Gerry Duggan has been on the helm for two of Marvel’s Conan comic book lines. While Savage Sword of Conan, where Gerry wrote the first five issues, is all Conan, Savage Avengers is a whole different beast. Here, Conan teams up with the likes of Elektra, Venom, and the Wolverine to meet a brand new threat in the Savage Lands. The first five issues, and incidentally the first story arc in the Savage Avengers line, has wrapped, with Gerry at the helm, so we figured it was time to talk about what’s next. hi
Also, a wee heads-up regarding spoilers: If you haven’t read Savage Avengers up to #5, maybe hold off reading this interview for a bit.
Okay, here’s Gerry!
You picked Kulan Gath as the bad guy in this first story arc. How come, and were there any other contenders?
That villain occupies a lot of space in my imagination because of the classic Marvel stories and Conan tales. I loved how vicious he is, and how visually cool he is – he’s creepy, and everything you could want in a BIG BAD. He’s the perfect foil for Conan, and he has history when many of the biggest names in the Marvel Universe. He was too perfect not to tap for the first big villain. And now that Savage Avengers #5 has arrived, we know that unfortunately for Conan and the Marvel Universe that Kulan Gath got what he wanted out of the encounter.
The Savage Avengers is quite an eclectic mix of rogues, with different powers and abilities. How do you balance them when working with the story?
I try to write the villains, and the heroes react. I’m part super villain, part Dungeon Master. It’s a team book, so I need to let the spotlight wander where it needs to be, but I think our book is working because we’re throwing these characters into Conan’s orbit and letting the story determine the trajectories. You’ll see all the characters in the first arc return, and in their place we’re rolling in some of my other favorites. That’s the secret to the success of the book, when it no longer makes sense for a character to be with Conan at that moment, they whisper to me that they’re done for now, and I sneak them away. It’s a series that has defied the usual trend in comic sales. Usually a title will slowly decline, but Savage Avengers numbers are climbing as word spreads that I didn’t screw-up. I could understand why a REH diehard might be skeptical of the premise, but our story allows Conan to be Conan, and the art has been top notch. We’re saying goodbye to Deodato and Martin Jr, but Patrick Zircher is taking over. Fans will recognize his name from his superb Savage Sword with Jim Zub. This is his book now, and its his turn to carry me around. Sincerely, the best, biggest, craziest, and funnest days of Savage Avengers are ahead of us. The scripts for 11 and 12 are my favorites thus far.
What’s next for the Savage Avengers line?
Well, we launched healthy, and so I have some rope. The good news is I have a lot of fun, messed-up ideas and it looks like I’m going to get a chance to exploit them all. Marvel and Conan Properties have been a really wonderful team, I don’t get many notes, and when I do they are great. I felt very fortunate to get one swing at Conan in Savage Sword with Ron Garney (guest starring in Savage Avengers Annual #1) and now I’m really fortunate to keep working in a very unique corner of the Marvel sandbox with such a special toy from Hyboria. The Kulan Gath threat will grow, and as it does we’ll be having some shorter one and done stories. Eventually though, Conan would love to see how his friend Logan of Pabst came to have those wonderful sneak blades. They’re gonna have to kill me to get me off the book.
The first story arc of Marvel’s Savage Avengers wrapped with #5. The first five issues, as well as content from a Free Comic Book Day promotion, will appear in Savage Avengers Vol. 1: City Of Sickles, which is due on November 13th, 2019.