One on One with Erik Larsen
Creator of Savage Dragon and Co-Founder of Image Comics
Originally posted on PaperDragonInk.com
I’ve been reading Savage Dragon since the start of the Dragon Wars, and on FREE comic book day the Savage Dragon book was a primer of everything that came before. With its flash bang quick action style and brutal fight scenes Savage Dragon has a loyal following and appeals to a wide range comic book readers. Being a convert myself I decided to find a little more about its creator and man about comics Mr Erik Larsen.
To my surprise Erik Larsen was very easy to get in contact with and he was open to an interview without me jumping through any hoops to talk to him. The only problem I had was finding a question he hasn’t covered in huge FAQ on his website http//www.savagedragon.com
The interview begins after the jump.
N – Hello and thank you for your time Mr Larsen, lets start with a human interest question. How is the weather in your part of the world, and what is your morning coffee?
E – Mild winters–and summers. I don’t drink coffee.
N – Thank you now do you have ritual you go through before you start illustrating or working on scripts?
E – Not really. For writing I just make a list of all the plot points I want to hit and work from there. I’ll type up a very basic outline and then lay out the issue roughly and script from that. The pages are lettered on the boards and once I get those back the real work begins–finishing the art and inking it. That’s the most time-consuming part of the process.
N – You say in your FAQ that Savage Dragon has been with you since around 5th grade. How many times did the look of the Dragon change before we ended up with fin head we know now?
E – Oh, quite a few. Sometimes he was a different character altogether. There were four major steps in between what he was and what he is. The last revision gave him his taller fin and had him becoming a police officer. The one just before that was essentially the same as now only with a shorter fin. The two others were the William Jonson Dragon (from #55-58)and the Flash Mercury Dragon, both of which I’ve worked into continuity to varying degrees.
N – So are the different dragon blood Dragons permutations of Savage Dragon through his creation process?
E – Not really, no.
N – You’ve hung with Savage Dragon since the beginning are you going to be handing over the reins to another artist in the future?
E – Absolutely not. I’ll be doing the book for the duration.
N – What made you bring back Daredevil?
E – It sprang from researching the Next Issue Project. I remember the costume fondly and having read a few stories–it just seemed to click. Of course there were slight tweaks made but I tried to keep him as true to the spirit of the Golden Age Daredevil as I could.
N – Did you run into any problems introducing Daredevil to the Savage Dragon audience?
E – Not at all.
N – Any plans for Daredevil to run as a backup strip or one shot in the future?
E – I did a Daredevil solo story for Silver Streak Comics. I expect that I’ll do a lot more with him over the years.
N – What are you thoughts on the McFarlane vs Gaiman ruling?
E – It’s not my battle–and I’m not well versed in the verdict and all of the particulars so I generally don’t have much to say about that. I thought it was foolish on Todd’s part to let another writer co-create evil twins andvariations of his character. That just seemed like a recipe for disaster and it was a disaster. It just seems really petty to me, on Neil’s part, to be fighting about ownership of such derivative characters. Okay, so he has issues over money owed from comics he wrote–fine–but come on–Spawnon a horse is not your creation–that’s fucking ridiculous. I’d be ashamed to argue that point–it’s embarrassing.
N – Do you think this is a positive for creator owned characters in other creator’s universes?
E – It can get messy if they don’t all get along. In an ideal world it’s awesome. It’s a nightmare when it falls apart.
N – 2000AD was viewed in the UK as a genre busting comic, with gritty artwork, no nonsense mature stories would a comic like that survive in the American market?
E – It hasn’t. 2000AD never took off here. I would like to think a strong anthology could fly here but that sort of book has always struggled.
N – What is you favorite title you’ve worked on outside the Image universe?
E – Nova. It was a dream book for me–something I’d always wanted to do. I gave it my best shot. It didn’t fly–but it was a fun book to work on. I love the characters.
N – Any thoughts of returning Savage Dragon to TV or even direct to DVD?
E – We’re working on all kinds of Savage Dragon stuff. We want to get the cartoon released on DVD and I’d like to see more.
N – Is Emperor Dragon just another facet of Savage Dragons dysfunctional personality, or is the real Dragon finally standing up?
E – That’s the real guy. The other was an identity that developed after his mind had been wiped clean.
N – What is your greatest unfulfilled job in comics?
E – I always wanted to do a run on the Hulk and on the Fantastic Four. It would be fun to work on Kamandi or on Captain Marvel–I’d like to try and make that worked–Shazam, I mean, not Marvel’s version. I have a lot of things that I’d like to do–most of them not terribly realistic given my workload. I wouldn’t want to give up working on Savage Dragon. That’s my biggest dream–to do this book for the rest of my life.
N – Will Image United ever be complete and will it have any effect on the Image universe?
E – Yes and yes.
N- If you were not working on comics what would you think you be doing now?
E – Bumming quarters and pushing a grocery cart full of filthy rags around.
N- Any advice for upcoming talent on how to break into the mainstream comic book industry?
E – There are no secrets. If you want to create–create. Just do it. Get good and then network. The Internet has made all of this easy. Guys post stuff on sites and they take off as others link to their work. If you’re talented and you get your name out there you WILL get work. It’s inevitable. If you’re not getting work–maybe you’re not as good as you think you are.
N – List one your own major influences that moved you into comic books
E – Herb Trimpe was the guy that got me interested and once I was buying stuff–Jack Kirby showed me what could be done.Thank you Mr Larsen, and I look forward to see the direction Savage Dragon is going in and seeing where it leads too. Oh, and thank you very much forgiving my misspelling of your name on my initial contact with you.
To learn more about Erik Larsen and Savage Dragon go here http://savagedragon.com