Erik Larsen Talks Savage Dragon #260, That Daredevil Homage, and Paul Dragon’s Latest Development

Paul Dragon gets hitched in Savage Dragon #260, marking the first time he has successfully done so, since the Bronze Man interrupted his original wedding and killed his fiancée in the Graphic Fantasy era. The issue also sees the return of Torment, a massive, monstrous child who is driven to villainy by one of two competing voices in his head, exhibited literally by tiny heads that protrude from his own. It’s a wild month, and as it’s all playing out, fans are getting a little bit of a sense for what the Savage Dragon dynamic (and perhaps supporting cast) will be in the months to come.

Writer/artist Erik Larsen packs a lot of story into the issue, along with a bloody battle that explodes off the page, taking up relatively little real estate but making an impression.

Larsen joined ComicBook to discuss the issue, which hits the stands today. Spoilers ahead for anybody who hasn’t read it yet, and if you don’t have a chance to get to your local comic shop, snag a copy on ComiXology and read along with us.

What made you decide to do the Daredevil homage cover this month?

It was as simple as–I liked the original and though it would a good basis for a Savage Dragon cover. There’s nothing significant about it, really, but sometimes my brain just gloms onto something and won’t let go. I listen to my head.

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Can you talk about the variant interiors/two letterers decision? Was it just practical to let both of them go to print, or was there a creative reason for it?

I needed to get a new letterer and I tried out a couple people. I liked the old school look that I’d had but not everybody could pull that off. After a couple people bombed out I had resigned myself to the reality that I might have to give up on that dream. So I put Rus Wooton to work lettering the book but then I stumbled across the Shield lettered by Jack Morelli and I thought he did a reasonable rob emulating old school lettering and decided to have him take a stab at it. At that point I had half an issue of both and decided–just for fun–to put them BOTH out. I’d been doing alternate covers with a ‘70s trade dress already–so why not have alternate interiors? And it just seemed like a fun idea and a bizarre one at that.

It did end up becoming something of a nightmare as the printer got confused and included some of Wooton’s lettering into the Morelli-lettered story. They’re actually having to reprint the ‘70s rate dress version to make things right.

The episode opens strong with Paul’s bionic arm. Is that neighbor Craig’s Liefeld arm?

No, no, no–Neighbor Craig had an oversized right arm and Paul has a left arm. That would have been pretty funny though.

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(Photo: Erik Larsen)

Will we see more of the Paul/Joseph Strange relationship? He seems to be one of only a handful of people that have really connected with Paul, even when you factor in the memories from the merging.

I expect so, from time to time. There’s an issue coming up which details a lot more of their shared history, so we’ll get to see some of their backstory, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Joseph Strange.

On that note, will we see Malcolm start to evolve on that front soon, or is that conflict too interesting an idea to drop quickly?

We’ll see. It’s got to be strange for him. At the same time–his real father isn’t coming back and this isn’t doing him any good.

Would you ever consider spinning Paul off as part of Freak Force or something? Or do you feel like his role here is really to be “grandpa” and going too far into superheroes would feel like you just slotted Dragon right back in?

He doesn’t really have any relationships with Freak Force and SuperPatriot already takes that leadership role. Plus, there’s some question as to how much of an active part he can take in any capacity as Paul creeps that much closer to 60.

Is it safe to assume that the “fall” is a little hat-tip to the death of Gwen Stacy? If so, was the idea there to use the visual language to make fans think for a moment that you might actually be killing Maxine?

It was intended to be, no. If that was my intent I’d have swiped some of those layouts to make it super obvious.

I just wanted to incorporate that cover image to some degree and it’s always a good idea to milk a scene for whatever drama you can pull out of it.

Once again I must say: whenever super-aim comes into play, I love it.

It’s a fun power to play with.

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Malcolm spends a lot of time in the hospital. I don’t know that we’ve ever talked about that specifically. Is part of that the idea of giving these fights stakes, even if he’s going to regenerate before next issue?

Yeah–the thing about doing a series over a long period of time, and especially one set in real time, there are scenes and locations that tend to get used a lot: weddings, funerals, births, deaths, and trips to the hospital seem all too frequent but then–you can’t just skip that stuff. That needs to be there or it seems like none of the hits he takes are at all consequential.

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