Team-ups are nothing new for superheroes, but it’s always a treat to see unexpected combinations come together to shake things up. Starting in April, readers of Erik Larsen’s long-running Savage Dragon book will be in for a treat with the meeting of the eponymous Dragon and two of the most exciting creator-owned character of recent years. Those characters—The Red Hook and Luna—created by Dean Haspiel and Dave Kelly & Brett Hobson, respectively, are no strangers to fantastical stories that bring their characters together, but this is the first time that The Red Hook and Luna—protectors of Brooklyn—meet up with Larsen’s dragon.
The resulting story, “Bride of Wax,” debuts as a back-up feature in Savage Dragon #259, which comes out this April. It’s an exciting tale, filled with twists and turns. Readers will definitely want to check it out when the first issues drops this spring. Here’s a description of the three-part back-up story, which is written by Haspiel and Kelly, illustrated by Hobson, colored by Tom Napolitano, and lettered by DC Hopkins:
Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon teams up with Dean Haspiel’s The Red Hook and Dave Kelly & Brett Hobson’s Luna (Brooklyn’s first female superhero) to save Valentine’s Day in “Bride of Wax,” a three-part story running in the back of Savage Dragon #259-261. In this modern ode to romance and monster comics of the 1950s, The Red Hook must help a retired supervillain bring the woman of his dreams to life–and the only way to do it is with the blood of the original Dragon himself.
Check out a preview, exclusive to The Beat, of the second installment of the back-up story below, as well as an exclusive interview with Haspiel and Kelly about the epic team up!
AJ FROST: The “Bride of Wax” story pairs The Red Hook, Luna, and Savage Dragon in an epic team-up! Tell me about the genesis of the story?
DEAN HASPIEL: When we decided to conceive a crossover story between my Red Hook, our Luna, and Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon, I leaned on Dave to take a first crack at the plot and he delivered a fully-formed story that didn’t need much tweaking. In a way, I performed more as an editor than co-plotter. He did a really good job figuring out how to make a pre-New Brooklyn Red Hook collaborate with a now-dead Savage Dragon and a fairly new Luna while bouncing between time zones. As authors, we often hold on tight to our creations but Dave has proven to be a worthy custodian of other people’s characters.
DAVE KELLY: Dean and I released a crossover between Tales of the Night Watchman and The Red Hook last year. We wanted to do another one ASAP, because doing crossovers is pretty much the funnest thing you can do in comics. Since Red Hook first appeared in a backup story in Savage Dragon #217, it seemed like a no-brainer to take him back to that book and do something he’s never done, meet Dragon himself.
FROST: What do you both find so exciting about bringing characters from different universes together for crossovers? From a creative perspective, what are the challenges and opportunities of this storytelling technique?
KELLY: The best part for me is hearing about a character from the perspective of its creator. I’ve been a Savage Dragon fan since the ’90s, but there’s a lot you don’t know if you haven’t read every single issue, and not knowing Erik Larsen prior to this, it was very eye-opening to hear his rules for writing and drawing Dragon. The fin is key. Going back to the first crossover I did with Dean, I’ll never forget the time he called me up specifically to tell me that Red Hook does not eat clam strips. Details are important, and you need to make sure that the communication is good so that everyone gets what they want out of it.
In my heart of hearts, all indie superheroes exist in a shared universe, because why not? And Savage Dragon is the nexus of that shared universe. Almost anyone who’s anyone has dropped in: The Turtles, Invincible, Madman, Hellboy. The list is long, and it feels awesome that a few of my characters got to be a part of that.
HASPIEL: To echo Dave, the fan in me also digs the notion of most indie heroes sharing the same universe. We love it when it happens in our DC, Marvel, and Archie comics, why not extend that spirit to the peanut gallery? Everyone knows we’re shoving squares into circles, let’s have some fun with it. In fact, Dave and I already cooked up a third crossover that will be just as bananas.
FROST: Why did you pick the Valentine’s Day theme?
HASPIEL: I think Dave knows most of my personal comix center around matters of the heart and an easy way to have all three major characters in different eras deal with the complications of love was to have the story take place on Valentine’s Day. I mean, who hasn’t tried to build a dedicated lover out of magic clay?
KELLY: I don’t know about you, but I love Valentine’s Day. The story is about love, and the happiness love can offer you, even if it’s unconventional.
FROST: After readers are done with the Savage Dragon arc, where can they check out your stuff?
KELLY: Right now, it’s best to reach out to Anyone Comics in Brooklyn, NY, and Comix Revolution in Evanston, IL for Tales of the Night Watchman. The one-shot “The Untold Legend of Luna” is the de facto prequel to “Bride of Wax.”
HASPIEL: Fans of The Red Hook should check out my latest story, BLACKOUT, The Red Hook season 4, for free on the Webtoon App. You are encouraged to read the first three seasons, as well as pick up the first two print volumes published by Image Comics. And if you’d like to read a special Red Hook story I did during the first wave of the pandemic, pick up PANDEMIX: Quarantine Comics in the Age of ‘Rona, an anthology I co-edited to benefit artists in need via The Hero Initiative for only five bucks.
Published by Image Comics, Savage Dragon #259, which features the “Bride of Wax” back-up, will be released in comic shops April 14, 2021.