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GIL KANE'S SAVAGE

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Full Name: Savage
Nationality: American
Organization: The Committee
Occupation Agent

Creator: Gil Kane
Time Span: 1968 - 2020

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Savage is an agent with The Committee.
       The Committee is "a highest priority intelligence group. It was not listed on any government record or included in any budget. It had no official name or designation. It was responsible only to the Present of the United State". Its purpose was straightforward: "In the country's espionage dealings, when every other available avenue failed or could not be utilized, The Committee was called. The anonymous group of men who headed the organization would then select the agent best qualified for the job".
       Headquarters for The Committee is a "small, shabby office building" a few blocks from the U.N. building. A lumbering freight elevator is capable of "dipping many levels below the building's basement" to the quite large and elegantly fitted offices.
       When we first meet Savage, he is staring out a barred window looking at the scaffolding erected just for him the prison yard of the facility holding him. He muses that from the time he first started working for the organization, "he knew one day it might end like this". Furthermore, "Killings in the high-level espionage league could not always be explained or justified to local law enforcement agencies. Accepted policy for The Committee was to deny its assassin even existed". Such was the case with Savage which is why he was languishing in his cell. At least, that is, until The Committee decided they needed him again.
       A bit of history that we learn about Savage has him as an impressionable and earnest soldier in a small select group of soldiers operating behind enemy lines under a Brigadier Simon Mace. They were the ones given the impossible missions with no chance of survival and yet through tenacity and toughness and pure spite, they pulled them off. After the War, Mace started a mercenary outfit and Savage went with him. As the people that Mace hired out to got more and more despotic and the work more disgusting, Savage finally had a break with his CO which meant leaving behind the only woman Savage ever cared for, the General's daughter, Sheila.
       Ten years have passed since then and most of that time Savage has worked for The Committee. Being without any family to come home to and knowing he would never have one, Savage was a near perfect operative candidate for The Committee.
       To get a good idea of what Savage looks like, think of the actor Lee Marvin and put an even more intense glare in his eyes and a sterner grimace on his lips. There can be little doubt looking at Savage that this is a very tough man who has seen very tough times and has survived them by being even tougher. Another telling passage came as Savage walked down a mid-Manhattan street, "Women gave him involuntary glances of mingled fear and excitement. Men tried to ignore him, yet felt relieved and safer when he'd past".

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:4
First Appearance:1968
Last Appearance:2020

       In 1968 Gil Kane published one of the very first American Graphic Novels for his character of Savage. The character was cross between the famous British agent with the codename of 007 and the Lee Marvin character of Walker in a movie
called Point Break.
       Kane had plans for a series of at least 3 stories, but the first were returned. Yet some of the 2nd issue was found and so we have a brief look at what could have been. The 2nd and 3rd stories were never published.
       Then in 1982 Fantagraphic was granted the right to reprint the 1st story in full. They talked Kane into reviving the character and he did only once. Kane was unhappy with what Fantagraphic did and stopped the contract.
       Almost two decades passed and then Dark Horse Comics made a deal in 2000, but Gil Kane died and Dark Horse abandoned that idea.
       So another two decades passed and in late 2019 the new company of Paper Movies made a deal with the Gil Kane Estate to revive the character of Savage again and they published their new story in early 2020.

1 The Return of the Half-Man! The Return of the Half-Man!
Published by Adventure House Press Inc.
Contributors: Gil Kane (writer & artist), Archie Goodwin (writer)
Copyright: 1968

First published in His Name Is Savage #1, June 1968 and reprinted by Fantagraphics in 1982 as Gil Kane's Savage #1.
Simon Mace is a retired General that has become a cyborg and he kidnaps the U.S. President. Savage must save the President the only way he can with guts and  his .357 magnum.


2 Piece By Piece Piece By Piece
Published by Adventure House Press Inc.
Contributors: Gil Kane (writer & artist), Neal Adams (artist)
Copyright: 1968

Unpublished in His Name Is Savage #2, August 1968.
Savage has a bad taste for a killing done, because he has to dispose of the body.
Click here to read the story.

3 Gunning For Savage! Gunning For Savage!
Published by Fantagraphic
Contributors: Unknown (writer and artist)
Copyright: 1986

Published in Anything Goes #1, October 1986 and meant to be a continuing story that ended with just 4 pages.
There are some real bad guys gunning for Savage and he ends up taking them out before they can take him out.
Note: Kane was most likely upset that the publishers had omitted his script, so he canceled his contract with them which ended the story.
Click here to read the story.

4 The Business Of Death! The Business Of Death!
Published by Paper Movies
Contributors: Steven Grant (writer), Jesus Antonio Hernandez Portaveritas (artist), Falk Hansel (colors), Raul Manriquez (colors), Timothy Truman (cover)
Copyright: 2020

Published in His Name Is Savage GN #1, January 2020.
Savage, the ultimate spy enforcer tries reining in the international community's illegal excesses and by doing so is framed by a worldwide criminal group. On the run from the government he has sworn to protect with his name and record removed he becomes the cure for the disease that plagues the world. But is he worse?


MY COMMENTS

     I never saw the original comic when it came out. I never saw the revival in the 80's. Seeing them now, I would have loved the original and not cared for the revival.
     The original was an awesome amount of darn fine prose augmented with gritty and fantastic artwork. Its follow-on story piece shows artwork that was still good though they changed the look of the character, probably to not get sued by Lee Marvin, but the writing was still exceptional.
     The revival in the Anything Goes has artwork that is of a different feel to it but still quite attractive and worth viewing. The total lack of any writing of any sort, let alone none of the terrific prose the original had - well that just makes no sense whatsoever! I can see why Gil Kane dropped out.
     I haven't see but a couple pages of the resurrection by Steven Grant. The artwork is alright (not my favorite style but not bad at all) though I did not care for the depiction of Savage. The writing looks really good, though, so I would hope the series can continue.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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