Most comic creators are content to either write or draw a character and then move on to the next one, but not Image Comics co-founder Erik Larsen. He’s written, penciled and inked “Savage Dragon” for over 180 issues. With last week’s “Savage Dragon” #181, he wraps up a gigantic alien invasion storyline featuring the Dragon and his son Malcolm doing their best to stop the extraterrestrials. Following the conclusion of the arc, Savage Dragon returns to Earth and faces criminal charges for his earlier actions as the evil Emperor Kurr.
As if that’s not enough, Larsen also assumed both writing and drawing duties on “Supreme” when the book relaunched along with Rob Liefeld’s other recently resurrected Extreme Studios tiles earlier this year. Larsen started his “Supreme” run by drawing an issue written by Alan Moore in the ’90s. Larsen has since taken the character on a new journey following the Moore issue, but he’s ready to move on to other ventures. The Image co-founder ends his run with an 80-page issue for “Supreme” #68.
CBR News spoke with Larsen about wrapping “Supreme,” his laundry list of possible new projects, thoughts on DC’s New 52 and the possible plans for the milestone 200th issue for his green, fin-headed hero, Savage Dragon.
CBR News: Erik, next week will see the aftermath of the Invasion storyline in “Savage Dragon” #182. Can you give readers any hints at where the book will go after that?
Erik Larsen: We’re at a big building point at this time with “Savage Dragon.” A lot of the old stories which have been in the works for years are wrapping up and resolving and I’ll be moving on to new stuff, introducing new characters. The last couple remaining dangling threads are all around the new Overlord and the fallout from when Savage Dragon was in his Emperor Kurr mode making things difficult for everybody and trying to destroy the world. Once Overlord is revealed and Savage Dragon goes on trial, things open up a bit and I can start building again.
You’re getting closer and closer to the landmark 200th issue, do you have that one pretty well figured out? How long has the story been in your mind?
My tendency is to try and make every issue an event and not hold out to do big things in anniversary issues only. That having been said — I do have big plans for #200, which have been in the works for years. The major issues are generally been thought through pretty thoroughly.
You’ve touched on a lot of genres, including sci-fi and alien invasion recent in “Savage Dragon.” Is there a genre you’ve been itching to try that you haven’t as of yet?
What’s left? I can’t draw horses, so I can’t do a Western. I would like to do a time travel story at one point but that can get complicated.
Between “Savage Dragon” and “Supreme,” you’re very busy. What was it like working on the two books at the same time?
It was fine to a point. The problem is that there’s not much room for error. When you hit a dry spell — it can be pretty messy.
You’ve said on Twitter recently that you’ll be ending your run on “Supreme” with issue #68. What influenced that decision?
I came in wanting to tell a specific story. Once it was told it was time to move on. I have other characters and commitments and something had to give.
You’re working with a much longer, free-form like book when it comes to “Savage Dragon.” Was it a nice change of pace dealing with a book and story with a specific ending?
Oh sure. And it’s fun to play with other people’s toys. It’s been a fun experience. I’ve had a ball.
What kind of creative itches did “Supreme” let you scratch that you wouldn’t or couldn’t do on “Savage Dragon?”
It’s just a different book. You can tell different stories. It’s like anything. You can’t tell Superman stories in “Batman” and vice versa. There are other books I’ll be doing in the upcoming years that are quite different as well. Those aren’t necessarily stories I could do in the pages of “Savage Dragon.”
When we last spoke, you said that working off Alan Moore’s script was a big challenge, did you feel like you were channeling him a bit while doing the issues after that?
Not at all. I did want to keep the key characters in character but I had no illusions that what I was doing would be anything like what he would have done.
Last time we talked you said you were reading mostly Image comics, checking in with a few Marvel books here and there, but mostly ignoring DC’s New 52. Is that still the case?
Yeah. I can’t get interested in that stuff and I feel somewhat betrayed as a reader to have had all those years of continuity tossed out the window. I also can’t help but feel that they really blew a wonderful opportunity to resolve those books in a big way but instead it all just stopped and petered out. There are good people working on those books but I just can’t get interested in them.
With your exit from “Supreme” you’ve said you have a lot of your own projects you want to work on. What kind of projects are on your plate?
I’ve had one on my table for a few years now. A book that featured a big spooky house on a double page spread, which some readers have dubbed my “Scooby Doo book.” It’s not that. It’s nothing like “Scooby Doo” but it is something I’d like to see in print. It’s pretty wild.
There are actually quite a few things I want to do but I don’t really want to spill the beans here. I recently acquired a character from another creator that I’m itching to work on. He’d said his piece and wanted to move on and knew I loved the character so we worked out a deal. That should be fun.
And other things always come up. It’s nice to be in a position where you can call the shots. I’m really spoiled in that regard.
Do you have the “Scooby Doo book” planned for a specific release or reveal date? Are you writing and drawing that as well?
I’ll announce it officially once I’m confident it can ship on time. I’m writing and penciling it. I’ll have somebody else ink it.
When it comes to new projects, do you plan on doing them as traditional ongoings, miniseries’ or in graphic novels?
Either as an ongoing or as a miniseries. It’s really hard to keep up the momentum for me on a longer book. I run out of steam when it looks like there’s no end in sight. It’s easier for me when I think of things as individual chapters.
Erik Larsen’s final issue of “Supreme” #68, an 80-page giant, hits stands on October 3rd while “Savage Dragon” #182 drops next month.