“Comics are sick. Savant will be an antibody. Savant shall be a forum to celebrate the good and condemn the moronic; a testing ground for theories. We want what’s good in comics to be fruitful and multiply so that it may push out the wretched and the week. Evolve or die.”

From the opening page of Savant issue one – May 4th, 2000

Despite what I’ve been told by many a crusty old retailer, I spend a lot of my time digging through the comic industry’s past in an attempt to learn and grow from lessons of the past. One of my earlier efforts in this was the acquisition of every last drop of Savant that was available to me – something that took quite a bit of shoving in the Wayback Machine mines.

For those who might not know (and considering this involves a somewhat niche corner of the comics internet of days gone by) Savant was an online comics zine originally headlined by three chaps, Alec Austin, Dave Potter and Matt Fraction (yes, the writer of Sex Criminals, Adventureman and so many other bits of readiness). It was a loud piece of guerrilla criticism, pushing the comic industry to be better through righteous anger. 

“Savant will be intellectual freeware, packaged both in HTML, and in PDF format for download and distribution by its readers. Print issues out, leave them in stores, post Savant on your site, just don’t change anything. THIS INFORMATION WANTS TO BE SEEN, TO MOVE, TO SPREAD.”

Savant No 01, May 04, 2020

In these days of fire, I often find myself thinking of Savant and the things it wanted to do. There’s an overwhelming sense of fire in the issues – the first ones especially, when you can tell everyone’s guts are molten hot. It’s something I recognize in myself in my columns for The Beat where I’m yelling just on the off chance someone out there is listening.

Part of my writing here is going to be an exploration of Savant, what it said and what still needs to be said today. As the writing contained in the pages will often be two decades old, I’m going to forgive a lot in the face of growth I’ve seen from many who wrote in the zine. All of it comes from a need, wishing to make things better, sometimes failing, but always learning and pushing forward. That said, anything that needs to be called out will definitely be called out if egregious, or ignored as to not dredge up needless harm.

Hold your heroes tight, but also hold them accountable, etc etc.

Check back here looking through the tag Savant savant to get the whole kit and caboodle.

“Savant will celebrate creators as well as their creations. Savant will not be sycophantic; it will be filled with awe and wonder. Savant will not take shit lying down.

“Welcome to the era of Rock Star Comics. Welcome to Savant.”

Savant No. 01 – may 04, 2000

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