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DAVID AVALLONE talks DOC SAVAGE: RING OF FIRE #4, the grand finale, on sale in JUNE!

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  • DAVID AVALLONE talks DOC SAVAGE: RING OF FIRE #4, the grand finale, on sale in JUNE!

    DAVID AVALLONE talks DOC SAVAGE: RING OF FIRE #4, the grand finale, on sale in JUNE from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: David, as you reach the finale of this particular Doc Savage tale with June’s issue #4, how has it been to play in the Man of Bronze’s sandbox?

    DAVID AVALLONE: It’s been a great joy, and the achievement of a lifelong goal. I discovered Doc on my dad’s shelves when I was maybe six or seven years old, and he’s always been part of my life, and many happy memories. I actually had a hard time bringing myself to write the final issue because I didn’t want it to end.

    BB: This is not your first teaming with artist Dave Acosta. Tell us what he brings to your writing as an artist, and about your collaborations in general and with Doc in particular.

    DA: Dave is the best. I know I say that a lot, but I think I’m incredibly lucky to have him. Dave is a great cinematographer: he knows where the “camera” should be and how to cover a scene. Whenever he deviates from my script it is always, always an improvement. Dave is also a great actor. There’s a panel in issue one where Doc is tinkering with something while imparting a hard truth to Pat, and Dave drew him watching Pat out of the corner of his eye. Perfect. Like all great actors, he understands the psychology of the scenes I write and knows exactly how to bring them to life.

    BB: I know you have a great love for both the pulps and for this time period. How has it felt to use some notable historic figures, particularly Amelia Earhart, in “Ring of Fire”?

    DA: I have always been drawn to Amelia Earhart. Isn’t everyone? She was an amazing woman, and I did a lot of research on her before and during the writing of the comic. Very little of it ended up on the page, but it helped me know her. It’s also a responsibility. Amelia Earhart still, I think, looms large in the imaginations of some people and I want them to recognize the woman on the page as the woman in their hearts.

    BB: Without spoilers, what can you tell us about circumstances leading up to the climax in #4?

    DA: I like stories where you set a bunch of characters in motion and by the end they all come crashing together in the same place. Chapter Four is the end of the Bond movie, the assault on the bad guy’s island, the sidekicks against the henchmen, the clash of the titans. Things blow up, people die, hearts are broken and lessons are learned.

    BB: David, your scenarios are always steeped in detail, especially period pieces like this miniseries. I know you are a lover of history. Why is it important – to the reader, to the writer – to embellish these adventures with the popular trappings of the era?

    DA: I can only speak for myself, as a fan, but for me… part of the fun of adventures set in the 1930s is the setting itself. The whole world on the brink of disaster, and yet the amazing clothes and music and design… literally the best of times and the worst of times. And as a writer, the language is irresistible. I like the slang of the thirties: it’s colorful and a lot more fun to play with than present day dialogue. It’s also an enjoyable challenge: to make sure no one uses a colloquial phrase or reference that was unheard of in 1938. It doesn’t really matter if no one else notices or cares, it’s just something I take pride in.

    BB: John Sunlight has been a fun Doc foe, IMHO. What can you tell us about his creation?

    DA: In the canon of fantastic heroes, I think Doc is unique in this respect: he really doesn’t have an arch-foe. There is no Dr. Moriarty, no Blofeld, no Lex Luthor who comes back, again and again and again. He does have John Sunlight, and even John only gets two appearances… both of which end with grisly deaths. (Lester Dent wrote his way out of the first one: I had no trouble writing my way out of the second.) All that aside, Sunlight managed to make a big impression in just two outings, and this is probably why every Doc Savage writer since Dent finds bringing him back irresistible (I have no idea how others wrote around the end of The Devil Ghengis, but I’m satisfied with my solution.)

    Before I dove in, I re-read the two Lester Dent Sunlight stories and tried to my best to write that same character Dent created. Maybe he’s a year older, a year crazier, a year angrier… but still the same creepy lanky genius who wants to fix the world in, literally, the worst way.

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

    DA: I think I’m about two days away from being able to actually announce my next thing… but I’m writing a new four issue miniseries which turns a certain kind of historical figure into a fun and exciting comic book hero. I can’t say who she is… yet.