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Erik Larsen (Industry Spotlight) – Comic Basics

Erik Larsen
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Erik Larsen

As one of the founding members of Image Comics, Erik Larsen has carved out quite a career.

Known for many things, none more notable than his creation, Savage Dragon, Erik Larsen was born in 1962 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He began his work in comics on a series simply known as Megaton. From there he worked on two issues of Graphic Fantasy. While working on Graphic Fantasy, the character known as The Dragon (eventually Savage Dragon) surfaced for the second time. This version, although resembling closer to what Savage Dragon would become, was not his final take on him. His first appearance was during his run on Megaton.

Shortly after his time with Graphic Fantasy, Larsen moved to DC. While here he worked on titles such as Teen Titans, Doom Patrol, and The Outsiders. His work with one of the big two publishers gained him some notoriety and it wasn’t long before the other publisher came calling. Initially, he did fill-ins on Thor and The Amazing Spider-Man. Eventually, however, he was handed the reigns of a 5 part Punisher story. From that point, he succeeded the incredible run of Todd McFarlane on Spider-Man. 

Then it happened…

Image Comics

In 1992, and along with six others, Larsen left his work at Marvel to create their own publication. They did this because the seven sought more control and profit from their work. This, as history has shown, became the widely successful and creator-driven, Image Comics. 

At Image that Larsen was finally able to give the world its most recognizable version of Savage Dragon. This version was a massive, green-skinned amnesiac who joins the Chicago police department. The series was so successful that it went from being a three part mini-series to a full-blown monthly book. In fact, the series has such a following that to this day, Erik Larsen still writes, illustrated and published the book entirely by himself. More impressively, Savage Dragon is one of only two original Image Launch Titles that is still produced today…the other being Spawn.

Larsen, like many of the other founders, created his own imprint for creators to publish under. His imprint was called Highbrow Entertainment and it was responsible for:

  • Deadly Duo
  • Freak Force
  • Savage Dragon
  • TMNT
  • Vanguard

and more.

And from 2004 2008 Larsen became publisher at Image Comics. During this period he was responsible for all creator publications, less the founders, their studios and their works. 

Erik Larsen rose to prominence during the early 90’s hay-day of comics. His style, creations, and impact on the comic industry, while unique, cannot be understated. If he didn’t take the leap with the other 6, the industry and its creators certainly wouldn’t be where they are today. 

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