FF1982: Gil Kane’s Savage!

Gil Kane’s Savage! by Gil Kane and Archie Goodwin.

I think this is Fantagraphics’ third comic book, after The Flames of Gyro and Love and Rockets, so it’s historically interesting.

It’s a reprint of a magazine published in 1968, and RC Harvey gives some context in an opening essay:

He then goes on to talk a bit about the redundant text over each panel, and then a bit about how His Name is Savage! may be thought of as an early graphic novel.

And he’s totally correct about the redundancies. If you just skip the text, it’s a rather lively read, but with the text, it’s rather… plodding. But the thing is, I don’t really see how you could make a claim for this being an early graphic novel. For one, it’s not very long. It reads very much like a particularly over-written action comic strip, like if Secret Agent X-9 didn’t just have a daily recap panel at the start of each strip, but recapped endlessly…


The distinguishing feature is the hyper violence, I guess. This is a rather tame sequence; there’s real abuse later on.

In the interview, Kane describes the text above this panel to be the impetus to the entire book, sort of. Growl!

Well, I don’t know…

Oh yeah, there’s two interviews at the end. (Excerpted here we learn that few of the EC artists achieved distinction without the leaden prose of Feldstein or Kurtzman.)

One interview by Gary Groth, and one by Will Eisner, of all people.

I happened on to a mention of Gil Kane the other week while reading Pencilhead by Ted McKeever. In it he claimed that Kane used to steal original art from the Marvel offices. Apparently a lot. I thought “whoa, there’s going to be a reaction to this on the interweb”, especially since Kane is dead and can’t defend himself, but I haven’t even found a tweet about it.

Very odd.

Not this book; it’s not odd at all, but that Pencilhead thing…

This post is part of the Fantagraphics Floppies series.

3 thoughts on “FF1982: Gil Kane’s Savage!”

  1. I love Ted McKeever and really dug Pencilhead. I, too, was surprised that his series wasn’t seen as scathing or scandalous, but maybe it was too off the radar for folks or something? But there’s a ton of stories about people stealing original art from the archives. It’s really sad.

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