As a child growing up in Bellingham, Washington and Albion, California, Erik Larsen created seveal comic books featuring versions of a character named ‘Dragon’. He eventually published a fanzine, which led to his doing professional work on a comic book called Megaton for creator Gary Carlson. It was here that he introduced the Dragon, a super powered superhero, to the comic-reading masses.
After a multitude of mailings, showing his work, Erik became aquainted with Jim Shooter, who was, at that point, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief. Erik eventually met Jim at a convention in Chicago and Jim was impressed enough with Erik’s work that he consented to co-plot a story with him on the spot. That story was a battle between Marvel Comics characters Hulk and Thor. Although it wasn’t actually published until years later, it did impress a variety of Editors enough to get Larsen some more high-profile work in the funnybook field.
Erik jumped around various books in this part of his career. He did an Amazing Spider-Man fill-in story at Marvel, a few issues of DNAgents for Eclipse, and he eventually took over the art chores on DC’s Doom Patrol. Soon afterwards, he left DC and moved on to the Punisher for Marvel. Five issues of that book was about as much pain as that poor Minnesota boy could stand. Erik wanted to write and when a Nova serial was given the thumbs up to run in Marvel Comics Presents with Erik as the writer/artist, he gladly left the Punisher. But it was not to be! The powers that be had other plans for Nova and Erik’s yarn didn’t fit in with the impending New Warriors series. Editor Terry Kavanaugh gave Larsen an Excalibur serial to draw for Marvel Comics Presents while the poor bastard waited for his big break.
When ever-popular artist Todd McFarlane left his artistic duties on Amazing Spider-Man, Larsen was chosen to be his successor. That run was astoundingly well-recieved, and included popular stories like “The Return of the Sinister Six”, “The Cosmic Spider-Man”, and “The Powerless Spider-Man”. Although he was comfortable with his position as Amazing Spider-Man penciller, he was frustrated drawing other people’s stories. Larsen found that his ravenous desire to write had only gotten stronger. He left Amazing Spider-Man, quite pooped.
By this time, the New Warriors was going full tilt and Erik tossed together a proposal for a Nova ongoing series. While he waited for it to get the nod, Todd McFarlane left the new Spider-Man title that he had launched. Erik was called upon once again picked up the torch – and he ran with it. Larsen created a memorable albeit brief run on that title, despite a traumatic event in his personal life – his house burned to the ground, destroying all of his childhood drawings and comic books.
After this period, creator Rob Liefeld invited Larsen to help found a new comic book imprint called ‘Image’ at Malibu comics, alongside notorious creators Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. Erik’s flagship comic book at Image (which soon left Malibu and became the third lagest comic book publisher in the United States) was an updated version of his childhood creation – “The Savage Dragon”. Larsen has been succeeding with his ideas ever since, through his creations Freak Force, Star, SuperPatriot and the Deadly Duo as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which he helped revitalize and bring to Image.
Erik Larsen was Publisher of Image Comics from 2004-2008.
In 2012 Erik wrote and pencilled 5 issues (#s 64-68) of Rob Liefeld’s Supreme. That same year he bought the rights to the character ‘Ant’ from creator Mario Gully. Ant was a book that was at one point published at Image Comics and Erik always thought that the character and its iconic design had potential.
In 2015 Erik started working on Spawn as writer and penciller with Todd McFarlane co-writing and inking the book. The collaboration lasted from issue #258 to #266 and ended in a crossover with his book Savage Dragon featuring Ant.
2017 saw the release of a Mighty Man one-shot and hints that we might see a return of Freak Force, too. With the release of Savage Dragon #225 celebrating 25 years of the Dragon and Image Comics in an epic 100 pages extravaganza and Erik announcing that Ant is about to return in her own book soon, the future is looking bright.