BYRON BREWER: Doc Savage is all over the place these days, David. Tell us a little about how this “special” came about.
David Walker: When Dynamite first acquired the rights to Doc Savage, I asked them if they had any plans for Pat Savage. They told me that Pat was going play a significant role in Chris Roberson’s run, but they hoped to do more with her in the future. I asked that they keep me in mind. Clearly, they kept me in mind.
BB: As I understand it, Pat Savage, Doc’s cousin, is the star here. How did Pat get the spotlight?
David Walker: Pat got the spotlight because she deserves the spotlight. She was first introduced in 1934—that makes her older than Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, or just about any other female hero. But with only a few exceptions, Pat has never had the spotlight. I’ve wanted to see a really fun solo adventure for Pat Savage since I was a kid.
BB: Doc has been working in all time periods. Where are we in time with Pat?
David Walker: This story is set in the 1930s. I wanted Pat to be fairly young, and still in a place where Doc doesn’t take her very seriously. Chris Roberson did a great job of making Pat a much more viable and active member of the team. He did what I would’ve done, had I been writing a Doc Savage story. But since this is a Pat story, I decided to set it at a time when her role wasn’t clearly defined. I also like the fact that during this time period, women were expected to be either the damsel in distress, the love interest, or the femme fatale, and Pat is none of these.
BB: Tell us a little about your perceptions of Pat as a character. She has been around quite awhile.
David Walker: I fell in love with Pat Savage when I was about 10-years-old, right when I started reading Doc Savage books. She seemed like the coolest character ever, and I actually started writing and drawing my own Pat Savage comic. Somewhere, I still have a picture I drew of her. When I got older, and reread some of those adventures, I realized that Pat was never fully utilized as well as she could’ve been. Those stories were written in the 1930s and 40s, and with only one or two exceptions, Pat never really got to prove herself. She would be present, but somewhat marginalized. She wasn’t the superhero I had remembered her being when I was a kid. I wanted the opportunity to have her become a bit more of a badass.
BB: Will we see Doc and the boys in this special at all?
David Walker: Doc makes a brief appearance, but I made a conscious decision not to have him be an active part of the action. A huge part of the story is Pat proving that she’s capable of doing anything Doc or the Fantastic Five can do, but there’s no way she could do that with them present. Instead, I introduced two sidekicks for Pat to have—and I think these two, who happen to be cousins as well, will say something special about Pat and the company she keeps.
BB: Can you give us any inkling of the big bad here?
David Walker: Like I said, this story takes place in the 1930s. The bad guys are Japanese spies, who have a small army of ninjas at their disposal. Seriously. Because of the era, I wrestled with having her go up against Nazis, and in an early draft of the story, the villains were very much sinister Nazis right out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I wanted to try something different, and at that time in history, Japan had invaded China and Hong Kong, which gave me an excuse to bring in ninjas.
BB: Why is artist Kewber Baal right for this book?
David Walker: First of all, Kewber does great action sequences. There’s also a moody intensity to his non-action sequences. That combination plays well to the story, because it is a combination of action, as well as being a very emotional journey for Pat. It was really important for me that we have an artist that didn’t draw Pat like a sex object. She needs to be a badass. Everything I’ve seen of Kewber’s other work tells me he’s the right person for the job.
BB: More and more these days, we are seeing strong females becoming leads in comics. Would you write a Pat Savage comic should the opportunity present itself?
David Walker: Is that a trick question? Of course I would. I introduced two supporting characters, just in case Dynamite ever asked me to do another Pat Savage story. I’d like to give her a team of her own, which would be very different from Doc’s team. But also I’d like to give readers a positive female hero to inspire them. I think it is important for all readers to see strong representations of women. I also think the comic industry as a whole needs to recognize that there are a lot of girls and women who read comics, and then cater to that market, without pandering. Not every girl wants to be a princess or have a pet pony—some want to go on adventures, blow things up, and kick a bunch of butt.