paul John Little and he said that liberal arts majors tend to be more critical of the stories we read, since he was one like me. Where is that guy? I admired his frank, brutally honest take on the comic book industry. Where is B Clay Moore? Where is rentawebguy?