This has been a question asked of me for longer than I can remember, actually. It seems as if from his first online appearance way back in the Frontier days where DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN was first serialized, people have been asking me on a regular basis; “Is Dillon his first or last name? Is it an alias? If it is, what’s his real name? And if it isn’t, then why does he only have one name?”
An old online writing pal of mine, Joel McCrory thinks that Dillon won’t reveal his last name because it’s Savage. Gave me a long laugh there (which I seriously needed, considering the summer I’ve had) but no…Dillon is in no way, shape or form related to the Savage clan. Except that the exploits of Dr. Clark Savage, Jr. have most definitely been an influence in the adventures of my creation.
So here’s the straight skinny: Dillon’s never had another name because when I created him that’s the way he presented himself to me; as Dillon. One name and one name only. And here’s one of the main reasons why. As I said many times elsewhere, there’s a lot of DNA in many characters in Dillon such as James Bond, Derek Flint, James West, Doc Savage, Race Bannon. But the one character that I think can legitimately claim to be Dillon’s creative grandfather is Paladin, the hero of the classic Western TV series “Have Gun Will Travel”
No, Dillon doesn’t doesn’t go around passing out business cards proclaiming his stock-in-trade. But like Paladin he is an highly educated man with extensive knowledge in martial arts (there are some episodes of “Have Gun Will Travel” where we see Paladin practicing judo). They both are proficient with weapons and while they both take pay for their services that doesn’t mean they don’t have a sense of honor or what is right. Remember in DILLON AND THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN BELL when he forfeits a twenty million dollar payday if Lord Murphy C’jai will blow up The Golden Bell so that nobody else will find it?
And they both go around in well-dressed suits until it comes time for them to go to work and then they both dress in highly distinctive and stylish outfits that proclaim to the world that they mean business. We know right from the start of the show that Paladin resides at the obscenely lavish and expensive Hotel Carlton in San Francisco (which I’ve always believed he secretly owned) but we’ve only just learned in DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE that he has an obscenely lavish and expensive private estate in Pennsylvania named Coppereye (in homage to Ian Fleming’s Bahamian Goldeneye estate)
And like Dillon, we went through most of Paladin’s career not knowing much about the man he was before taking up his unusual career until the 6th and final season’s first episode; “Genesis” in which we at last learn the origin of Paladin. I’m not gonna summarize it for you here. Go find it for yourself. It’s one of the best origin stories you’re ever gonna see. Trust me. But I will tell you this: at the end of the episode we still don’t find out what Paladin’s real name is.
Over the years I have been revealing Dillon’s background little by little and I think that those of you who have been following the character like it that way. But on the subject of his name content yourself with knowing him as Dillon.
And quite honestly…would you want to know him as anything else?