Jim Lawson has drawn more pages of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters than any other comics artist, including Eastman and Laird. He drew the first volume of Tales of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a healthy chunk of the original volume of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (including the last 15 issues) and the entirety of volumes 2 and 4, in addition to some of Archie Comics' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures...and a syndicated newspaper comic strip featuring the characters.
At this point, one might think Lawson would be sick of drawing anthropomorphic turtle men, which is why I was so surprised to find out that the main character in Lawson's self-published (through Kickstarter) graphic novel Dragonfly is...an anthropomorphic turtle man.
I guess when you've been drawing them for so long, it gets to be a hard habit to break?
This turtle man isn't necessarily teenage or ninja, and it's unclear whether or not he's a mutant. His name is John, and Lawson distinguishes him from his other turtle men in little ways (John has four fingers rather than three, and three forward facing toes, rather than two) and big ways (his head is much more fully articulated and human-looking).
In addition to a walking, talking turtle, Dragonfly has another thing Lawson apparently loves to draw in it: Dinosaurs.
All three characters have no idea who they are or how they got here, and, the next morning, things get more mysterious still, when Dragonfly apparently re-grows her lost arm in her sleep. They all assign each other names until they can remember their own, and set about trying to figure out their situation.
New players quickly enter, including two cute little aliens, Plak and Ploo. They explain that they were part of the crew assigned to transfer the three—and a fourth character—to this artificial replica of prehistoric Earth, sans their memories, per the request of their client, of whom they can't say anything.
As for the fourth, he is an apparent Edward Cullen parody named Edgar, whose true vampiric form is a rather bizarre alien form, but, when in front of Dragonfly, he typically looks like a handsome young man in tight black clothes...or as handsome a young man as Lawson's style allows for.
Lawson's Edgar is just as exaggerated, the muscles bulging and the joints shrinking...tracing a line around the characters Lawson creates in them result in something akin to a jittery electrocardiogram.
His dinosaurs are, of course, top-notch. These seem slightly toned-down from the highly-realistic ones that populated his Paleo series, but not by much. In addition to the raptors, there are plenty of pterosaurs, including a Quetzalcoatlus, and a Tyrannosaur, which Edgar fights and kills in a pair of hand-to-hand battles.
Lawson-drawn Turtle Man Comparative Anatomy:
|Lawson draws Michaelangelo falling in 2002's TMNT Vol. 4 #2 (with inks and tones by Peter Laird).|
|Lawson draws John falling, in 2013's Dragonfly.|