Comic Frontline is proud to have gotten an interview with one of the founders of Image Comics, Erik Larsen. Erik Larsen is the creator, writer, and artist of Savage Dragon. In 1992 Larsen along with six other creators launched Image Comics, where Larsen introduced the world to a reworked version of the Savage Dragon in a three-issue miniseries. The series was met with enough success to justify a monthly series which hit shelves in 1993. For the past 20 years Larsen has maintained a fairly consistent monthly schedule as both the writer and artist.
Comic Frontline: I know Savage Dragon (current version) was officially created in 1992, but the current ongoing series started in 1993. So I would like to congratulate you on 20 years of Savage Dragon. For that alone you deserve a lot of respect from fans and peers alike.
Erik Larsen: Well, thanks for that.
CF: You’re most welcome. Any plans to celebrate it, perhaps a special collection?
EL: It's a weird anniversary since I've already done the 20th anniversary thing.
CF: Savage Dragon is the longest-running Image Comics title still published, and the only one that is still written and drawn by its creator. How does that feel, and what do you attribute the longevity of the title and your continuous run on the book to?
EL: Spawn is still going as well. Don't write that off.
I just love the characters. I enjoy writing and drawing the book and people seem to like it well enough to keep buying it.
CF: Very true, Spawn is still going strong. Other than the Dragon, who is your favorite character to write/draw?
EL: Of my own characters--Malcolm Dragon or Mr. Glum--otherwise--I dunno--the
Hulk? The Thing?
CF: When did you first come up with the concept of the Dragon?
EL: It evolved a lot over time but as a kid I created the character. I think I was about nine. He was initially a ripoff of Batman. That fin was part of his cowl, you see.
CF: Have any of your other characters from this period survived to see publication? If so, who?
EL: A lot of characters--Star, Sgt. Marvel, Rock, Zeek, the Shrew, Tiger, Dart, the Fiend, SuperPatriot, Horridus and a few others whose names escape me at the moment.
CF: Any advice for any aspiring writer/artist out there?
EL: Just do a good job.
CF: I know the Dragon has been through a few redesigns over the years. What was it about the Dragon that made you keep going back to it?
EL: I don't think I can articulate it. I just fell in love with the guy early. As a kid I was obsessed with telling his adventures and he was a big part of my life growing up. I drew quite a few Dragon stories before any ever saw print. 55 issues, actually.
CF: Any plans on releasing some kind of book with your early designs, and those stories, maybe for the 25th Anniversary?
EL: My house burned down in 1991. There's very little left. I do what I can.
CF: What are the biggest changes to the character from its initial conception to the character we read about monthly now?
EL: He went from being a barbarian type on a red planet to being a guy who said a magic word to change into the Dragon to being a normal man that changed into him like the Hulk. I went through a lot of variations before I settled on something.
CF: In the '90s Savage Dragon had an animated series that ran for 26 episodes. Is that something that interests you now? Would you do another Savage Dragon Animated Series?
EL: If the deal was right, sure, it was kind of fun to see. Not an awesome show but it had its moments.
CF: With the current soar in popularity of comic book movies, have you been approached, or have you thought about a live action Savage Dragon movie or TV series?
EL: There are always nibbles but no bites.
CF: While you are mostly known for your long run and outstanding work on Savage Dragon a lot of people started following you from previous works like The Amazing Spider-Man. I loved your run on that title, and grew up reading that run. Your artwork was revolutionary. One thing I remember about it was how you made Spider-Man’s eyes move on his mask to show his emotions.
Was it your idea to have the eyes move on Spider-Man’s mask?
EL: I can’t take credit for that, no. That was something he used to do on the cartoon and Ditko did that a little.
CF: What would you say you took away from your run on Amazing Spider-Man, and what did your run leave behind?
EL: I took away a bunch of readers. Really, that's what I got--I was exposed to a lot of people and they were willing to check out what I was doing. I would hope that I left behind some good stories and a couple of pretty cool characters. That, and Venom's tongue.
CF: During your run on Amazing Spider-Man, did you ever think about bringing the Dragon into a story?
EL: Not at all. I knew that if I used him at Marvel that they would own him and that was not something I wanted to have happen.
CF: Would you ever do a cross-company cross-over with him?
CF: Savage Dragon is a great comic: How long do you plan on being on it and keep it going?
EL: Until I die.
CF: Would you want the book to continue with a new creative team?
EL: What happens after I die doesn't impact me. I don't really care one way or another.
CF: You currently own the rights to the character The
Ant. Would you ever sell the rights to the Dragon?
CF: What are your plans for The Ant?
EL: Ideally, another series but I'll start with a miniseries just to test the waters and set things in motion.
CF: Are there any new comic books in the works from you?
EL: Always. I have a lot of things I'd like to do. The problem is finding the time. There are never enough hours in the day.
CF: Any that you can share with our readers?
EL: Not here and now, no.
CF: On a personal note a friend of mine named Mike Spider-Slayer, who has followed you since Amazing Spider-Man, wanted me to tell you that he is one of your biggest fans. He has every Savage Dragon issue and all of your Spider-Man issues as well. He reviews Savage Dragon each month on his Youtube Channel Comic Book Corner 2.0 praising it and you.
I would like to thank Erik Larsen for taking the time out of his busy schedule for this interview. You’re a class act sir and I wish you all the best and for another 20+ years of Savage Dragon from you!