Erik Larsen Talks Savage Dragon #201 and Dart's "Unsettling" New Status Quo

SD201 00LOGOtopThis week saw the release of Savage Dragon #201, the first new installment of Malcolm Dragon's adventures since ghe 100-page, status quo-changing spectacular in #200.

Representing major status quo changes for Angel, Dart, Frank Darling and Tierra, the issue gave a healthy mix of action and drama.

Creator Erik Larsen joined to discuss the series.

Remember that these postgame interviews are spoiler-filled. If you haven't yet read Savage Dragon #201, go buy one and read along with us.

SD201 00LOGOSo now that we've got a little distance from #200, how was the overall reaction?

Overwhelmingly positive although a few people were a bit surprised by the bedroom antics but overall it went over pretty well. Kids will be kids, after all.

I did read quite a bit that fixated on the Dragon Family's sex life. Were you surprised by how much that drove the narrative?

Not really. It was the major turning point in the issue--and Malcolm and Maxine's relationship. It was the biggest change in the status quo and it doesn't surprise me that it would raise a few eyebrows.

Obviously in-story, the sex lives of our heroes drove a lot of conversation here. Is that going to be a topic for a while?

To some extent. Once the Genie is out of the bottle there's no putting it back. You don't regain your virginity. Once it's gone--it's gone.

Cut to this lab and they've got a formula to make ordinary people super...that seems like it could be useful to Dart. Or Dragon, in a pinch. Is that a fair observation?

Yeah. I can see that.

SD201 04Obviously there's a little Stan Lee in Melvin. Is he a bit Funky Flashman or Did you just think the catchphrases were a fun affect?

(Also, is he connected to Melvin Mouse? I didn't catch it at first, but the mustache...)

I was thinking "Excelsior" in the classic sense as a Latin adjective meaning "higher" or "loftier." I was using it to punctuate the scene--with a hearty "ever upward!" as he bid goodbye to his comrades. There's a bit of Lee with the blind eye toward the possible consequences of his actions but I certainly wasn't out the skewer Stan by any means. The Melvin Mouse thing wasn't intentional.

Has the Circle quietly become all-female now?

No, but Dart's inner circle seems to be largely comprised of women.

Was the plan always to Mako-ize Dart, or did that come up after his death? I remember you saying that you hated to lose such a great, iconic character.

It was an idea I'd had pretty early on. I was just looking through some original art the other day and there was a sketch of Mako-ized Dart on the back of a page from quite a while back. I wasn't sure I was going to use it necessarily but the germ of an idea was there if I wanted to use it.

In regard to Mako/Dart, we've seen other survivors of Mako's attacks in the past, people who have been bitten by Mako and survived; SuperPatriot, for example, how come none of them became Mako-ized like Dart?

It wasn't simply Mako's bite that triggered the change--it's that Dart cut Mako open as he bit her so that his blood got into her system. That's what made the difference here. It's his blood in her body which is causing the change.

SD201 04I'm sure it's safe to assume that Dart survived the blast just fine. Is she actually potentially a bigger threat than Mako, considering that for most of her life she hasn't been able to fall back on strength and invulnerability and had to learn to kick people's asses?

Mako was, toward the end at least, not a real menace. It wasn't that the potential wasn't there but as he got older he wasn't actively out there causing chaos. Dart is far more likely to use the power in a bad way.

Can she transform back and forth, or now that she's shifted, is that what she looks like?

She can shift. In the opening page Dart has just changed back and is somewhat distraught by the transformation. Because Mako had killed her Aunt, Dart was pretty freaked out by him and having a bit of Mako inside her is traumatic. It's unsettling.

Since Malcolm turned 18 off-camera, was it just one of those things where you wanted to at least acknowledge Christmas, even though it's passed on the real calendar?

We'll actually see and celebrate Christmas a bit in #202. The calendar is just a guideline I don't feel stories have to take place on the day an issue hits the stands. It's rough.

Obviously we've got a Free Comic Book Day special coming up soon. How did that materialize -- was there something you really wanted to get to a broader audience?

Image publisher Eric Stephenson asked if I'd be interested in doing one and it seemed like a good idea. I'm not sure what kind of impact it might have. Ideally everybody reading it will wake up the next morning and decide Savage Dragon is the cat's pajamas and start buying it in record numbers but more realistically--I would hope a few might be reminded that the book still exists and check it out.

Will it impact the book's regular shipping schedule?

I would hope not but that's unlikely. Chances are things will slip at least a little.