By Benjamin Nobel, January 9, 2016
Few collectors I talk to actually realize that the “Savage Dragon” incarnation of Erik Larsen’s popular superhero (published by Image Comics since 1992) was not the first incarnation of that character. The true first appearance was not in Megaton #3 either (for me this information was a shocker when I first learned it…) but rather in Graphic Fantasy #1 self-published by Erik Larsen under Ajax Comics in 1982!
Yes indeed, the superhero we know today as Savage Dragon first appeared as The Dragon in Graphic Fantasy #1. And the story of just how unaware the comic collecting community is about this book, not to mention how misinformed about the facts, is absolutely fascinating to me, and I hope you will find it fascinating as well.
The tale of Graphic Fantasy #1 is the tale of a comic so rare that it has practically eluded the industry and collectors. It was years before CGC actually saw and graded a copy of Graphic Fantasy #1, and it then credited the book with The Dragon’s first appearance. CGC also “demoted” Megaton #3 after having previously credited that book with Savage Dragon’s first appearance for a decade!
I have determined that Graphic Fantasy #1 is so rare, that it is actually the single lowest print run first appearance of any major modern comic book superhero (and not by a little, by a lot). The fact that so few collectors actually seem to know of this comic’s existence is all on account of its extreme rarity. That extreme rarity has led to a lot of incomplete, conflicting, and outright misinformation out there about it online because nobody had actually gotten their hands on one.
The dearth of information — and outright misinformation — about Graphic Fantasy #1 ends now! Or at least that is my goal 🙂 … please read on as I discuss the fascinating tale of Graphic Fantasy #1!