Dragonslayer, the comic book!

In case you haven't seen it, Paramount/Disney's 1981 fantasy movie Dragonslayer is a really good example of the genre that holds up surprisingly well for a movie that old. The effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic, all powered up from their recent Star Wars rise to supremacy, and long before they abandoned practical effects in favor of amateurish superfake computer-generated effects. The four-limbed (as opposed to sillier four-legs-plus-two-wings designs) design of the dragon is one of the best-looking dragons ever committed to film. It's definitely worth your popcorn.

Apparently, Marvel produced an authorized comic book novelization sort of thing that coincided with the release of the film. Bear in mind that this was quite a ways before you could buy the DVD within two months of seeing a movie in theaters. If you were twelve years old and your folks wouldn't pay to see the movie again and again, a comic bookification may not have seemed like a bad deal to spend your lunch money on.

The PAG Antique Store and Garage Sale Assault Force found this book and paid five big American dollars for it, which is double the cover price. Not a bad investment for thirty six years, if the original owner had chosen to retire on his or her shrewd paperback novelization profits.

Apart from the cover painting, the artist isn't credited anywhere in the book. This could lead us to assume that projects like this were mass-produced by a staff of artists an didn't receive the loving attention of one dedicated illustrator. Let's have a look inside.

On page four, we meet Galen, the hero of the story. He's a somewhat round-faced goof who's always getting into trouble with the Master's assistant, Hodge. Oh, that cranky old Hodge.

Thirty four pages and a week or so later, dramatically speaking, Galen is a square-jawed decathlete. It looks as though part of his apprenticeship to the wizard Ulrich may have involved building the castle they lived in.

That, or the artwork in the book may have been handled by more than one person with differing opinions about how Galen should look. Neither is the spitting image of Peter Macnicol, who played Galen in the film, and who you may remember from Ally Mcbeal.

What about Valerian, the love interest?

She, disguised as a boy for reasons that we won't spoil here, first appears on page eight, leading a group of villagers who come to Ulrich's castle, asking for help with their dragon problem. This isn't a bad likeness for the actress, Caitlyn Clark.

By page 140, she could be any generic Marvel heroine. Truly a magical transformation?

Maybe you identify with early-book Galen, always getting himself into mischief and having his ear tweaked by cranky old Hodge? You're in luck, because, we have a decent square crop of ear-tweak Galen for you to use as your online avatar or profile picture on whatever service you use to talk to other humans, for some reason. You're welcome!

Click for big.


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