Not A Grimm Vigilante Or Stranger From Another World – Chris Roberson Talks Doc Savage #6
Chris Robeson continues his run on the Man of Bronze with Doc Savage #6 out this week. Battlestar Galactica writer Dan Abnett talked with Chris about what drew him to the project, what his plans are for Doc and what it's like having covers by Alex Ross.
DAN ABNETT: Chris, Doc Savage is probably the ultimate pulp hero. What is it about the Man of Bronze that appeals to you? What drew you to this project?
CHRIS ROBERSON: I first encountered Doc Savage through the James Bama covers on the Bantam reprints back in the 70s. I think it was the visual that hooked me first, but when I started reading the novels I was really taken with the character himself. He's not a grim vigilante, or a strange visitor from another world. Doc Savage is a normal human who has trained himself to be the pinnacle of achievement physically, mentally, and morally, and has dedicated his life to fighting evil and pursuing knowledge. How awesome is that?
CR: A HUGE fan. Being able to write Doc Savage story has been an ambition of mine since I was a kid, and in fact I lobbied Dynamite HARD for this opportunity!
DA: Can you tell us (tease us) a little bit about what you're doing here? And beyond?
CR: The hope was to introduce Doc to new readers while still presenting the elements that longtime fans might expect, and to ground the character in the milieu established by Lester "Kenneth Robeson" Dent back in the 30s and 40s, but then evolve things gradually as the series progresses.
DA: Are you 'modernizing' Doc Savage?
CR: Doc himself isn't changing, as such, but we've created a scenario in which he can begin as the classic pulp character readers have known for the past 80 years, but gradually bring him forward into the modern day in a way that retains the core of the character and his appeal, while introducing more contemporary elements around him.
CR: Bilquis is truly a find! Really, she was just amazing at the outset, and I honestly believe that she's levelling up with each successive issue. As time has gone on my scripts have gotten looser and looser, in terms of panel description, but I still tend to include a lot of image reference, just to communicate what I have in mind in terms of setting, props, or wardrobe. It's one of the challenges and opportunities of doing a period book, that we on the one hand have to remain faithful to very particular moments in history, while at the same time having these vast resources to draw upon for reference.
DA: Alex's cover for six is awesome (of course) and very powerful. Did you have a fan-boy gush when you saw it (like I did)? Do you give Alex direction or just let him unleash his awesomeness? :)
CR: I have fanboyish glee EVERY time I get one of Alex's new cover designs. The typical process is that I'll jot down a few sentences of synopsis about what the issue will be about, and call out specific settings or incidents that I think might make useful grist for the mill. And then Alex goes off and does his magic. And since the covers are usually being done in parallel with the scripting, they'll often feed back into the writing of the script itself, as I may tweak things or change focus somewhat if Alex has hit upon an approach with the cover image that hadn't occurred to me before, from a narrative standpoint.
CR: Only that writing Doc Savage is truly a childhood dream come true, and I am having a RIDICULOUS amount of fun working on the book!
For more on Doc Savage #6, click here.
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