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Erik Larson - Printable Version

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Erik Larson - Kersus - 05-08-2014

Interview on April 14, 2009:

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BIOGRAPHY
[biography & above picture is from wikipedia.org]
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 rip-off who drove a car copied from Speed Racer's Mach Five, and turned into a superhero using a magic word like Captain Marvel. He and two friends produced a fanzine called Graphic Fantasy, which featured this character.

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. He 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.

He 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).

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. 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. 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.


THE INTERVIEW
To be open, I was one of those who jumped on the Image train when it launched (as a consumer) and mostly because of how much I'd enjoyed previous work from Larsen (he was one of my favorite all-time Spider-Man and Amazing Spider-Man artists - writer too with Spider-Man) and Keown. I admit I was on the McFarlane bandwagon back then too. Over time I grew apart from Image and only in the last year rediscovered them and have been giving various titles a whirl (Cemetery Blues, SharkMan, PvP, Bomb Queen, and even Savage Dragon again). I truly loved the initial run on Savage Dragon and it improved my enjoyment of comics. As time has passed, I now have questions for Image that I hope Erik will be generous enough to lend some time to answer.  

Essentially I sent Erik a host of questions, and these are the ones he answered:

Could you give us the lowdown on the current status of Image Comics.

It's thriving. Things have changed over the years, to be sure, but we're doing very well and the books keep getting better. It's an exciting time to be doing comics.

What exactly are your responsibilities at Image?

I'm the chief loafer. According to the credits I'm the CFO but in the practical day-to-day sense, those duties do not take up a good deal of my time. For the most part I just churn out comic books.

What kind of pressure do you put on creators coming to Image, and what types of things do you do to help them?

These sound more like Publisher questions than freelancer questions. At this point I'm not doing much of anything along those lines. I stepped down from being the publisher at Image last summer. My duties at this point are to get my book done.

What decides if a comic is a mini-series or an ongoing at Image?

The creators and the publisher.

How close to your heart is Savage Dragon? Does the comic come second to your responsibilities at Image? How do you balance those?

At this point--Savage Dragon comes first.

How different is Image now from when it started?

Well, certainly the numbers are different and the creators are different. It's an altogether different beast. But it's a good beast.

Any regrets in the biz?

None.

Are you living your dream?

Every waking moment.

What is your dream for Image itself?

I want it to continue forever. Image is an important company and I'm very proud of how we changed the face of the industry. I'd like to keep going. The industry needs Image.

Has Image had any comics cancelled through distribution at Diamond (meaning the comic wasn't cancelled by you but they would not ship it - perhaps due to lack of pre-orders)?

No.

Who was your biggest influences in comics?

Jack Kirby.

Do you think your art is better, worse, or on par with what you've done before?

I like it more.

Is Savage Dragon the flagship title for Image? If not, what is?

I think of Spawn as being Image's flagship title. It's our longest running book. I began my ongoing book in 1993.

Does anyone ever confuse you with the U.S. author Erik Larson (Isaac's Storm)?

Not really, no.

What are your relationships with Todd McFarlane's Toy Line and Top Cow?

Cordial. I don't really have a relationship with companies--more creators and I get along well with both Todd McFarlane and Marc Silvestri.

Do you keep in touch with Dale Keown? If so, what is he up to these days?

I'm not in touch.

Let's say I know a comic creator who writes, draws and self-publishes his own independent comics in the hopes someone will want to buy them and maybe he'll even get a job in the comic world. How would he hook up with Image? Does he need certain contacts or qualifications first? What makes this work?

They send their work in and we get back in touch with them if we're interested in publishing it. It's a pretty simple process.

Do you work with many creators outside the USA?

Yes.

Thank you for your generous donation of time and thought for this interview.

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Erik Larson's Work To Date.

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