Erik Larsen

For other people named Erik Larsen, see Erik Larsen (disambiguation).
Erik Larsen

Larsen at the 2011 New York Comic Con
Born Erik J. Larsen
(1962-12-08) December 8, 1962
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Inker, Publisher
Notable works
The Amazing Spider-Man
Doom Patrol
Savage Dragon

Erik J. Larsen (born December 8, 1962) is an American comic book writer, artist and publisher. He is known for his work on Savage Dragon, as one of the founders of Image Comics, and for his work on Spider-Man for Marvel Comics.

Early life

Larsen was born on December 8, 1962,[1] in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[2] As a child growing up in Bellingham, Washington, and Albion, California, he created several comic books featuring versions of a character named "The Dragon", whom he has since described as a Batman-like character who drove a car copied from Speed Racer's Mach Five. The Dragon turned into a superhero using a magic word to trigger his powers like Captain Marvel. Larsen and two friends produced a fanzine called Graphic Fantasy, which featured this character.


Larsen's first paid work was for the anthology Megaton, co-creating and illustrating a feature called "Vanguard" with publisher Gary Carlson. A revised version of the Dragon debuted in issue #2 and appeared in the following two issues. The original Dragon, inspired by elements from Captain Marvel, Batman, Speed Racer and later The Incredible Hulk, differs greatly from the modern incarnation.

Savage Dragon was first featured in two issues of Graphic Fantasy, a self-published title with a small print run, published by Larsen and two friends. In this incarnation, the Dragon was a widower and a retired member of a government-sponsored superhero team. Subsequently, the Dragon made another appearance in the third issue of Gary Carlson's Megaton anthology in its Vanguard strip, which Larsen had been drawing. In these appearances, the character of the Dragon remained basically the same as it had been in Graphic Fantasy, with a few details modified (such as the inclusion of his wife, who was dead in his previous incarnation). Both the Graphic Fantasy and Megaton issues featuring the Dragon have since been reprinted in high-quality editions.

Larsen went on to work for AC Comics on Sentinels of Justice and The DNAgents for Eclipse Comics.

Larsen did work at DC on The Outsiders, Teen Titans, Adventures of Superman and Doom Patrol. His first work for Marvel Comics was a fill-in on Thor that was inked by Vince Colletta.[3] He later did a The Amazing Spider-Man fill-in story and five issues of Punisher for Marvel. A Nova story for Marvel Comics Presents was greenlit but cancelled because it did not fit with an upcoming New Warriors series that would feature the character. Though he continues to write and illustrate The Savage Dragon, Larsen has occasionally returned to Marvel to write and illustrate, on titles such as Fantastic Four, The Defenders, Wolverine and Nova. He has also done work for DC writing Aquaman.

In 1990 Erik Larsen replaced Todd McFarlane on The Amazing Spider-Man with issue #329, having previously penciled issues 287, 324 and 327. With writer David Michelinie, Larsen illustrated stories such as "The Cosmic Spider-Man", "The Return of the Sinister Six" (#334–339) and "The Powerless Spider-Man" (#341–343). He left the title with #350, was succeeded by Mark Bagley with #351. Larsen again succeeded McFarlane on Spider-Man, where he wrote and drew the six-issue story arc "Revenge of the Sinister Six" (#18–23).

Image Comics and Savage Dragon

In 1992, seeking greater control and profit over the work they created, Larsen and six other illustrators left Marvel to form Image Comics, where Larsen launched a series featuring a reworked version of Savage Dragon. This time, the Dragon was a massively muscled green amnesiac, who joined the Chicago police department after being discovered in a burning field. Initially debuting in a three-issue miniseries, the series met with enough success to justify a monthly series, launched in 1993. To this day, Larsen continues to write and illustrate the series entirely by himself, and has maintained a reasonably consistent monthly schedule (save for occasional lapses) in comparison with the other original Image Comics titles. Larsen has occasionally produced ancillary mini-series, and sometimes allowed other creators to produce stories featuring the Dragon or other characters from the series.

In the mid-1990s, Larsen published his titles under Highbrow Entertainment, the label for his imprint of Image Comics. Titles they published included:

Savage Dragon is one of two original Image Comics titles still published (the other being Spawn) and the only one still written and drawn by its creator.[4] The character was also adapted into a short-lived (26 episodes) USA Network animated series that started in 1995.

In 2012–2013, he had a run as writer and artist on a short-lived revival of Rob Liefeld's Supreme, illustrating writer Alan Moore's final unpublished script with issue #63 and writing new stories from issues #64–68.

Erik Larsen in Artists Alley at New York Comic Con 2015


In 2004, Larsen became publisher of Image Comics, taking responsibility for all comics produced by creators other than the Image partners and their studios. Larsen stepped down as publisher in July 2008 and executive director Eric Stephenson was promoted to the position.[5]

In an interview with Project Fanboy Larsen explained that the rumors of a coup for the position were baseless and gave his reasons for stepping down as publisher:[6]

Fans wanted more Savage Dragon and I wanted to do more Savage Dragon—but it was not possible to be both a fulltime publisher and a fulltime cartoonist efficiently. Something had to give, and given the fact that Image was in a good place—going in the right direction—and Eric Stephenson was completely up to speed and ready to go—it seemed that the timing was right.[6]

Larsen stated that Eric Stephenson was chosen as his replacement because "He was Jim's second in command and mine as well. He worked with Jim and Rob Liefeld before that. He's been with Image almost from day one and he lives and breathes comics. He really was the best man for the job."[6]

Technique and materials

For penciling, Larsen uses a Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 2H pencil and a Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser. For inking, he uses a Hunt 102 nib with Higgen's Design ink, a Uni-ball pen, and Pentel Rolling Writer pen.[2]

Personal life

Larsen and his wife, Jannie, live in San Francisco, California, with their two sons, Christopher and Joseph.[2]













Larsen was nominated for the 2016 Inkwell Awards All-in-One Award.[7]


  1. "Today’s Comics Guide: November 24, 2011: Birthdays 2 Weeks from Now". CBGXtra. November 24, 2011
  2. 1 2 3 "Erik Larsen – Biography & Bibliography". Savage Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  3. Larsen, Erik (May 9, 2008). "One Fan's Opinion". Comic Book Resources.
  4. David, Peter. "Giving Credit Where Credit is Due, Part 1". August 23, 2010. Reprinted from Comics Buyer's Guide #1033. September 3, 1993
  5. Brady, Matt. "Eric Stephenson: Talking to the New Image Publisher". Newsarama. July 9, 2008
  6. 1 2 3 Piccione, Sebastian. "ERIK LARSEN Interview"' Project Fanboy' August 12, 2008
  7. Inkwell Awards 2016 Winners

External links

Preceded by
Todd McFarlane
The Amazing Spider-Man artist
Succeeded by
Mark Bagley
Preceded by
Todd McFarlane
Spider-Man writer-artist
Succeeded by
Howard Mackie (writer)
Larry Alexander (artist)
Preceded by
Todd DeZago
Wolverine writer
Succeeded by
Steve Skroce
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