CGC Registry

DBS’s Savage Set


Set Type: Savage (Valiant)
Owner: DirtbagSailor
Last Modified: 5/15/2019
Views: 33

Rank: 1
Score: 664
Leading by: 78
Points to Higher Rank: N/A

Set Description:

My hand drawn savage logo art

"Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife – pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead... ...but, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by prehistoric creatures from another time...

This is the story of how they lost their humanity..."

- Valiant Entertainment, 2016

My hand drawn savage logo art

"Once they lose everything – and each other – what part of them will endure?
Where will the man inside each of them end... ...and the animal begin?"

Savage Front

During the Valiant Summit 2016 held on May 17th, 2016 at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theatre, former Valiant Entertainment CEO and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani officially announced the launch of Savage later that same year in November as part of a seven title publication plan referred to as "The Future of Valiant." In addition to Savage, the plan also would include Faith, Generation Zero, Britannia, Harbinger Renegades (which was later changed to Harbinger Renegade), Divinity III: Stalinverse, and Bloodshot USA.

Savage was to be released in "Prestige Format" as a four issue mini-series, written by B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick, Legends of the Dark Knight), and featuring artwork by the art team of Clayton Henry (Hawaiian Dick, Legends of the Dark Knight), Lewis LaRosa (Bloodshot, Divinity), and colorist Brian Reber (Harbinger, Bloodshot).

Former Valiant Entertainment (VEI) Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons presented LaRosa with the task of creating Kevin "KJ" Sauvage Jr. ("Savage), and his parents Kevin Sauvage Sr. and Veronica Sauvage. LaRosa's hand written creator notes (which I own) state;

“When Warren Simmons asked me to design Savage and his parents, I had no idea that he was a Turok analog of any kind, which I can appreciate looking back. Instead I was told about how his parents were rich and famous, how they crashed on an island, how the boy grew up feral - the impression I got was "Jungle Book" set in the VU. Right up my alley. Initially, the boy started off as a 10 yo but was later asked to make him 15. Turns out it's a really tough age to nail for me! Which is why I scrapped my first attempt at the cover. I struggled with that first draft to long, eating up the day of the deadline. Frustrated and running on fumes, I scrapped it at 3 am, pulled out another sheet, and banged out the final cover by lunchtime. I actually feel he looks a little too young here, but hopefully I'll be able to work it out on the interiors. I feel like editorial picked the most generic layout for this cover, but they wanted a good, clear shot for Savage's introduction to the world."

- Lewis LaRosa
7 - 20 - 16

Divinity Front

Many fans and collectors seemed to believe at the time (many continue to believe) that the release of Savage was Valiant Entertainment's solution to not owning the publishing rights for Turok. Online sources such as Bleedingcool.com seemed to fuel such speculation, while online forums such as Reddit also made similar arguments. However, outside of the use of dinosaurs in the story, there is no validity to this comparison. First, Shamdasani (who was the CEO at the time) stated to me in a conversation at North Carolina Comic Con that "The best way for Valiant to do a Turok book... ...is for Valiant to NOT do a Turok book...." Second, LaRosa (who created the character) stated clearly in his creator notes that he was not even thinking about Turok at all, but rather drew inspiration from Rudyard Kipling's 1894 novel, The Jungle Book, and third, B. Clay Moore (who wrote the series) has stated publicly that he drew inspiration from Rudyard Kipling's 1894 novel, The Jungle Book, Edgar Rice Burroughs's 1912 novel, Tarzan of the Apes which was first published in the October, 1912 issue of the pulp magazine, The All-Story. Fourth, Turok is a 220 pound adult Native American, whereas Savage is a 160 pound 15 year old caucasian British boy.

(The All-Story was originally launched in September of 1882 in New York City under the name Argosy.)

The original design for Kevin "KJ" Sauvage Jr. can be viewed HERE;
The original design for Kevin Sauvage Sr. can be viewed HERE;
The original design for Veronica Sauvage can be viewed HERE.

Savage is perhaps the finest example of mysterious dinosaur infested jungle island survivor fiction published in recent memory, and is an escape from reality that suspends disbelief while taking readers on a journey into their childhood fantasies. The story is told in two time periods; present day (which unfolds with almost complete silence) drawn by LaRosa and colored by Reber, and the past (where the majority of the dialogue takes place) drawn by Henry, and also colored by Reber.Divinity Front

LaRosa's work on Savage can only be compared to letting a child lose in a candy store. LaRosa completely loves drawing dinosaurs and knows quite a bit about dinosaur anatomy, behavior, and genera/species. LaRosa’s cover and interior pages reflect his passion, and are as visually stunning as they are action packed. Employing (what is now considered to be) his signature art style using Copic markers for rich texture with Micron pens for detail, LaRosa demonstrates a mastery of his craft and created a fantastic setting, while keeping the focus exactly where it belongs; on the characters and action! Reber is the perfect match for LaRosa (and also Henry as we will discuss in a moment) as the pair have previously worked together on multiple occasions. Reber not only knows how to best color LaRosa’s layered greytones, but adds so much organic life to each page that it is difficult to ask for more. Reber provides beautiful layers of depth to jungle plants and foliage, fire, sand, and water. Human (and dinosaur) skin is life-like and with a visible texture that almost allows the events of each panel to leap from the page!

For flashback sequences, the team of Henry and Reber take the wheel. There is a significant and noticeable contrast in style between LaRosa and Henry’s art styles which are both top-tier in terms of quality. While LaRosa’s style features rich layers of greytones, and almost paints each page with markers, Henry’s style features a phenomenal understanding of perspective with perhaps the steadiest hand and cleanest lines in the industry today! Henry achieves an incredible quality of work while minimizing any unnecessary excess. He creates consistently perfect work from start to finish in such a way that is truly remarkable and among the most professional work in print. There are so many aspects and examples that can be discussed, however, one only need to look at Kevin Sauvage Sr.'s hair and beard to see a flawless use of hatching to create a perfect shading gradient in hairstyle. Henry’s work may appear simple, but trust that it only “appears” that way, and you would be hard pressed to duplicate his level of artistic mastery. Henry’s style also allows Reber the freedom to do what he does best; bring art to life! Using the same color palette as he did with LaRosa’s work, Reber again demonstrates his ability to enhance even the finest of pencil and ink. Reber creates shadows, color depth, lighting effects, temperature, and structure with each drop of color.

Divinity Front

Kipling and Burroughs's influence on Savage is evident; however, Savage felt fresh and organic. There is a "savage" violence, with the concept of mercy being all but forgotten, in this story. Death is everywhere, and can come from the razor-sharp talons of a dinosaur, the spear of an unknown island hunter, or at the hands of the protagonist, Kevin "KJ" Sauvage Jr.. There is also a mystical element at play in this story that is yet to be fully understood. Yes, the predatory dinosaurs in this story are savage killing machines; however, it is mankind that appears to have lost its way. This is a story of love, sacrifice, survival, hope, and despair. It is a story that focuses on Darwinism and survival of the fittest.

Following the results of the 2016 CGC Registry Award Winners and the honors that my Divinity (2015) had received, I began to consider competitive options for future Registry Awards. In July of 2016, I contacted Lewis LaRosa and his art representative "Sonic" Dan Moler to purchase LaRosa's original cover artwork for Savage #1 (which can be viewed HERE). LaRosa was able to work a reasonable deal with me for his original (published) cover art, and also included his (scrapped) cover art, hand-written creator notes, and all four original preliminary cover sketch concepts. Three of the four preliminary cover sketch concepts LaRosa included were later used for the published covers of Savage #1, Savage #2, and Savage #3 (the cover art for Savage #4 was actually part of the action sequence which unfolds in the first few pages of that issue). LaRosa and Moore both discussed with editorial the idea of making Kevin "KJ" Sauvage Jr. of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent in an effort to introduce some additional diversity into the Valiant Universe; however, editorial reportedly stated that the idea creating a minority character named "Savage" might be considered potentially offensive to many readers due to a number of (fairly obvious) reasons, and so it was decided that the character be of caucasian descent. This creative difference can be clearly seen when comparing LaRosa's (scrapped) cover art with LaRosa's (published) cover art.

Savage FrontIn February of 2016, Greg Holland (the founder of ValiantFans.com) started a forum thread in which he calculated the "Top 100 Rarest Valiant books 2012-present" using public sales data from Previews and Comichron from 2012 through January 2016. Two years later, in February of 2018, I used a different formula to calculate the "Top 200 Rarest Valiant books 2012-present" which listed Savage #1 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch), Savage #2 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch), Savage #3 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch), and Savage #4 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch) in the top 50 rarest variants published by Valiant Entertainment in the modern era. However, while both mine and Greg's formulas were able to identify similar rare books based on public sales data, we later discovered that Valiant Entertainment sales data was not accurately accounted for by Comichron, and were therefore (very close estimates; however, also) inaccurate. Later that same year:

COLLECTOR'S NOTE: In a post made on ValiantFans.com in August of 2018, former Valiant Entertainment CEO and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani 100% confirmed the exact printed quantities in circulation for several rare Valiant issues and/or Variants. With regards to Savage, the following numbers were provided:

• 300 Printed Copies - Savage #1 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)
• 350 Printed Copies - Savage #2 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)
• 450 Printed Copies - Savage #3 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)
• 275 Printed Copies - Savage #4 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)

Shamdasani (AKA Dino) further wrote:

"...We worked ourselves to the bone to do the right thing in every department. Tricky making sure there were enough copies ordered to produce a market, not over printing for damages and comps etc to such an extent that we softened the market and still keeping the numbers low enough that it accurately represented retailer perceived demand. Not to mention making the higher end covers cool enough to be sought after..."

The ValiantFans.com forum thread in which Shamdasani confirmed these print runs can be viewed HERE.

While these confirmed print runs are exceptionally low, the most difficult to find books for this set were actually the Savage #1 (Third Printing), which many collectors speculated had never actually been printed and/or released due to almost zero copies available in the market, and Savage #3 (Second Print) which was somewhat less difficult to find, but with also greater condition sensitivity.

In the middle of November, 2016, about a week or two prior to the release of Savage #1, I received a package from the Valiant Entertainment office in New York City which contained a mint condition copy of Savage #1 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch), which (I believe) is the 1st copy to physically be in the hands of a collector. That same book is included in, and is the centerpiece for this registry set. The rare combination of my owning the original (published) cover art, (scrapped) cover art, hand-written creator notes, and all four original preliminary cover sketch concepts for this series, as well as the earliest known copy of Savage #1 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch) made it 120% impossible for me to NOT diligently collect and proudly display the world's best Savage Registry Set!

This was no easy task, and it must be noted that this set was started as I was completing a two year military assignment in the Middle East, and my subsequent return home to the United States. During my time home, I was again deployed the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in response to the Hurricanes IRMA and MARIA relief efforts, which most certainly delayed this collecting goal (and for a very good reason). As with my Divinity Registry Set, a significant amount of networking was required to obtain these books at all, in addition to reaching out to creator for their schedules to gather signatures and sketches for this set. There are at least a dozen collectors who were involved to support this effort, and there can be no doubt that it otherwise would not have been possible without their assistance, and for this I am most grateful.

Savage #1 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)Savage #2 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)Savage #3 (Fletcher)Savage #3 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)Savage #4 (LaRosa 1:50 B&W Sketch)

Savage #1

Savage #1 (2016) original (published) cover art, (scrapped) cover art, and handwritten creator notes framed with all four original preliminary cover sketch concepts by Lewis LaRosa

This original artwork features the 1st appearance of Kevin "KJ" Sauvage Jr. also known as "Savage."

Slot DescriptionCert #GradeScore
Harbinger Renegades/Savage Ashcan Double Feature #nn 1450113021 9.832 Shop eBay
Savage 1 0304321014 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Guedes Variant Cover 1218635004 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 LaRosa Sketch Cover 1477092007 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Preview Edition 0304328023 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Retailer Incentive Edition 0308758058 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Sketch Edition 2039317016 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Variant Cover 1577192007 9.826 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Second Printing 1577192031 9.826 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Third Printing 2039317013 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 1 Fourth Printing 1577192027 9.826 Shop eBay
Savage 2 0306430010 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 2 Cat Cosplay Edition 2039317008 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 2 LaRosa Sketch Cover 1477092018 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 2 Sienkiewicz Variant Cover 1218635003 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 2 Sketch Cover 1219628017 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 2 Variant Cover B 1477092009 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 3 1217867024 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 3 Fletcher Variant Cover 1477090018 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 3 LaRosa Sketch Cover 1226363003 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 3 Massafera Variant Cover 1220198003 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 3 Sketch Cover 1477090017 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 4 1577192013 9.826 Shop eBay
Savage 4 LaRosa Sketch Cover 1566621021 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 4 Sauvage Variant Cover 1566621018 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 4 Sketch Cover 1229318013 9.824 Shop eBay
Savage 4 Variant Cover 1477090024 9.824 Shop eBay

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