We here at Comic Watch had the always exciting opportunity to catch up with Senior Editor at Valiant Heather Antos for a spoiler-filled discussion about the return of SAVAGE in a brand new series available now!
See the full interview below…
Comic Watch: Thank you so much Heather for joining us over here at Comic Watch for a very spoiler-filled discussion on the new SAVAGE #1 out now. I’d like to just dive right in and ask what pushed you along with Valiant Comics to take what feels like such a new direction with the character following what we saw in the first volume?
HEATHER ANTOS: I’m not sure if I’d call this series a “new direction” so much as continuing the direction the original series gave the character. The very last page of the first series ended with Savage appearing seemingly out of nowhere in the middle of Piccadilly Circus — the (up until that point) considered long-dead son of the world’s most famous footballer. That’d pick up some headlines for sure! Quite frankly, this feels like a natural direction for the character in a modern setting!
CW: What do you feel made the timing right for this vision of SAVAGE both in the Valiant Comics lineup of titles as well as in the current comics industry landscape as a whole?
HEATHER: I mean, you tell me what’s more modern than Prehistoric science experiments running through present day London than SAVAGE, ha! [laughs] What I love about this series is the creative team so perfectly captures the zany, balls to the wall bombasticness of classic comics, while dealing with some very real social commentary. What I love about Kevin is, at the end of the day, his struggle isn’t that of being a leader of an ancient civilization, or trying to right the wrongs of being a murderous war-weapon…he’s just a kid. He just wants to be a kid and is figuring out who he is amidst the chaos around him…just like any of us! In that way he stands out from the current Valiant line-up which I think is very cool.
CW: What can you tell us about the influences from editorial decisions regarding this approach to the character compared to what the creative team brought to the table to deliver the exciting end result we see in SAVAGE #1?
HEATHER: Everything you see in SAVAGE #1 is all Max, Nate, Triona, and Hass. Max is a hardcore Valiant fan dating back to the original 90s launch and knows these characters and the universe very well. The only real editorial “influence” that was had was really just making sure everything made sense from a story standpoint, continuity, all that jazz. This group is any editor’s dream to work with. They are super passionate fans and just want to tell a fun, zany story about a kid who hunts dinosaurs for fun. And what’s more Valiant than that?
CW: While the surroundings might feel different, it doesn’t take long to see this is still a familiar and undeniably violent approach to the character. What can you tell us about the importance of keeping the savagery intact in this volume of SAVAGE?
HEATHER: I mean…it’s kinda in the name! [laughs] In all seriousness, though, being wild and free is what makes Kevin, well, Savage. And until he couldn’t do that, he didn’t know how much he needed it. It’s part of his core, deep inside. And that’s a very important part of the story that we’re exploring in this series.
CW: It’s important to note that the premise of this new environment for SAVAGE is almost immediately upended with the introduction of a surprisingly whimsical villain with “Project Bizarre” who has turned the city into his little experiment. What can you tell us about this villain and what he brings to the table at Valiant?
HEATHER: One could say that Professor Nealon has become one of Savage’s biggest fans ever since he showed up on London’s doorstep from the Faraway a couple of years ago. Particularly as someone who studies alternate dimensions, one might say he has a particular investment in Kevin Sauvage…
CW: Although we are introduced to a new villain in a very unfamiliar situation for the main character in SAVAGE #1, can we expect many elements from the first volume to carry over here or will it primarily be a fresh, new story for SAVAGE?
HEATHER: Oh, I think it’s fair to say that our villains are very much influenced by what happened in the original series, for sure. Guess you’ll have to keep reading, though to see what I mean 😉
CW: Valiant has enjoyed a very successful approach to genre stories recently, and SAVAGE #1 does a remarkable job of blending the action-survival influences with the sci-fi components of the story. How do you feel this helps to distinguish the character in Valiant’s lineup?
HEATHER: I think it’s always important for each book we do to have a very clear defined audience and identity. Something you can look at right away and know exactly the tone of the tale while still piquing your excitement. What I love about really leaning into genre influences in comics — especially when dealing with superheroes — is that every arc (hell, sometimes every issue!) you can lean into influences from other storytelling techniques. Obviously with Savage bombastic action was a must and so we led with that first. When I read Max Bemis’s first script and got to the page where the monster literally uses Big Ben as a baseball bat I said, “we have something here!”
CW: We end SAVAGE #1 with a rather dire cliffhanger for the main character as he is trapped by “Project Bizarre” showing even he might be in over his head! What does this moment mean for the series going forward and what are you excited most for readers to discover as the story continues?
HEATHER: I guess you’ll have to read SAVAGE #2 to find out 😉
And there you have it! Be sure to head out to your Local Comic Shop or to ComiXology and other digital platforms to get your copy of SAVAGE #1 from Valiant today!
Being Wild and Free: An EXCLUSIVE Interview with Senior Editor at Valiant Heather Antos on SAVAGE #1
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