In next month's Savage Dragon #227, Malcolm and Maxine Dragon, along with their kids, depart the Windy City and head to the Big Smoke in pursuit of a serious change and brighter future ahead.
That’s right, after over 20 years in Chicago, Savage Dragon will be moving to Toronto, Canada in hopes of giving his family a new lease on life.
Of course not everything is going to be plates of poutine and visits to Carousel Bakery, as Malcolm has a new frontier as well as new villains to face off against. Newsarama chatted with Savage Dragon creator and Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen about the Dragons’ big move up north and how it all begins in August 30's #226.
Newsarama: Erik, the Dragons will decide to move north in this month's Savage Dragon #226 for the new arc "Oh! Canada" to begin in September's #227. Malcolm, Maxine and their children escaping to Toronto... well, is 'escaping' even the right word here or is it more 'relocating'?
Erik Larsen: It’s a bit of both. After the recent alien attacks and invasions and damage - Trump signs an executive order outlawing extraterrestrials. So Malcolm is looking at either life in Dimension-X, living life as an outlaw, or leaving the country. Given the option, Toronto sounds like the place to be.
Nrama: Can you talk about what led to this decision from taking the Dragons out of Chicago after so long?
Larsen: A lot of people give that knee-jerk "I’m moving to Canada if XXX gets elected” and that got me thinking about the possibilities. The last election was so caustic and divisive that it really lent itself to the kind of toxic environment that might necessitate such a move but I didn’t want him just cowardly running away - it needed to be more than that. And getting to build a new supporting cast, rogues gallery and world appealed to me. It’s nice to reinvent the wheel every so often. It keeps things interesting.
Nrama: So with this relocation, what will happen to characters like Malcolm's half-siblings Kevin and Masha? Will they be featured at all?
Larsen: That remains to be seen. Marsha has fallen in with Freak Force and they’ll be filling the void created when Malcolm vacates Chicago. As for Kevin - well, things aren’t going his way and he might make the move as well. There are a few people that will likely relocate.
Nrama: What kind of research have you done on Toronto so far?
Larsen: I’ve done a bunch of reading and cruising around in Google Maps. Somebody sent me a nicely put together map and location guide with notes on locations, good and bad. I’m still trying to determine which neighborhood (or, rather, neighbourhood) is ideal for them to live in. There are a lot of details still up in the air for me.
Nrama: So with this new home, Malcolm faces new challenges as well. What can you tell us about his new villain, the Seeker?
Larsen: The Seeker was a character that Malcolm’s father fought a couple times who was last seen in the icy north. He’s been something of a mystery man and I wanted to give that some closure. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There’ll be a ton of new supporting characters and villains.
Nrama: Have you felt any anti-Trump backlash with your Savage Dragon #226 cover featuring the U.S. President in such light?
Larsen: Not a huge amount. There have been a few vocal people on Facebook but it’s been pretty mild. I’ve tried to tell people to wait and see before drawing a conclusion.
Nrama: Who will be the Dragons' new friends be in Toronto, if anybody at all, or are they truly alone in their new adventure?
Larsen: That remains to be seen. There’ll be new people introduced as they settle in for the long haul in addition to a couple other people who move up for much the same reason.
Nrama: Would you ever consider taking the Dragons out of North America entirely?
Larsen: Doubtfully for the long haul. It would get too complicated dealing with other languages and language barriers. I can see a vacation somewhere but I wouldn’t want to have to have things translated and such.
Nrama: What do you think of the mentality that comic books shouldn't be political? I mean, Savage Dragon has had some zany moments, but they’re still grounded in reality, but there's this sweeping notion that political alignments or agendas have no place in them.
Larsen: You might as well argue that politics don’t belong in movies, magazines, books and newspapers. Of course they belong in comics. They might not be appropriate in every comic book - I don’t think Scooby Doo or Bugs Bunny need to address the latest political happenings but comics have always had some level of political discourse. Captain America was slugging a foreign leader on the cover of his first issue long before America was involved in World War II - and while some American companies were backing and aiding the Nazi party. Yes, politics can be divisive and readers can get turned off from a book that doesn’t fit with their world view but so what? Not every book is for every reader. That’s a given regardless. There should be no limits put on comic books by anybody.