Many Happy Returns (Okay, One): Erik Larsen On SAVAGE DRAGON #175

In recognition of the rather epic nature of this week's Savage Dragon #175 (which, as you can tell from the cover, has a bit of a game-changer in its opening  pages), we'll be separating mine and Gavin's questions into two stories to talk about the issue, the introduction of a decidedly sci-fi subplot into this fairly street-level superhero book (even if he's an alien with massive powers, the book still revolves around a super-strong cop who punches bad guys) and what it means for the title's star (Malcolm Dragon) when and if the old man is suddenly in a position to be The Guy again.

Gavin Higginbotham: Dragon's back! You said before when we spoke about Savage Dragon #168 how much you've missed writing Dragon's dialogue. How happy are you to finally have the big guy back properly?

Erik Larsen: Ever so happy. It's been a long time--too long--since I've had Savage Dragon proper in the book. The only thing that threw me off a bit here was drawing him. I'm making a conscious effort to make him look a bit older this time. I was looking back at his origin story and it occured to me that he looked 40 years old at that point--or at least well into his 30s and I felt it was about time that time caught up with him a bit. It was also a way of distinguishing him from his son Krull.

GH: Do you see Dragon's resurrection as something of a cheat? The seeds of his return were clearly shown in Savage Dragon #168 but... You've been quite vocal in the past against comic companies bringing back dead characters. With the Project: Born Again plot currently unfolding, are you changing your stance on resurrections?

EL: Not at all. The pieces were clearly there and I showed the readers how he could be brought back then. To me it was obvious that he was coming back and over the last few issues I showed the pieces needed being retrieved. I think I played pretty fair with the reader. I was surprised just how many people bought that he was gone forever. He'd been resurrected a few times in the past with fewer clues--I would have thought for sure that readers would be suspicious but most seemed to just roll with it.

We'll cross the Project Born Again bridge when we come to it.

GH: This issue marked a substantial change to the past half dozen or so. Malcolm and Angel were nowhere to be seen. Was this purely so that Dragon could get the full spotlight for his return?

EL: Yeah. And Dragon was nowhere to be seen in the last six issues. I wanted there to be a solid stretch where he wasn't in the picture. I wanted there to be a Savage Dragon trade that didn't have Savage Dragon in it. With this one, I wanted to shine the spotlight squarely on Dragon and get his story down on paper.

GH: With Dragon returning, some people are concerned that he'll step back into being the main character. This is still very much Malcolm's (and Angel's) book though, right?

EL: It is. We're at the Batman Beyond stage where the torch has been passed. There will be Dragon issues and subplots at times but it's Malcolm and Angel's book.

GH: Did you have a lot of fun designing all of the Krylans' costumes? Nikos's colors here really shone. The brightness really helped establish the alien nature of the ship.

EL: Its was fun and somewhat challenging. Krull looks so much like his dad that it's hard to come up with a way of differentiate the two. It can be a bit weird designing costumes and not giving color notes. They never look quite how I pictured them. There were a couple in there which caught me off guard.

EL: And Dragon calling out the Krylans on their piss collectors was hilarious. A real return for Dragon!

Ha! Readers had asked what those things were all about so I thought I'd address it.

GH: Speaking of returns for Dragon... He's picked up a new potential love interest in Lorella. I guess it was about time Dragon got laid?

EL: He's had a pretty long dry spell at this point.

GH: It looks like the threat of Virus is over now then?

EL: It looks that way although it's not spelled out clearly. Darklord took the remains of two guys to make Dragon so there are bound to be leftovers and with the Krylans' stance against killing there's every chance that they've got whatever was left in a holding tank somewhere.

GH: Dragon assuming command of the Krylans is pretty huge. He may be a different personality to Kurr but he's similar to him in a lot of ways.

EL: More than he would care to admit.

GH: Dragon's way of thought seems to be in conflict to the rest of the Krylans, just as Kurr's was. Krull didn't appear to be happy with how things were unfolding... Could trouble be brewing?

EL: If I'm a betting man--I'd say yes.

GH: This issue also marks one hundred issues since the start of This Savage World. Does it surprise you how quickly time flies by with this book? So much has changed in those hundred issues, let alone the rest of the series.

EL: It is weird to think about. Time does indeed fly when you're having fun.