Monday, December 22, 2014

Interview with Savage Dragon creator, Erik Larsen

The one and only Erik Larsen
As comic book readers, we see artists and writers come and go on our favorite titles. You defintely won't a single contributor work on the same series for 20 years!! My subject of this next interview breaks that trend and more. In my opinion, Erik Larsen is a modern legend in the comic book business. From his Marvel days when he took over doing the art on Spider Man from Todd MacFarlane (who you might've also heard of), to being one of the original owners and founders of Image Comics, and now hitting the huge milestone of his 200th issue of what Mr. Larsen refers to himself as the "perpetrator" of, Savage Dragon (which he writes and does the art for), he's done it all. I'm absolutely honored to have had this correspondence with him. Enjoy my interview with Savage Dragon's creator, Erik Larsen!

SS: I'd like to thank you for taking the time for this Q&A with us. I'd also like to congratulate you on the recent release of Savage Dragon issue #200! That is a big milestone. When you first started Savage Dragon, did you expect the longevity of the run?  EL: Of course not. I had high hopes. The hope was to write and draw the book for the rest of my career but there was no guarantee that would happen. I certainly wasn't expecting that or planning as though that was a possibility. Still--I couldn't be more pleased to have made it this far. If it all ended tomorrow having had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted to for 22-years is nothing to sneeze at. 
courtesy of Image Comics

SS: Since you write and do the art for the title, and though that doubles the workload, is it at all easier to put each issue together since you can basically put your own vision of your story on the pages versus trying to translate someone else's vision of characters and plot?
EL: You would think so but the writer and artist don't always agree on what to do. There are things that are a blast to draw but I can't necessarily string together coherent stories just about that kind of thing. It involves a lot of thinking. When you're just drawing other people's stories you don't have to think about this stuff night and day. It may be easier plotting for me than having to write out every detail to explain my vision to another artist but it's still a lot of work.

SS: There will be a Savage Dragon Free Comic Book Day release in May. Can you give us any details on that? Is there going to be a separate story, or continuation of the current arc at the time?
EL: It'll be a stand alone issue but that's frequently the case. The book has Malcolm taking a big step after high school and following in his father's footsteps by becoming a police officer in Chicago. It puts it all out there--your proverbial great jumping on point for new readers and that will be collected in and expanded on in a later issue of Savage Dragon. The thing about FCBD is that not every store participates so it has to be incorporated in a regular issue or made available in another way or readers can't get all of the story.

SS: With the boom of comic book based television and film right now, is there any talk of bringing Dragon to TV (maybe try an animated show again?) or the big screen? I'd personally love to see a Savage Dragon live action film! 
EL: There is forever talk. A screenplay exists but at this point I have nothing to report.

SS: Since I mentioned comic movies, do you have a favorite comic based film and why? Are there any coming up you're looking forward to?
EL: I enjoyed the Avengers quite a bit. That felt like a decent old school Marvel comic to me. It hit a lot of the right notes. I also liked the first Amazing Spider-Man, which was a stark contrast to the Rami Spider-Man movies which I didn't care much for. Oh, sure, Dr. Octopus looked great but beyond that--meh. I take in what I can. I dunno if you'd call Birdman a comic book movie but it was great. Looking forward to more of whatever's coming. I'll watch most of it.

SS: Now that we're talking  personal opinions and likes, are you reading any current comic book series? Whats in Erik Larsen's pull list nowadays?
EL: I don't have a pull list per se. I pick things off the rack which appeal to me. I read a lot of the Image books--Invincible, Walking Dead, Southern Bastards, Shutter, MPH and--geez, it seems like we're doing all the cool stuff. I guess Dark Horse does Hellboy and I buy that. I follow a few artists' work at Marvel but I'm not really all that excited about the books as reads--Chris Bachello, Humberto Ramos and a few others.

SS: You've been quoted in other interviews citing legends such as Jack Kirby, Herb Trimpe, John Byrne, and Frank Miller as artistic influences. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to be influential to newer comic creators?
EL: There's nothing I can do about that. That's entirely up to the people reading the stuff. I know a few artists list me as influences and writers too. Both Robert Kirkman and Joe Keatinge being the most successful ones.

SS: What new artists and writers do you think we should keep our eyes on, that have the potential to be the next big thing in comics?
EL: That Shutter book is awfully good. Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca are doing some awfully nice work on that and I love the fact that they're intentionally making a book intended to be a comic book and nothing more. All those visual things--emulating comic strips and stuff--that's not going to work as a TV show or movie. I love movies and all that but there's something to be said for people doing work that embraces all that comics are and can be.
Nice Larsen Spidey cover
courtesy of

SS: What advice would you give to new creators and indie creators on getting their work out there to be seen?
EL: There's nothing to say beyond do good work and network. Show your stuff to everybody. If it's good--you'll get there. If it's not--you won't.

SS: Are there any projects or characters out there that you would still love to work on?
EL: Beyond Savage Dragon? Just stuff I own and books I want to create. I'm through with work-for-hire.

SS: I always like to end a Q&A by giving you the chance to share whatever you'd like. Anything you'd like to plug? Any advice? The proverbial floor is yours...

EL: At the end of the day--I love comic books. I got into comic books because I wanted to do comic books--it wasn't a stepping stone to movies or TV--this was the end goal. This was what I wanted to do. Comics have their own advantages and shortcomings and I adore creators that make comic books that are better than movies on paper. We can do some much and often we do so little. The movies can't really pull off a guy in a seamless skintight costume with every muscle flexing. We can do that. It's a bit disheartening to see companies compromise their comics and emulate film, adding straps and seams to costumes. We can do better with that--we have done better. Why are we stooping to their level instead of embracing our strengths and showing them how it's done!

SS: Thanks so much for taking the time for this, sir. Best of luck, and here's to another 200 issues of Savage Dragon...

Steve Strout is the media mastermind behind this site, host of the Comic Book Swap Meet, nerd, terrible artist, gamer, convention goer and comic book reader who spends more time rescuing toys from thrift shops than a normal adult should. He is also known around the northwest for his promotion of live music and stand-up comedy events and is the creator/producer of the Olympic Peninsula Comedy Competition (which will make it's big return in 2015). Follow him on Instagram at, and  He can be reached for comments at on twitter at @thestevestrout