Malcolm Dragon gets to see his father in a whole new light in this week's Savage Dragon #220 from series creator Erik Larsen, while Angel is stranded in Dimension X with a desperate and depraved Mister Glum trying to impress and seduce her.
As is our custom at this point, Larsen joined ComicBook.com to discuss the issue, which went on sale this morning, and the ramifications for not one but two major status quo changes for the Dragon family in this week's issue.
Spoilers ahead if you haven't read the issue already. You can get a copy of Savage Dragon #220 at your local comic shop, or pick up a digital copy and read along with us.
Was it always your intent to use an Obama pardon to get Dragon out of custody?
It was, yes. When Dragon became a cop he saved Obama, so having him return the favor gave it a nice symmetry.
How far back did you plan that? Did you have it in mind when Obama first appeared in the book, before Kurr even returned?
Not that far. I didn't know I'd be revisiting the origin stuff and bringing back Kurr at that point. But when Dragon went to jail in the first place I knew that Obama would pardon him eventually. I knew he'd do it just before he left office.
Story-wise it stood to reason that Obama really couldn't pardon him earlier for political reasons: the risk of political blowback or retaliation was too great. But once it was at the end of his second term there was nothing to lose. No reason not to.
Is it Glum's relationship with Angel that's kept him in the mix, even as most of the classic Dragon villains have been shunted off in favor of Malcolm characters?
Some villains are Dragon-specific and others aren't quite so much. Glum spans generations because he's really more Angel's problem than anybody's. He works with Dragon, Angel or Malcolm as he's tied into all of them to some extent.
Are the Dragon kids going to accidentally create a new SuperPatriot just by mangling different parts of Craig that then need to be replaced?!
Not at all. It takes more than robot parts to make a SuperPatriot. One of the things I try to do very sparingly is turn non-powered supporting characters into super-powered ones.
One of my complaints about a lot of superheroes from other companies is that there are so few normal people. Everybody has had superpowers or has superpowers or is related to somebody with superpowers. Craig acquired some spare parts but that doesn’t change who he is. He’s not a hero and getting an oversized arm doesn’t change that.
How in-tune with everything that's going on outside has Dragon been? I mean, obviously being in prison wouldn't stop you knowing that Trump won, but he seems pretty shocked by the political culture of the moment.
Dragon’s been in the loop as much as he can be. He’s had no Internet access and we’ve never seen evidence of a TV so we can’t know for sure but we can guess that he’s not up to date on everything. He’s missing quite a bit but he gets broad strokes. He’d likely get some news from some source. And I would imagine he’s seen a lot more of Malcolm and Angel than has been depicted in the book.
Keep in mind too that this is set just as Obama was leaving office. So the huge protests and marches hadn’t happened just yet.
It's nice to get to see Dragon smile when he changes the subject off politics, though. It seems it's been a while since things broke his way.
It really has been. This is his first real break in a long, long time and it’s not something he had expected. He had pretty much resigned himself to a life in prison. It looked hopeless.
Was the idea of Babysitter Dragon something you've been building with all of these minor crises, to get the old guy in a supporting role?
To some degree. I thought it’d be kind of cool to cast Dragon as a kind of Aunt May figure. He’s a parent to Malcolm and a grandparent to the kids. A source of wisdom, maybe, but not necessarily somebody you’d expect to see jumping into action at the drop of a hat. Though he’s a bit more capable of that than Aunt May is.
Why did you decide to go with the tall, thin panels for the Angel/Glum stuff and the wide, short rows for the Dragon family stuff?
It was just a way of breaking things up visually. It makes it very clear that the scene has changed. The vertical panel arrangement was considerably more challenging than the horizontal one because the space was so irregularly shaped but I thought it worked out rather well when I was done with it.
...Man, Glum's delusions about Angel are as bad as his delusions of grandeur regarding his physical prowess and history with Dragon. Is this a character whose head you really don't want to stay in for very long?
Oh, no—he’s a blast to write. Mr. Glum is a favorite. But then—they all are to some extent.
So wait. Glum says his plan is to restore Angel's world. Is he talking about the world HIS Angel was from, as part of his delusion, or is he talking about the world back before Universo attacked?
It’s not so much a literal world that he wants to rebuild as it is to give Angel a place where she can be content — a place she can call home, with a doting husband and loving mother. And, really, that could just as easily be his world — the world they both shared — Glum’s planet in Dimension-X.
What he wants is to make that whole again. Sure, he’d like to rule Earth again, that’s a given, but more than anything he wants Angel back. He wants the love she had for him restored. He thinks the way to her heart is through her mother. He thinks that’s a step toward his ultimate goal.
Is it that promised restoration, or just the offer of her mother, that leads Angel to decide to stick around with Glum?
She wants her mother back more than anything.
Do you think there's a way for our Angel to actually fall for Glum? I...just don't see it.
Nothing is impossible. He has to believe that.
That panel of Dragon sitting on the edge of the bed in his new place kind of reminds me of the Average Dragon strip in the Funnies. That said, it's also kind of reminiscent of the early early days of the book when he was essentially alone in the world before he built up the relationships that composed his supporting cast. Is either of those an intentional parallel or is it more just the next step for him?
It’s not that. If you compare the two panels—it’s essentially the same shot as where we first see Dragon in this issue, sitting at the edge of his bed in prison. The idea here is that even though he’s out of jail—in his mind—not a lot has changed. He’s still confined in a way.
He went to jail powerful and robust and now he’s powerless and tired. He’d resigned himself to a bleak existence and he hasn’t yet figured out how to move on. This is all new. It all happened so suddenly that he hasn’t had time to adjust. He’s just sitting there, stunned.
Did you work with the colorist to break up the Dragon vs. Glum sections? The red is pretty obvious but the Chicago stuff feels pretty blue, too.
We’d talked about the red stuff—he knew that going in. Much of the rest was Mike and Nikos doing what they do. I give them a few notes here and there—if something is important—but at this point I trust them to know what to do.
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