As both a comics creator and the Publisher of Image Comics, Erik Larsen plays a number of roles in this industry. After a bit of a hiatus and to the delight of Dragon fans everywhere, Larsen's long running "Savage Dragon" series is finally coming back for a monthly jaunt at the end of September. In addition to getting "Savage Dragon" back off the ground, Larsen's involved in the day-to-day operations of Image Comics, steering the ship with Executive Director Eric Stephenson and deciding the direction they'll go in the coming years. He's also busy with series like Jack Kirby's "Silver Star" and "Captain Victory" as well as overseeing the golden age super hero anthology "The Next Issue Project."
As if all that's not enough, Larsen's added another ongoing series to his task list, announced today during the Baltimore Comic-Con. Veiled in secrecy, full details won't be available until sometime in 2008, but in the mean time Larsen's stopped by with some advance art and to tease what this new, unnamed book might be.
Just to verify the basic details, this is an all-new ongoing coming in 2008, right?
Right, and it's like nothing I've done before. There's actually nothing like it. It's kind of like a superhero book but kind of not.
Is there a code word you're using to reference this series in public to avoid revealing the name ?
The actual title hasn't been chosen, actually. We refer to it internally as "Erik's new book."
Does "Erik's New Book" in any way interact with what I guess could affectionately be called "Erik's Old Book," "Savage Dragon?"
No. That's why it will be in its own book rather than spun-out from "Savage Dragon." Which isn't to say that there couldn't be a connection made later, but to start out it's on its own.
Will you be handling all the creative duties, or will other artists/pencillers/colors join you on this?
I'll work with an inker. I'm writing and pencilling it to begin with. I could see handing it off to others at some point, but not until I've told the stories I want to tell.
How long has the idea for this series been percolating in your head?
Quite a while. It was something I'd talked to Mark Evanier about when we were working together on "DNAgents" a lifetime ago. I actually laid out a short story that I had a buddy draw about 20 years ago.
It was a situation where I was looking for something to do other than "Savage Dragon" to clear my head. Now, I love "Savage Dragon," make no mistake, but I like to do other things from time to time to get things rolling. I was talking to various people about projects that didn't ever seem to come together and at some point I just said, "to hell with that" and drew this thing. The first issue came together pretty quickly. It's a lot of fun.
Your duties as Publisher of Image found the publishing frequency of "Savage Dragon" diminish greatly. "SD" is coming back strong for a multi-month run at the end of September, but you've also got "Silver Star" and "Captain Victory" work -- on top of the day-to-day stuff at Image. Frankly, "Savage Dragon" was tough for you to juggle once you stepped into the Publisher's chair, so how will you manage all this work at once? Are you far ahead on one, allowing you to work on another?
I'm certainly capable of it. I'm actually quite prolific. I've been working on a ton of stuff and I've been sitting on it. It's not that I've stopped working - it's that I'm working on a million different things. Some of those things are small side projects with a definite end - others, like this book, are larger projects.
When should fans expect to hear more about this series from you?
Next year. I'm looking at a June, 2008 release.
For many professionals, a creator-owned series allows them to scratch at an artistic itch; it satisfies a creative need inside them. Does this project do that for you, too, and if so, can you say how?
It's hard to say - it's both more down to earth and less down to earth than anything I've done. The characters are very human - but they're thrown into a situation which is very much fantastic.
I get to exercise muscles that haven't been exercised in a while.