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Legendary dragons through the years

ANN/THE STAR – Happy Year of the Dragon! Known for its legendary status, the dragon frequently appears in pop culture, including comic books.

Found in both Western and Eastern comics, dragons often play significant roles, showcasing their power and importance in various stories. Here are a few favourites:

GREAT RED DRAGON (BONE)

Jeff Smith’s Bone, a comic book released in 1991, spanned approximately 55 issues until 2004.

The Great Red Dragon is a guardian of The Valley that lead character Fone Bone and his cousin Smiley end up in while helping their other cousin, the greedy and selfish Phoncible P ‘‘Phoney’’ Bone, who was being run out of their home, Boneville. The dragon is an ancient, kindly creature who not only acts as a sort of guardian angel to Fone Bone, but also plays a major part in the overall series.

The Eisner award-winning Bone revolves around the three cartoon-like Bones, who end up in the fantasy land called The Valley, which the Lord of the Locusts and his Rat Creatures are trying to take over.

They then meet all sorts of monsters and characters, including a mysterious and beautiful girl named Thorn and her grandmother, and of course, the Great Red Dragon.

Great Red Dragon from Bone. PHOTO: THE STAR
Shenron from Dragon Ball. PHOTO: THE STAR
Savage Dragon. PHOTO: THE STAR
Kaido from One Piece. PHOTO: THE STAR

KAIDO (ONE PIECE)

In the enduring manga One Piece, Kaido is recognised as a pirate “Emperor” renowned for his immense power. Having eaten the Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit, Kaido is able to transform into the form of a giant, serpentine dragon that can fly, is incredibly strong, and can even shoot an energy beam from his mouth.

It eventually took the awakening of Luffy’s Gomu Gomu devil fruit into a mythical fruit of its own to defeat Kaido, a feat that promoted Luffy to the status of Emperor as well.

There’s also another Dragon in the series – Luffy’s father Monkey D Dragon is also the son of Marines veteran Monkey D Garp, and is the leader of the revolutionary army, which is now finally making its move in the final arc of the manga.

LOCKHEED (X-MEN)

Is Lockheed truly a dragon? Well, this enduring ally and friend of Kitty Pryde does bear a striking resemblance to a small purple dragon, so suppose he qualifies as one. Lockheed, whom Kitty named after the SR-71 Lockheed Blackbird jet plane, is actually a member of an alien race called “The Flock”.

Kitty met him when they were both captured by The Brood, and they not only became good friends, but he also became an integral part of the X-Men.

Besides the X-Men, Lockheed has even been part of super-teams like Excalibur, the Agents of SWORD, and, of course, the Pet Avengers!

There are also other dragons in the Marvel universe, of course, and Marvel.com also recently published a handy graphic of the more notable ones, which you can see below.

SAVAGE DRAGON

He’s big, he’s green, he’s super strong, and he has a large fin on his head. Kurr Dragon, aka The Savage Dragon, is one of the most recognisable Image Comics superheroes around, and is probably second only to Spawn in terms of his popularity.

Found in a burning field, suffering from amnesia, Savage Dragon later joined the police force to fight against an organisation called the Vicious Circle and its army of “superfreaks”.

It was only in 2005 that creator Erik Larsen decided to reveal Dragon’s origin story, that he used to be an evil tyrant leader of a nomadic race of aliens.

He had wanted to wipe out humankind and claim Earth as his race’s new planet, but two of his scientists conspired to erase his memory and exiled him to Earth.

Savage Dragon is one of only two titles from Image’s original lineup in 1992 that is still being published (the other one is Spawn, obviously).

It is also the only one that is still written and drawn by its creator, making it the longest tenure a writer and artist has had on a single ongoing Western comic book.

SHENRON (DRAGON BALL)

Funnily enough, the lead characters of Dragon Ball aren’t even ‘dragons’. The titular ‘Dragon Ball’ refers to the seven orbs that were introduced in the beginning of the manga.

In case you haven’t heard of Dragon Ball before (where have you been all this while and why are you reading a column about comics then?), the long-running franchise began as a manga by Akira Toriyama back in 1984, and revolves around lead character Son Goku, who is inspired by Sun Wukong of Journey To The West.

In the beginning, a child Goku meets Bulma, who convinces him to go on a quest to gather the seven Dragon Balls, a set of orbs that summons the wish-granting dragon Shenron (ah there’s the dragon, finally!).

Shenron is a giant dragon that only appears when all seven Dragon Balls are gathered in one place, and he can grant one wish to whomever summons him that way.

There are several rules to these wishes though – the wish cannot be granted if its power is greater than Shenron’s, and he can only bring a person back to life once, and even then, only if that person did not die of natural causes. Once the wishes are granted, the balls are turned into stone and scattered across the planet.

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