Erik Larsen On Savage Dragon #208 and What Those Deaths Mean For the Series

savage-dragon-208-133961

This week, Savage Dragon #208 hit the stands, featuring Malcolm Dragon and Mister Glum "in final battle."

And, yes, there was blood.

Erik Larsen, as always, joined us to analyze the book and give it some context...and also to preview what's to come with next month's big wedding issue.

Remember that these commentary track-style interviews are spoiler heavy. If you haven't yet read Savage Dragon #208, buy it here and read along with us.

There's a really kinetic sense of movement/storytelling that you get from an opening page that starts with panels instead of a splash, since splash or semi-splash opens are so common. Did you just want to kind of drop the reader right into the action here?

When I start any issue I'm considering the end of the previous issue because at some point those two pages are going to be sitting next to each other. Since #207 ended with a splash having #208 start with one would make things awkward in a trade or other collection and I wanted it to flow nicely from one page to the next. Also--since it literally picked up from the previous issue I wanted that moment to be there and feel as though we came into it mid-action. The conversation picks up from the last sentence on the last page of the previous issue and the action does too.

I mean, I know why for a storytelling reason, but from a character standpoint, is there a reason Malcolm and Angel didn't bring backup?

Other SOS guys were busy elsewhere and the only other available member was Rex's wife and Rex didn't want to put her life in danger. Rex thought it was enough--and since the three were familiar with Dimension-X and the others weren't--there was that. Clearly a strategic blunder on his part. He thought Angel could handle her counterpart and that he and Malcolm could handle Glum. Clearly it did not work out the way he would have liked.

What went into the decision to take Rex off the board at this point? He hadn't been a really active part of the story since Emperor Kurr, but obviously he had value in terms of storytelling.

He's one of those guys with the potential to be the answer to any problem and he's also something of a cypher being an Iron Man-type and I'm not all that keen on characters who are too similar to ones elsewhere. Fun is fun and I did take him pretty far from the source but I thought it was time to get rid of him. I didn't want somebody Malcolm could go running to whenever he was in a pinch. It was kind of in an effort to have Malcolm grow up a bit.

Rex killing Angel Dragon kind of reminds me of something we see fairly often in the world of this book: There are very, very powerful people and freaks, but generally speaking, technology has caught up with them. There seems to be SOMETHING out there that can take out just about anybody with a lucky shot.

Likely another reason Rex walked into this thinking he had it in the bag.

I've gotta add--keeping track of Rex's armor and Glum's similar-looking armor at the same time that I had to keep track of the two Angels and their similar looks and costumes nearly drove me over the edge.

Was getting rid of that Angel really just about tying up some loose ends from the Dragon era and leaving Malcolm with less baggage, or is there a bit more to it than that?

It's more than that but that's certainly a part of it. Bit by bit I've knocked off a lot of the redundant characters from both worlds. But also I wanted to see Glum without Angel. He's always had her restraining him in some way--talking him away from doing completely evil shit. She's been his conscience for more than a hundred issues and now she's gone. Where do things go from here? But I really wrestled with this. I love Angel and Mr. Glum. I love their interplay and I love their dynamic. Giving that up was huge. But I knew, really, there was no way I could devote more place to that. They'd be neglected for years at a time and I didn't feel too good about that either.

The fact that Angel told OUR Angel with her dying breath that Jennifer is hidden away in Dimension-X seems a bit wasted by the fact that ultimately nobody understood her. Was that a measure of redemption for the dying Angel, or is it something Malcolm and Angel will deal with coming up in the near future?

It's there. It's a card I can play at some point and I wanted to remind readers about her so that the final page of the issue resonated more. It's also fucking with the readers a bit since I know that Jennifer is not a huge favorite with a lot of them. To get that close to bringing her back into the book and not going any farther than that tickled me.

We saw that Angel was really impacted by the death of her evil twin. How does Malcolm handle it? He does acknowledge in the dialogue that she's his stepsister.

It means more to her than him. It's her evil twin, after all so she's literally watching herself die. And while that Angel was Malcolm's real stepsister on paper, the reality is that they were never living in the same dwelling for any length of time. She was somebody he'd heard about not somebody he'd spent time with or bonded with in any way.

Is there a reason they let Glum live?

The fight was over and they're not murderers. They'll kill in self-defense but this wasn't that. Glum was defeated. He was helpless--that's enough.

Was it important for Angel to give voice to the whole "did we really have to do this?" thing? Glum had kind of passed his expiration date as a threat in a lot of ways, so given the cost of the mission did you think somebody had to be that person?

Glum always had the potential to rise again. Glum and Angel were attempting to amass an army. And after what he had done--taking over the Earth--they couldn't just let it ride. Our Angel was shellshocked by events and quite shaken by how things went down but they really couldn't just let the two be.

It's been a long while since we saw Maxine's parents. Did you want to just reestablish their status quo and what they do and don't know before bringing them in for the wedding?

Well, sure. And this was a good place to do that. I also wanted to set up Malcolm and Maxine's impending wedding so it didn't just appear out of the blue in the next issue. It's all part of the flow of ongoing comics. Set things up--and then deliver.

Will we get to see Glum and Dragon cross paths in jail again, or do you think that story is told?

It's a possibility. I'm certainly not ruling it out. This isn't the last we'll see of Glum by any means. Any time I make a move like this I have a few stories in mind down the road. Stories like this open up a lot of doors.

That shot of Maxine at the top of the page is a really effective use of no backgrounds. You don't tend to omit them that often on larger panels, so how do you decide when to do a shot like that?

When it's effective. Sometimes that's what you want--an emotional face to sell an idea or moment. It sets the scene nicely. One of the tools we have in comics is the ability to do stuff like that--omit a background in order to really focus on a moment like that. It's harder to do that in other mediums. I like to use the tools we have to their best advantage.