Malcolm Dragon is coming into his own as Canada’s latest superhero, but Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen isn’t going to go easy on the family man hero. In this week's Savage Dragon #235, Malcolm is introduced to a brand-new baddie: Buffalo Stu... but that is just the start of the unusual evildoers Larsen has planned.
Larsen spoke to Newsarama about the upcoming line up of villains, as well as the Dragon Kids issue that comes up next and how the Dragon Family is adaptting to the Great White North as well the possibility of a Justin Trudeau cameo.
Newsarama: Okay Erik, what's on the drawing board today?
Erik Larsen: Savage Dragon #237. Introducing a new villain - the Scourge.
Nrama: Now in #235 you've given Malcolm another villain to fight against: Buffalo Stu. What can you tell us about Stu? He has this classic Spider-Man rogue feel.
Larsen: With Buffalo Stu I wanted to do one of those classic Marvel villain tropes but rather than have it be a man-turned-part-animal, it's an animal-turned-part-man. This is all part of setting things up for more potential stories down the road. A lot of what I do is plant seeds and
then see what grows. A lot of things which seem very simple and straightforward when I start off blossomed and became something else entirely. It's a lot of the fun of creating an ongoing book. You can can have things evolve over time.
Nrama: Speaking of which, you're slowly but surely building this insane roster of bad guys for Malcolm, you did this for so long with his dad, but do you feel like it's different when coming up with for foes with Malcolm when it comes to matching his character?
Larsen: It's all different. The whole set-up is different and his approach is very different.
In a way it's like Invincible if we had seen 170 issues of an Omni-Man comic. Malcolm has taken over from his dad but we've been able to see the transition - to see the character grow into the role. This has been exciting for me as a creator because this kind of hand-off has never really taken place in comics before - not with a lead character and not on an ongoing basis. Batman always went back to being Batman. Other hand-offs have always been a gimmick but this is ongoing and it won't be undone down the road. It's been such a joy to have unfold.
The characters have literally grown up with the readers. We saw Malcolm as an infant. We saw Angel and Maxine as kindergarteners. Twenty-six years have passed for the characters.
Nrama: It's been about a year since Malcolm moved to Toronto, do you feel like the Dragon family has adapted fairly well?
Larsen: Yeah. I like having a new playground. It still feels very new to me. I still feel like I've just gotten started, in a way, as villains haven't followed Malcolm up to Canada. I thought that would have been a bit too coincidental to have them show up so it's meant starting from scratch.
In that regard, I feel like I'm just getting started.
Nrama: Springboarding off that, with #236, you have a Dragon Kids adventure, the first of its kind, what made you want to do an issue like this?
Larsen: Just more love for various kinds of books, from Little Archie to Dennis the Menace, Calvin and Hobbes, and Superbaby. I'm probably jumping the gun a bit by having them in action when they're that young but it seemed like there was fun to be had. Writing the kids has been fun but it's somewhat problematic given the real time aspect.
Children really do grow up too fast. A speech impediment that a child has can be awesome to play with but the reality is--kids learn fast and having Amy mispronounce Jackson for more than a few issues is unrealistic. That part of it can get a bit frustrating as I realize that none of these things can stay as-is for long. It was fun to draw. There are 10 full pages of the kids in action with no parents in sight. I formatted their story as five double-page spreads, with panel configurations similar to Calvin & Hobbes Sunday pages. It really makes their part of the issue its own thing.
Nrama: Do you think you'll get to a Maxine-centric issue of the same nature?
Larsen: I'd like to - she doesn't have adventures the way Malcolm does, so it'd be pretty different. She's not getting into battles on a regular basis.
Nrama: You have this knack for pulling from real world events at times and putting them on the pages of Savage Dragon, will you address any policy from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? Maybe even a cameo?
Larsen: Quite possibly. It depends what I'm doing and what he's doing. Sometimes things come together in a nice way and there's story potential - other times there's not a lot there to play with.
Nrama: We've touched on new villains and with adapting to Canada, what do you think Malcolm's biggest challenge has been so far and can you give us a hint of what lies ahead?
Larsen: The biggest challenge is always just making things work. His wife just had another daughter and this one has Malcolm's electric powers, which means that Maxine can't handle her child without risking electrocution. She has other kids who can touch her, and a husband, but it's going to make her life difficult and it puts a lot more responsibility on Malcolm. He has to feed her and change her and so on.
It's just fun watching these characters grow and change. The book is always changing. That's the nature of the title - change. It's not locked in time as most books are. These characters grow up with you.