Erik Larsen: Wikis

  
  
  

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Erik Larsen

Born Erik J. Larsen
December 8, 1962 (1962-12-08) (age 47)
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Writer, Publisher
Notable works Savage Dragon
Cover to The Savage Dragon (original miniseries) #1. Art by Larsen

Erik J. Larsen (born December 8, 1962) is an American comic book writer, artist, and publisher. He is best known for his work on Savage Dragon, as one of the founders of Image Comics, and for his work on Spider-Man for Marvel Comics.

Contents

Biography

Larsen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a child growing up in Bellingham, Washington and Albion, California, he created several comic books featuring versions of a character named "The Dragon", whom he has since described as a Batman like character who drove a car copied from Speed Racer's Mach Five. The Dragon turned into a superhero using a magic word to trigger his powers like Captain Marvel. He and two friends produced a fanzine called Graphic Fantasy, which featured this character.

Early Work

Larsen's first paid work was for the anthology Megaton, co-creating and illustrating a feature called "Vanguard" with publisher Gary Carlson. A revised version of the Dragon debuted in issue #2 and appeared in the following two issues. Larsen went on to work for AC Comics on Sentinels of Justice and The DNAgents for Eclipse Comics.

DC and Marvel

Larsen did work at DC on The Outsiders, Teen Titans, Adventures of Superman, and Doom Patrol. For Marvel he did an Amazing Spider-Man fill-in story and five issues of Punisher. A Nova story for Marvel Comics Presents was greenlit but cancelled because it did not fit with an upcoming New Warriors series that would feature the character. Though he continues to write and illustrate The Savage Dragon, Larsen has occasionally returned to Marvel to write and illustrate, on titles such as Fantastic Four, The Defenders, Wolverine, and Nova. He has also done work for DC writing Aquaman.

Spider-Man

In 1991 Erik Larsen replaced Todd McFarlane on Amazing Spider-Man with issue #329, having previously penciled issues 287, 324, and 327. With writer David Michelinie and Larsen the series experienced increasing sales, with stories such as "The Cosmic Spider-Man", "The Return of the Sinister Six" (#334-339), and "The Powerless Spider-Man" (#341-343). He left the title with #350, leaving it to series mainstay Mark Bagley with #351. Larsen again succeeded McFarlane on Spider-Man, where he wrote and drew the six-issue story arc "Revenge of the Sinister Six" (#18-23).

Image Comics

Seeking greater control and profit over the work they created, he and six other illustrators abandoned Marvel to form Image Comics, where Larsen launched a series featuring the Savage Dragon.

Savage Dragon

Like many of Erik Larsen's characters, the Savage Dragon was created by Larsen while he was a child in elementary school. It is loosely based on the Creature from the Black Lagoon, an amphibious gilled man. In his youth Larsen drew the Dragon in homemade comic books. The original Dragon, inspired by elements from Captain Marvel, Batman, Speed Racer and later The Incredible Hulk, differs greatly from the modern incarnation. After launching Savage Dragon in a professionally published comic book, Larsen returned to the original and reworked his designs into the characters William Jonson, a police officer ally of the Dragon, and Flash Mercury, the "Spectacular Dragon".

Much later, a greatly redesigned Savage Dragon was featured in two issues of Graphic Fantasy, a self-published title with a small print run, published by Larsen and two friends. In this incarnation, the Dragon was a widower and a retired member of a government-sponsored superhero team. Subsequently, the Dragon made another appearance in the third issue of Gary Carlson's Megaton anthology in its Vanguard strip, which Larsen had been drawing. In these appearances, the character of the Dragon remained basically the same as it had been in Graphic Fantasy, with a few details modified (such as the inclusion of his wife, who was dead in his previous incarnation). Both the Graphic Fantasy and Megaton issues containing the Dragon have since been reprinted in high-quality editions.

In 1992, when Larsen left Marvel to co-found Image Comics, he reworked the character for the new publication venture. This time, the Dragon was a massively muscled green amnesiac, who joined the Chicago police department after being discovered in a burning field. Initially debuting in a three-issue mini-series, the Savage Dragon comic book met with enough success to justify a monthly series, launched in 1993. To this day, Larsen continues to write and illustrate the series entirely by himself, and has maintained a reasonably consistent monthly schedule (save for occasional lapses) in comparison with the other original Image Comics titles. Larsen has occasionally produced ancillary mini-series, and sometimes allowed other creators to produce stories featuring the Dragon or other characters from the series.

According to Larsen, the series is aimed at "older Marvel readers who are about ready to throw in the towel on comics altogether. It's the missing link between Marvel and Vertigo. More mature than Marvel; less pretentious than Vertigo. The kind of comics [he wants] to read. [The] book is really self-indulgent."

Savage Dragon is one of two original Image Comics titles still published (the other being Spawn) and the only one still written and drawn by its creator. The character was also adapted into a short-lived (26 episodes) USA Network animated series that started in 1995.

Publisher

In 2004, Larsen became publisher of Image Comics, taking responsibility for all comics produced by creators other than the Image partners and their studios. Larsen stepped down as publisher in July 2008 and executive director Eric Stephenson was promoted to the position.[1]

In an interview[2] with comic book website Project Fanboy Larsen explained that the rumors of a coup for the position were baseless and gave his reasons for stepping down as publisher.

. . . fans wanted more Savage Dragon and I wanted to do more Savage Dragon — but it was not possible to be both a fulltime publisher and a fulltime cartoonist efficiently. Something had to give, and given the fact that Image was in a good place — going in the right direction — and Eric Stephenson was completely up to speed and ready to go — it seemed that the timing was right.

Larsen told Project Fanboy that he believed Eric Stephenson was the "best man for the job", as he was Jim Lee's second in command as well as his own, and had been with Image Comics almost since its inception.

Personal life

Larsen is married; his wife's name is Jannie, and they have two sons, Christopher and Joseph.

The other Erik Larsen

Erik Larsen is not to be confused with another artist named Erik Larsen who has produced covers for issues of Scandinavian The Phantom comics[3].

Bibliography

DC

Art

Script

  • Aquaman #50-62
  • Aquaman Secret Files #1

Marvel

Art

Script

  • Defenders v3 #1-12
  • Fantastic Four: The World's Greatest Comics Magazine #1-12
  • The Hulk #8
  • Nova v3 #1-7
  • Wolverine #133-149

Image

Art

  • 10th Muse #5
  • Desperate Times #1-4
  • Image Illustrated #1
  • Negative Burn Anthology
  • Savage Dragon v1 #1-3 v2 #1-present
  • Savage Dragon vs Savage Megaton Man
  • Savage Dragon Companion
  • Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck
  • Shadowhawk #4
  • Splitting Image #1
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1-23
  • Vanguard: Strange Visitors #1-4
  • Wildcats v1 #14
  • Youngblood #1

Script

  • Deadly Duo v1 #1-3
  • Freak Force v2 #1-3
  • Negative Burn Anthology
  • Savage Dragon v1 #1-3 v2 #1-present
  • Savage Dragon vs Savage Megaton Man
  • Savage Dragon: Sex & Violence #1,2
  • SuperPatriot #1-4
  • Wildcats v1 #14

Editor

  • Deadly Duo v2 #1-4
  • Freak Force v1 #1-18
  • Savage Dragon: Red Horizon #1-3
  • Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck
  • Star #1-4
  • SuperPatriot: Liberty & Justice#1-4
  • Vanguard #1-6
  • Vanguard: Strange Visitors #1-4

Notes

References

External links

Interviews

Preceded by
Todd McFarlane
Amazing Spider-Man artist
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Mark Bagley
Preceded by
Todd McFarlane
Spider-Man writer-artist
1991–1992
Succeeded by
Howard Mackie (writer)
Larry Alexander (artist)
Preceded by
Todd DeZago
Wolverine writer
1999–2000
Succeeded by
Steve Skroce







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