SAVAGE DRAGON: "Deadly Serious Superhero...Biting Parody"

Inside SAVAGE DRAGON W/ Erik Larsen

Newsarama Note: This column runs regularly on Blog@. While it's down for mainenance, we're going to run it as scheduled right here. Thanks to Russell and Comic Related for the share.

This month, Blog@Newsarama and Comic Related welcome Gavin Higginbotham, whom Erik Larsen identifies as a Savage Dragon super-fan. He'll fill in some of the continuity and history shortcomings that I have. That said, we're going to stop using the "CR" and "Blog@" tags for the interview, opting instead for the names and initials of those involved in the roundtable. Newsarama Note: We'll be reverting to our standard of last names while it's posted here

Gavin’s first contribution to the column? Well, aside from the questions below, he pointed out for myself and other newer readers, “after I read the issue for the first time I emailed Erik to confirm the identities of the two Dragon-ized Circle guys that were killed. It was Super-X (who first debuted way back in the Savage Dragon/Megaton Man special as a teammate of She-Dragon) and the actor from the razor advert in Savage Dragon #64, Randy Ruthless.”

Russell Burlingame: That prison guard—what a heroic moron. Superhero comics live and die on this trope—what do you think would happen if the good guys didn’t always announce their intentions? I mean, it would at least have to diminish the odds of Mutation avoiding his shot if he didn’t tell her he was going to take it?

Erik Larsen: I know what you mean but my take was that his words accompanied his action--that he was already taking that shot at the time. I took something of a creative license there--I don't know that anybody would actually talk in such a situation but for the sake of clarity I wanted readers to be reminded about the "Freak Out"  drug which had been introduced in an earlier issue and that seemed less clumsy than a footnote.

Burlingame: Are we going to see how Flash Mercury was taken under The Circle’s wing?

Larsen: No. I have to take some shorthand in order to make everything work in "real time" and often that means implying things instead of showing things. If I filled in every little gap we'd still be back at year two instead of year 18. If it becomes important--we'll touch on it again but at this point all that's really important to know is that he's bought what they're selling.

Burlingame: With a gaggle of Dragons running around, and now Overlord competing for “powered suit/super-robot” supremacy with RRR, upcoming fight scenes appear to be just chock full of potential for real estate damage! A bunch of people with comparable, and spectacularly high, power levels pummeling the crap out of each other—is the “mega-fight” from two issues ago going to look pretty tame by the time we’re done here?

Larsen: It's going to get pretty hairy before we're done. I won't say when and with whom but there will be serious damage done.

Burlingame: Urass is very astute in his judging of the situation; is what’s happening with Dragon pretty well established in the story’s universe, or is he making some very good guesses here?

Larsen: It's largely a matter of public record. But part is him laying the blame on Dragon and covering for the Darkworld Dragon who was very much to blame for the fight between the two.  Urass doesn't have the whole picture--not entirely. He's assuming that Dragon has no soul and conscious--when in fact he has reverted to his Emperor Kurr persona which existed prior to Dragon being found in a burning field back in issue one. He isn't aware of Dragon's motivation here.

Burlingame: And, on that note, will having someone with a little sociopolitical pull, who “gets” what’s going on with Kurr, lend itself to helping give Overlord and the other freaks who are trying to put on a less threatening face some legitimacy?

Larsen: Well, sure. Another big part of this issue also is to throw a few more hats into the suspect ring when it comes to Overlord's identity. There have been a few folks who have singled out characters like R. Richard Richards, Ronald Winston Urass and whatnot as suspects and I thought it was important to bring some of these guys back into the spotlight a bit so readers can try and figure things out.

Gavin Higginbotham: The big, fat guy that Richards went to meet was the same guy from Savage Dragon #17 and that that scene was recycled from that issue. It led into the introduction of the original Dragon-Slayer. Following on from your discussion about Urass and Richards and OverLord, could we be seeing Richards actually don the new Dragon-Slayer creation and wear it as a suit of armor?

Larsen: Redrawing scenes like this is a way of poking longtime readers and setting them up for what's coming up. With this Dragon War story I wanted to get all of the various Dragon-related characters together in one place and have them mix it up. Since R. Richard Richards was back in circulation it seemed a good time to pull a Dragon-Slayer out of the mothballs. But I'm not going to say just what this new and improved version looks like just yet. I'd like to save something for the next issue.

Burlingame: The Norman/Luthor scene is inspired. Not really a question, just an observation that it—and particularly the “wearing a dead man’s armor” quip—made me giggle like a schoolgirl.

Larsen: Savage Dragon as a book, carefully walks the line between a deadly serious superhero comic with devastating repercussions and a biting parody. It's been a while between bits like this.

Burlingame: An interesting development with Brawn: Did he literally bleed Dragon’s blood out—as in, it doesn’t integrate itself into the bloodstream of these hybrids but remains segregated and can be removed? Or was it just a time thing—that he literally couldn’t play host to Kurr’s DNA for long?

Larsen: I don't see this as being a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Each person has had a different reaction to some extent and they're being carefully monitored at this point so that no more of these guys explode. With Brawn the idea was that he was simply too powerful for Dragon's blood to cause him to burst into a bloody pulp. So it came out any way it could.

Higginbotham: Although one of the power gloves has been destroyed, will Kurr be wielding the other? Or something along those lines?

Larsen: Well, the other's still out there, to be sure.

Burlingame: With Malcolm looking for Angel and Angel riding off into the Sunset with Golden Age Daredevil, is that something that’s going to bring the drama of their relationship to a head soon or will that wait until after Kurr’s spree is done?

Larsen: You'll have to wait and see for that one, my friend.

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