Abner Cadaver is a semi-wizard character (he’s a “mystical entity”) in Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon series. I already wrote about a different one a month ago, but I could write something about Dragon every week if I put my mind to it, and since we passed Peak Wizard months ago, I think it’s time to revisit the Dragon well.
Abner Cadaver was an important character in the early-ish/middle-ish days of Savage Dragon. He is the enemy of Fon-Ti and the creator of the Wicked Worm. He’s also a length of sentient twine, which is notable. In fact, he’s probably the only length of sentient twine in comic book history.
The name “Abner Cadaver” makes me wonder if Larsen keeps a list of names for characters and, when the time comes, designs characters around those names to suit the comic’s needs. That surely must be the case with a character like Heavy Flo. Maybe not the list part, but the character must have been created name-first… right? I think that can be pretty good way to work, creatively, as letting a name or a title guide you can lead you in unexpected directions. I know that’s how Morrissey often works (but don’t ask me to dig up the interview where I discovered that!), and it’s a method that I find myself using quite a bit as well. Not with character names, but with song titles. Having the title in mind is like having an assignment from a tiny editor living in your brain—it can keep you focused.
Of course, I’m just making presumptions about Larsen’s working methods, but he is good naming comic book characters (and Morrissey is good at titling songs).
As for Mr. Cadaver himself, while he’s not the #1 most unique-looking dude in the Savage Dragon universe, he’s a pretty great wizard, and he has the sentient twine thing going for him. A new issue of Savage Dragon is supposedly coming out soon, and a huge hardcover as well, so definitely track those down. The comic is currently in an alien invasion arc, and the hardcover will collect the early issues. Abner doesn’t appear until issue 26, so he will probably be in volume two or three. Mentally pre-order those now!