It wasn't that long ago that Malcolm and Angel Dragon headed to Dimension-X to abduct its ruler, Mister Glum.
Glum, of course, is the pint-sized dictator who successfully (if briefly) took over Earth, only to be stopped by Malcolm's father, Dragon, who was the title character in Savage Dragon before Malcolm got a promotion to that role.
This week's issue of Savage Dragon now sees Glum on trial -- ready to head to jail or possibly the death penalty just as Dragon himself has exhausted the last of his appeals for crimes committed while he was under a supervillain's control (basically).
Will the two end up cellmates, or will Glum somehow manage to figure out a way to spare himself a death sentence?
Well, series creator Erik Larsen joined us to talk about the issue -- and what's next for all involved.
Note that these interviews are spoiler-heavy, so if you haven't already read Savage Dragon #219, head to your local comic shop or get a digital copy on ComiXology and follow along with us.
In the opening page, we get a lot of pontificating from Glum about what a great and beloved leader he was. Obviously, that's a bit of a skewed retelling of history. Is it safe to assume this is actually how he sees himself, though?
Oh, sure. Glum is fully delusional. Like many megalomaniacal dictators he sees himself as loved by everybody and feels those against him are either jealous or just don’t understand him. And he absolutely does know that he’s being unlawful to achieve his goals but he feels the ends justify the means. It’s all for the common good, as far as he’s concerned.
In-universe, is it common for people to actually call Dragon "Savage Dragon?" I feel like we rarely see it.
In the comic there was a reporter who popularized the name “Savage Dragon” and it stuck. It’s largely used by people who don’t know Dragon at all well. To his friends, he’s Dragon.
Did you kind of feel like with your lead character being a minority AND a cop that you couldn't sidestep the Trump-related protests in Chicago?
I certainly could have ignored it but it made sense to bring it into the book. The protest itself is an actual chant from actual protesters. But the real inspiration came from my son's own experience. My son had participated in some Occupy Wall Street protests in Oakland a few years back and while they were largely peaceful, he told me that often they would be joined by folks calling themselves anarchists who were simply out to make trouble and that was more what I wanted to get across—that sometimes things like that happen—and we shouldn’t judge an entire group or movement based on the actions of a handful of disruptive douchebags whose entire purpose is to take advantage of the situation, toss
My son had participated in some Occupy Wall Street protests in Oakland a few years back and while they were largely peaceful, he told me that often they would be joined by folks calling themselves anarchists who were simply out to make trouble and that was more what I wanted to get across—that sometimes things like that happen—and we shouldn’t judge an entire group or movement based on the actions of a handful of disruptive douchebags whose entire purpose is to take advantage of the situation, toss trash cans through bank windows and loot nearby stores. Sometimes a few troublemakers are just a few troublemakers.
You know, since the solicitation for next issue had already revealed that Glum was out of jail and at large, I found myself momentarily wondering if his post-truth speech meant that he really would be able to snow a jury. Did you consider that route?
Solicitations aren’t always 100% accurate. I write those months ahead of working on a book and too often they’re long forgotten when I’m working on an issue. I come into these with a number of possible directions and choose which one works the best. It was always my intent that Glum would escape, so in this case, nothing changed. I work either from a very loose plot or nothing at all. In this case there was a brief outline—but scripting it afterward I did feel a twinge of regret. I think Glum was right when he claimed he could talk his way out of it. That would have been a fun thing to have written.
Can you talk about what Angel's reservations about her abortion-slash-adoption mean for the character?
She’s torn. At the end of the day, this is her child and he’s looking back at her with her own big blue eyes. She feels that connection. She sees herself in him and she has some regrets. I can well imagine how tough it would be to give up a child and see it raised in front of you by a friend. It has to be tough.
When we get the splash page of Toady in Glum's armor, that lab is being blown up pretty good, and just beside him, we get a glimpse of what looks like Jennifer Murphy's stasis tube or whatever it was. Can we assume then that she's toast?
Not necessarily. She had superpowers when she was put on ice, after all. She may very well survive whatever happens to her and come crawling from the wreckage.
I think the assumption has always been that sooner or later Dragon would be out of prison and part of the supporting cast in some capacity. How will the end of his appeals process impact Malcolm and Angel?
They’ll have to cope with it as best as they can. But nothing is really over until a character’s in the ground. If persuasive new evidence does materialize there’s always hope. Convicted criminals have been cleared by deathbed confessions or new DNA information decades after the fact. Until Dragon is actually electrocuted—there’s always a glimmer of hope.
There was a moment where I honestly thought Glum might fire off a blast and kill both himself and Dragon here. After learning that there were no more appeals, it felt like that could have been a heroic sendoff for Dragon. Were you going for that misdirect, or was that just how the story flowed?
A bit of both.
Also: The yellowish background and pervasive motion lines in the shot where Dragon is strangling Glum kind of reminds me of your 1st Brutal Issue! Was that on purpose?
Not really. I do like to imply manga-esque speed-lines from time to time. Them being colored yellow and orange was Nikos’ call.
This is the second consecutive issue that's ended on a pretty bleak note. Are our heroes going to keep taking lumps for a while?
They always seem to. Victory is a slog. They often get there but it can be a long uphill battle. If it was all sunshine and puppy dogs I would think people would get pretty bored of it.