Exclusive Interview with Savage’s B. Clay Moore
Savage is the latest release from Valiant Entertainment
and it hit shelves just over a week ago (November 30th 2016). Already, the first issue is a smash success having garnered much positive feedback from reviewers and readers alike. The four-part series is part of Valiant’s “The Future of Valiant” campaign which features prestige-format standalone events from some of the hottest and most talents writers and artists in the industry today.
Savage is a book penned by critically acclaimed writer B. Clay Moore, an industry veteran who has worked on Bloodshot, Hawaiian Dick, JSA, Legends of the Dark Knight, Savage Dragon, Vampire Diaries, Flashpoint, and many others. He is joined by artists Lewis LaRosa and Clayton Henry for the interior artistry.
This brilliant combination of Moore, LaRosa and Henry makes for a magical pairing, one of those few team-ups that come along that people still speak of years later. Moore’s masterful storytelling is only enhanced by the line art and coloring; the art and plot compliment each other perfectly. You can tell they trust each other. For the first few pages, Moore takes a step back to let the art tell the story, to let the imagery elucidate on the savagery of this new world and brand new land we are about to explore with our protagonist.
In the first issue, we get to meet the Sauvage family, albeit at different points in the time line. The time jumps are genius, they allow for the tone of the book to be set via foreshadowing and at the same time create a massive air of mystery and intrigue that our characters will have to explore and work their way through for the next few issues. The book, the first act, sets up the world and crashes us – literally and metaphorically – in to the rising action that the Sauvages will have to overcome. The plot points are all highlighted beautiful with a deep, lush palate of colors and a vibrant range of lush hues and tones that help the story truly come alive.
I had the opportunity to speak with Savage writer, B. Clay Moore, about the book and ask him a few questions about the book itself, his experience with Valiant and the creative team as well as his inspirations. And what can we expect from this title going forward? Read the interview below and be sure to check out the link near the bottom to my YouTube review of Savage # 1.
Jesse: I understand that you worked on an issue of Bloodshot that came out in 2014 but prior to that your work is predominately with Image Comics and DC/Wildstorm. How did the opportunity come about to work on this project with Valiant Entertainment? Is this an idea that you pitched to Valiant or did they approach you with a project proposal?
Clay: I’d worked briefly with Warren Simons (Valiant Editor-in-Chief) when he was at Marvel, and one of the things we did then was kick around original pitches. The basic SAVAGE pitch was something I’d discussed with him years ago. When he joined the Valiant relaunch, he got back in touch, and the BLOODSHOT issue came out of that. A little further down the road he asked if I’d be into building a new character for Valiant based on the pitch we’d kicked around years earlier.
I was very much into that idea.
Jesse: You’ve previously created award-worthy work set on tropical islands, namely Hawaiian Dick for Image Comics. I understand this was a very different genre but how has your previous work influenced your current project?
Clay: I’ve worked in a variety of genres, primarily because my influences include a variety of genres. As a pop culture obsessive from a young age, I tend to draw inspiration from particular eras, or the approaches taken to particular genres in different eras, if that makes any sense.
Primarily, though, I was excited to handle something with rougher edges than a lot of my past work. Not shrinking from the brutality of the environment, and creating a character with an unapologetic approach to violence.
Jesse: The idea of a modern-day protagonist crash landing in the midst of a lost world and a savage land has fascinated me ever since I first read Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. What drew you to this story type and how did you come up with this concept?
Clay: If I had to guess, I’d say reading Burroughs (particularly John Carter) at an early age had the biggest impact on my thinking. I’m also a big fan of European soccer (football), and I’ve always liked the nicknames lent to football stars. Some of those nicknames sound like code names for adventure heroes or something. That’s where the Sauvage/Savage idea first took root.
Not that it’s a particularly unique method, but dropping a handful of things that interest me into one melting pot has been my standard operating procedure with new concepts since I tossed jazz, tiki kitsch, film noir, the fifties and the Rockford Files into a pot and came out with HAWAIIAN DICK.
Jesse: In the past, when I wrote prose, I used two strategies: One was to create a comprehensive character back story prior to writing and the other was to let it unfold as the story progressed. How much did you explore the Sauvage’s history prior to writing the first issue? What was your inspiration for the Sauvage family and do you draw from the real world to create them or their back stories?
Clay: Funny enough, one of the early drafts of SAVAGE #1 featured a very thorough telling of Kevin and Veronica’s backstory and history. In the end, that information was probably extraneous, but it still exists in my mental “bible” of the characters. It helps to know their history, even if that history isn’t revealed in full to readers. Just a way to assure that the characters remain true to themselves as they travel through the story.
Jesse: I really like the balance of narration/dialogue and art in this book and how balanced they are, they both contribute to telling the story and carrying the plot forward without overwhelming the other. What’s it like working with Clayton and Lewis? How did you get paired up to form this great creative team?
Clay: Warren and editor Tom Brennan handed me Clayton and Lewis, which, you know…jackpot. I’ve raved about Lewis’s focus on dinosaurs, but, oh my God, Clayton is drawing the hell out of them, too, which readers will get to see in issue two. Working with two such masterful storytellers who also happen to be able to draw anything is a blessing, and it allows me to easily step back and let their art tell the story without too much of my dialogue getting in the way.
Jesse: Will other parts of the unified Valiant Universe be explored and can you tell us or hint at how this book ties in to the rest of the world that Valiant is famous for making so congruent?
Jesse: Hawaiian Dick has been a series of miniseries (The Last Resort, Screaming Black Thunder, the Self-Titled series and Aloha, Hawaiian Dick). Do you anticipate that Savage will follow a similar pattern?
Clay: I’d love for that to be the case. Regardless, I hope to be actively involved in the next steps the character takes, for sure.
Jesse: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I have one more for you: What can we expect from this series going forward and can you tease us with what will happen next to Savage?
Clay: Basically, this series introduces and explains the character to everyone. It’s like a window into his life so far. At the end, it will become obvious that his life is only going to get more complicated from here.
Here you can see my full review on the book:
SAVAGE #1 (of 4)
Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by CLAYTON HENRY and LEWIS LAROSA
Cover by LEWIS LAROSA
PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING NOVEMBER 2016
Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife –pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by by prehistoric creatures from another time…
This is the story of how they lost their humanity.
This November, acclaimed writer B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick) and explosive artists Clayton Henry (HARBINGER WARS) and Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN) present a relentless epic of survival in a cold-blooded land ruled by instinct alone as SAVAGE makes his brutal entrance into the Valiant Universe!