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    DAVID AVALLONE talks DOC SAVAGE: RING OF FIRE #3, on sale in MAY from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: David, I know we have probably gone over this before, so great is your love of and work on pulp characters. But why would you say Doc Savage is the ultimate pulp character, why do writers like yourself enjoy writing his adventures so much – and we have seen that with dozens of writers during Doc’s years at Dynamite – and is there any aspect of the Man of Bronze you would change if you were doing a “what-if” tale of him?

    DAVID AVALLONE: Doc is the ultimate pulp character because he starts there and will always be associated with the pulps. He doesn’t come from the radio, like The Shadow, and there really aren’t multiple “official” versions of who he is and how he operates. (Don’t get me wrong: I love the labyrinth of mystery and identity around the Shadow so much that I wrote a whole series about it last year.) Doc is the first “superhero” in the modern sense of the word: his roots run through Hercules and Robin Hood (among a dozen others), but there’s something completely 20th Century about him. In a way, he’s how America saw itself at the moment of his birth (a few years before Superman came along and stole his first name and secret Arctic refuge.) Clark Savage is a doctor and an athlete and an artist and a detective and a moral crusader. He is relentlessly curious and drawn to do good. He has vast power and wealth and is capable of anything. That’s America on the cusp of World War Two.

    I don’t know that I’d change any aspect of the Man of Bronze. Given free reign to do anything with him, I might want to write the ending to his story. A Twilight of the Man of Bronze, maybe.

    BB: Like your fellow authors, Anthony Del Col and Michael Uslan, you seem to enjoy working historical figures into your comics work, and Doc is the perfect vehicle for that. What steps have you taken in your representation of Amelia Earhart and others to clearly (as clearly as “Ring of Fire” allows) definite these to readers who, seriously, might have never encountered these iconic historical personages before?

    DA: I try my best to avoid the terrible expository dialogue of the “surely you remember your friend Amelia was the greatest aviatrix in the world” variety. I don’t think it’s necessary to know much about the biography of Amelia Earhart (or Franklin Roosevelt, for that matter) to enjoy or understand their appearances in the series. But even so… I’m a big fan of research and I get the details as right as I possibly can. If you already knew that Amelia’s husband was George Putnam, or that FDR had a secretary named Missy, or that the U.S.S. Augusta was the flagship for Admiral Harry Yarnell, then you will enjoy seeing those things pop up in the comic. Probably most readers won’t know or care, but it helps me feel grounded in the “world” of the story.

    BB: What can you tell us about John Sunlight?

    DA: In this issue, I get a chance to retell a little bit of John Sunlight’s origin story from the original pulps. Sunlight is somewhat of a mystery even to Doc Savage: Lester Dent doesn’t tell us anything about his life before 1934. As we meet him, John Sunlight is an escapee from a Soviet gulag on a mission of revenge. By his second appearance, he has become even more of a dark funhouse mirror image of Doc. Tall, impossibly strong, a genius who is able to decipher Doc’s inventions and use them for his own ends. The last time Doc saw him he had a plan to bring peace to the world by taking it over, and he was seemingly torn to bits by his own followers. Yet somehow here he is… back to bedevil the world.

    BB: Can you tell us anything of Sunlight’s evil plan, as hinted at in solicits?

    DA: Without giving it away… the key to the plan is all in the title of the book: the Ring of Fire is the series of volcanoes which circle the entire Pacific Ocean. What if you could just set off a Krakatoa or a Mount St. Helens with the flick of a switch?

    BB: Any other interesting side characters that may be debuting in issue #3, coming out in May?

    DA: In issue #3 we finally spend a lot of quality time with Amelia, which I’ve been looking forward to. We will also meet a pair of gentleman who represent a certain Axis power, coming in to meet with John Sunlight.

    BB: Artist Dave Acosta really creates a great mood for your script with his art. How closely do you guys collaborate? Seems seamless!

    DA: This is our third project together, and it’s always a blast. We collaborate very closely. At the beginning, before I even begin writing, we swap visual ideas for the characters and the settings. I start a Pinterest page and we pin photo reference there. Particularly in a period-set comic, I think it’s helpful for me to give Dave as much as I possibly can for him to work with. He’s a great artist and has great ideas of his own, but we both think it’s helpful for him to know what I pictured to begin with, and from there he can take it and run with it.

    He shows me the pages as he finishes them, and if I see anything I’d like to tweak I suggest it then. 99 percent of the pages are perfect the first time around, and my tweaks are often microscopic. Once the whole issue is drawn I go back and do one more pass at the dialogue, because sometimes Dave’s art will suggest something I hadn’t previously thought of.

    BB: David, any projects present or near-future you can tell us about?

    DA: I’m writing another four-issue miniseries for Dynamite but it hasn’t been officially announced yet so I have to keep it under my hat. (I’m not wearing a hat, but try to imagine I am.) It’s a very exciting project, centered around a main character who is definitely NOT a 1930s pulp adventure hero, but who is a thrill to write nonetheless.