EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW & PREVIEW: Image Comics' Erik Larsen Presents SAVAGE DRAGON #172
Published: July 29, 2011 - 1:55pm
Image has offered us a first look at the continuation Erik Larsen's premier superhero title Savage Dragon #172, which hits store shelves August 3, 2011, and a talk with the writer himself (who also happens to be one of the founders of the comic company).
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ENTER: WARREN TERROR!
Malcolm Dragon's life has been turned upside down, Becoming an instant celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be and he finds himself the target of mooches, freeloaders and unwanted attention, including that of a brand new villain! Enter: Warren Terror. PLUS: The beginning of a new VANGUARD backup serial by GARY CARLSON, FRANK FOSCO and ERIK LARSEN!
DB: One of the more recent developments in Savage Dragon is that the main characters now (Malcom and Angel) are teenagers. How did it, if at all, change your approach to writing the title? This question is especially in regards to serious material such as Warren Terror and his blanket characterization of Muslims.
EL: It is more naive and less-is-more in terms of the characters reacting to things. If Dragon were part of that equation, he would more likely be getting a little more background and a little more information on why this kind of precedence isn't a great thing and that in America your supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Those are core American values. The kids aren't really espousing that. It doesn't come to them quickly. It's not like as soon as the kids are in charge they're off fighting teenage supervillains. The same guys that are doing bad stuff before are going to be doing bad stuff again.
What makes it fun and fresh for me is that the kids keep changing the book. That's the nature of the way the title was set up years ago: as time goes on, things change. All this time when we were at Marvel or DC we were always like 'Wouldn't it be great if these characters grew up with me.' Had they been doing that the whole time, I'd be reading stories about Peter Parker's grandson, not just his daughter, because this would be the next generation after that because the character at this point is 50 years old [(66 adding his age at origin)].
DB: Does that mean that there might be an end in sight for Savage Dragon?
EL: It really just depends. In ideal situation, I would be lucid enough that when we got far enough along that I would wrap things up in a nice way to give closure to everybody's story. My intent right now is to do the book until I can't do [it] any longer. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. But if the gods are with me and things go the way I would like them to, ideally that would be coming in when I'm an 80 year old man and my stuff would outsell or something.
DB: Part of your style with this title is that you pack a lot of story into each page with a lot of exposition going on during fight scenes. Is that a conscious effort to get as much story on the page as possible?
EL: Every month, I'm sitting here and there's a very limited amount of panels/pages that I've got at my disposal. I need to pack stuff in as much as possible. At the same point, because I've set this book up to take place in real time, every issue has to essentially represent a month. When I have an issue or two that are continued, I feel that I've got to do some catching up in the following issue and there ends up being a lot of stuff packed in there out of necessity. I make a list and I'm very deliberate about it. I think it reads pretty well and you're getting a lot out of it.
DB: What is in store for the future of Savage Dragon?
EL: Savage Dragon and the story of this book is chronicling the lives of these characters. Coming back to Marvel and DC, instead of being trapped in ember this would be the story of somebody's life from beginning, middle, and end. You've got Malcolm, who was born in issue 33, and at this point we're on issue #173 and he's now the lead character of the book. This is a character who didn't exist when the book first began.
Do I have big arcing stories in mind that will be playing out over the course of the next while here? Absolutely, but I don't know how much I can throw out there without someone saying, 'Aw man, why did he even say that?' I kill characters off [and] readers tend to believe it. In some cases, I've set it up in the book where readers are being manipulated a bit and when I go and seemingly undo something, they're going to go, 'Wait a minute, these events were all in place before. I get it.' That's part of the fun of it too. It's going to be so awesome you're not going to believe it!
For more on the role of Image Comics in the medium's future, how the company handles adaption deals, and the status of Image United #4, check out the rest of the Exclusive Erik Larsen Interview Here.