Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Savage Amusement*

Bill Savage is a complete nutter. This has never been in doubt, in any of his various incarnations. In Prog 1, we learn that his wife and child were brutally murdered by the evil Volgan invaders, which certainly explains his desire to kill Volgs by the truckload - but it doesn't quite explain his lunacy, and the smiling abandon with which he pursues his goal of total Volg eradication.

At this time, I'm not going to talk about Disaster 1990 (in which Savage fights gangs in a flooded London), although that has its moments. I'm also not yet ready to discuss 'Savage' - Pat Mills and Charlie Adlard's rather chilling take on what it would be like to be an occupied country in light of certain other occupations taking place in the real world.

But I am interested in a little backstory behind that new series. Apparently, Bill Savage has topped Tharg's polls as an old character readers would most like to see revived. (I think this comes up somewhere in TPO, or possibly in various Pat Mills interviews). Rumours were twofold: 1) a film script has been written for 'Invasion', starring Ray Winstone 2) Garth Ennis was down to write new adventures of the Volg-basher, with a brief to go for decidedly over-the-top hyper-violence and comic nuttery from our hero Bill.

In the end, it doesn't really matter if either rumour is true. Winstone would be the perfect Savage, assuming the film gets made in the next 10 years (I'm not holding my breath on that, though). And Ennis sort of actually HAS written Bill Savage, in the disguise of Marvel's 'The Punisher' - a story about a soldier who goes nuts after his wife and children are brutally murdered by drug dealers.

What really interests me, though, is the idea that Ennis was briefed by Tharg to UP the levels of violence, nastiness and lunacy of Bill Savage. You see, this just isn't possible, because the man came out that way right from the start. At least, when he was being drawn by Mike Dorey...

Oh my God. Look at that man's face. In the last panel in particular, he's just dying to unleash medieval fury on some poor volg. Sure, Ennis could think up some new and inventive methods of despatch for Bill, but he surely couldn't make him any more mental, and in relation to that, any funnier.

Of course, it's not all laughs, as we're reminded here and there how cruel the volgs are. The interesting thing about parts of Invasion (and most of 'Savage') is how easy it is to get behind Bill, and to even feel his pain. Dorey again, showing how Bill suffers as he deals out wrecking ball death:

*do you see what I did there? This post is about Bill Savage being funny, right, but it's also the title of the first Virgin Judge Dredd novel by David Bishop. Which I have actually read. It was ok. Not worth its own post, though.


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