Q. Hey Erik, what size, make, color pencil and eraser do you use?
A. I use a pretty standard #2 pencil - HB. The pencil I have on hand is a Dixon Ticonderoga. Itís mushy as all hell but it
doesnít slow me down like a harder pencil would. I can fly with this baby. And I use a Staedtler Mars Plastic rubber eraser. To ink
I use a Hunt 102 nib, a Winsor & Newton, series 7, No. 2 brush and Higgen's Design ink. For straight lines I use a uni-ball pen or a
Pentel Rolling Writer - I gave up on Rapidographs years ago because A: they clog too easily and B: markers look the same - it's a
straight black line, for cryin' out loud!
When I used to just pencil, I would sometimes do rough layouts with a Col-Erase pencil (blue) but I don't use them anymore - they're
a bit waxy and it's difficult to ink over their lines.
Q. Erik, What's it like knowing your title is one of the most read by your peers?
A. Good and bad. I've heard from Chris Claremont, Jim Steranko and Harlan Ellison - three guys I never expected to read this book.
It's frustrating to me that I can't reach more of the regular folks. Somehow there's the perception out there that this book is aimed
at young kids - but such is not the case. Sigh.
Q. When did you first create Powerhouse (age or year) and (you don't have to answer this) if you could, what is his origin?
Very original character.
A. Powerhouse was created between 4th and 5th grade, when I was 9. A wizard called Fon~Ti gave him his powers. He was a human named Denny Atlas (who looked remarkably like Jughead Jones) and he'd say the wizard's name to change into Powerhouse. Dragon, Zeek and many of my other characters had the same damn origin. It was pretty unoriginal - I ripped it off from Captain "Shazam" Marvel. Needless to say, this is no longer the origin for ANY of these guys.
Q. What's your favorite kind of music?
A. Fountains of Wayne, Aimee Mann, the Beautiful South, the Beatles and Elton John are big favorites around these parts along with Elvis Costello, the Raspberries, Barenaked Ladies, Counting Crows, Q-kumba Zoo, Army of Lovers, Wallflowers, Eurythmics and hundreds of others. I've got hundreds of CDs that I listen to on a regular basis - from "modern rock" to awful '70s junk to most everything else.
Q. How many pages can you ink in a day?
A. 2 to 4.
Q. How much time do you spend a day working on Comic related business drawing, inking, writing, running Image, etc.?
A.The short answer is 8:30-5:30, Monday through Friday but Iíll sometimes work late at night or on weekends if deadlines get tight.
Q. How did you break into comics?
A.I drew comics unprofessionally since I was 9 and got my first comic book job at 19. I published a fanzine called Graphic Fantasy and a couple of people who bought my fanzine through the mail hired me to work for them.
Q. What do you consider your greatest comics achievement?
A.Helping form Image Comics. It gave readers and creators another alternative. It helped make creator owned superheroes a reality for a lot of people.
Q. Who are some your influences?
A. I'm influenced by everything I read, see or hear. I loved comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, X-Men by Claremont, Byrne and Austin, Daredevil by Miller and Janson, Thor by Walter Simonson. And Iíve followed a lot of these creators from book to book but thatís just the tip of the iceberg, really, because Iíve picked up things from Pete Costanza, Gil Kane, Herb Trimpe, Arthur Adams, Steve Ditko, Adam Hughes, Gene Colan and dozens of others. Everything I look at influences me. Iím constantly looking for new things to bring to my work.
Q. What creators and books do you enjoy?
A. I'd say Gil Kane, Jerry Robinson, Pete Costanza, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, John Byrne, Bill Sienkiewicz, Terry Austin, Simon Bisley, Mike Mignola, Art Adams and Carlos Pacheco get me the most worked up. I like Hellboy, Monkey Man & O'Brien, Sin City, Minimum Wage, Scott Pilgrim and Big Bang Comics. I look at a lot of stuff and buy a lot of books but I don't regularly follow many ongoing titles. I tend to pick up whatever catches my eye.
Q. Any creators in particular you would like to work with?
A.I'd like to work with anybody who I can browbeat into believing that I know what I'm doing. Any of my influences would be swell but I'm having fun working with new guys.
Q. Who is your target audience?
A.My target audience is older Marvel readers who are about ready to throw in the towel on comics altogether. It's the missing link between Marvel and Vertigo. More mature than Marvel--less pretentious than Vertigo. The kind of comics I want to read. This book is REALLY self-indulgent.
Q. Which creative role do you find most challenging? Most fulfilling? Most fun?
A. Writing is the most fun. Drawing is the most fulfilling. Selling the damned books is the most challenging (and what I do the worst).
Q. Do you exercise any at all?
A. Bike riding, hiking and swimming. I try to get some kind of exercise three times a week.
Q. When you self-published your comic with your friends as a kid, how many copies did you print?
A. 500 of the first issue, 450 of the second.
Q. Was it self-publishing comic books a tedious job?
A. It was worse - we had to print, staple, colate and trim the books ourselves.
Q. Were you a nerd/genious in school or your average joe? Or were you a smart ass?
A. A smart ass. I did pretty well in school but was easily bored.
Q. Would you consider TSD as having a strong fan following or an OK following?
A. Very strong fan following.
Q. Do you have any really HUGE plans for Dragon?
Q. How about a Dragon video game??
A. You're talking to the wrong guy - I don't manufacture video games.
Q. If Dragon can heal from almost any kind of injury, how come he can age?
A. Who says he's aging?
Q. Do you see your art work getting better or worse?
A. I like it better. Iím happier with it. Iím not my own biggest fan but my older stuff makes me cringe.
Q. How do you rate yourself in comparison to the other Image guys?
A. Between Marc and Todd.
Q. Will Horridus ever act like a mature young woman?
A. If she ever becomes one.
Q. Will you ever have any mystical storylines?
A. If you mean with Elves and crap like that - I hope not.
Q. Will Cyber Force ever guest star in The Savage Dragon?
A. Not soon.
Q. If Alex ever gets killed, would Dragon fill even more grief for her than he did for Debbie?
A. That would depend on how she died, I'd imagine.
Q. Was the big fat version of Fiend easy to draw?
Q. Do you consider yourself the only guy at Image who commits himself?
A. I don't think about it. While I am one of the only ones who continues to do everything on my book, the other guys are at least making sure that their books come out. Marc is heading his company, Valentino is back on Shadowhawk, Todd still contributes to Spawn. That's not too bad.
Q. Number 36 was the best Larsen art I've ever seen! Did you use a new pen?
A. Nope. In fact, I wrote and drew that whole issue in two weeks (the rest of my month was working on Dragon 1/2 for the fine folks at Wizard).
Q. What is your favorite Dragon story to date? I like 'em all.
A. I don't really have one. Some work out better than others, certainly, but to me, savage Dragon is one piece. One continuous story.
Q. Do you use Blue line pro Bristol board for your comic?
A. I draw on fine Image paper! It's 3-ply bristol with a smooth finish with blue lines printed on them.
Q. Will you ever sneak your wife in your comic as a character?
A. Probably not.
Q. Do you lose your entire pay check on printing TSD?
A. No. Dragon is a profitable book.
Q. Do your parents support you drawing the Dragon, or do they even know you are drawing anymore?
A.They know I'm drawing it. They support me, I guess. Not financially or anything. They think it's pretty neat that I was able to turn this into a career.
Q. Rapture - were they real or fake?
Q. Is there anyone out there who could beat Dragon in a fair fight?
Q. Is Dragon educated?
A. As far as anyone knows, he isn't. He is, however, very well read.
Q. Will the Nixed Men ever return?
A. Not as originally seen. Several of them died in #100.
Q. Will those characters in the first issue of the mini-series (like the crocodile guy, the girl with all the leather, the gray brickish guy, etc.) appear?
A. The crocodile guy and the girl with all the leather are called Gator and Maneater and they appeared in the third issue of the first Deadly Duo miniseries and in Savage Dragon #81. The brick guy was an earlier version of Rock.
Q. More Arachind?
A. Eventually. Unless they get bumped off, theyíll eventually resurface.
Q. More Hazard and Weed please!
Q. Does "the Giant Sea Monster to be named later" that appeared in the Dragon #35 have a name yet?
A. I call him "Giant Dead Sea Monster."
Q. Is Virago dead?
A. No. She's in jail.
Q. Is two weeks the quickest time you've ever drawn a comic?
A. At Marvel, I once pencilled a comic in 8 days. Two weeks is the fastest that I've done the entire job of story and art.
Q. Do you have any brothers or sisters, and if so , when they visit (if they visit) do they interrupt you when
A. I have an older brother and two sisters. I live in California and they all live in Washington state. I usually go up to my brother's house for Christmas. They don't come down here. I generally take a break when I visit.
Q. Do you guys at Image still have Image meetings?
A. Not very often.
Q. Do you get submissions from fans, and if so, do you respond to them?
Q. Who would you do a cross over with next? I don't care if it's issue #200.
A. That changes on a monthly basis.
Q. If Silvestri wanted to guest star Dragon in the Darkness would you want to see if he could draw Dragon
A. I'd talk to him first but I think he could handle it.
Q. When you photocopy your artwork, does the photocopy automatically turn it black and white?
A. It's black and white to begin with. I don't work in color.
Q. Can you cook?
A. Yes. Just not very well.
Q. Did you go see the Star Wars Trilogy? Did you like them?
A. I saw them. They were swell.
Q. Do you pencil Dragon's body hair and ink it or just use ink on the photocopy?
A. I ink it on the art not a photocopy. I donít pencil in the hair. There are numerous things that I can leave out in the pencil stage. Body hair is one of them.
Q. Zeek's cool. Is he stronger than Hulk?
A. Iíd say yes.
Q. Do you think Hulk Hogan should go ahead and retire along with Macho Man? Y'know, the wrestlers.
A. I encourage them all to retire.
Q. Will you ever have your own version of Superman or is Dragon it?
A. Vanguard was my Superman but Savage Dragon is my main man.
Q. Is Skullface ever going to come back?
Q. How come people like that Olav Beemer guy get printed in your comic so much?
A. He writes good letters.
Q. Why is it that all comic/movie adaptions suck?
A. Because theyíre different mediums and things get lost in the transition such as movement and sound. But the first Alien adaptation was pretty good. The first Batman was okay. Close Encounters was pretty good. The second and third Star Wars movie adaptations were well drawn but they were pretty dull compared to a live action movie. On the other hand, Dune and Logan's Run were both better than the movies that they adapted. My guess is that most good artists would rather not have to draw from photos and capture actorsí likenesses. It's more fun doing regular comics.
Q. I saw you on the Anti Gravity Room. Do you really hold your pencil like you would hold a spoon or fork?
A. I really do hold my pencil like an idiot.
Q. What is Dragon's mom's name?
Q. If it ever came down to it, would Dragon kill an unarmed man?
Q. Erik, what are your favorite comics ever?
A. Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke, Batman: Year One, Sin City, Hellboy, Daredevil (by Frank), FF by Lee and Kirby, Amazing Spider-Man by Lee and Ditko, Incredible Hulk when drawn by Herb Trimpe--#156 in particular written by Archie Goodwin, Ronin, Cerebus (sometimes), Minimum Wage, Big Bang Comics, Elektra: Assassin, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and Miracleman, X-Men by Claremont & Byrne or Claremont and Smith, Thor by Walt Simonson, American Flagg (especially the first 12 issues), issues of the Nam that Mike Golden drew, WildC.A.T.S/X-Men by Travis, SuperPatriot by Dave Johnson, Captain Marvel Adventures by Pete Costanza, Batman by Jerry Robinson, Almost all EC Comics, anything by Alex Toth, Kirby, Golden, Simonson, Bisley, Silvestri, Jae Lee, Sienkiewicz, Miller, Bolland, Gil Kane... To name a few.
Q. Chaos and Control seemed dorky, but they were cool ! How'd ya come up with 'em?
A. I just make this crap up.
Q. I loved that Walt, the annoying guy from the cartoon, got wasted by Martians.
A. He had it coming.
Q. More Franchesco art!
A. Weíre working on that.
Q. If Mighty Man and Kid Avenger are members of S.O.S, does that mean that they revealed their
identitied to the government?
A. Mighty Man wasn't officially on the government dole because he didn't want to reveal his secret identity (although he will help the team). The Kid spilled his I.D.
Q. Do you get a lot of critical acclaim?
A. More than I deserve.
Q. Will you do any more contests in the near future?
A. Probably not.
Q. Will you ever do that "Art of Erik Larsen" book?
A. Not any time soon.
Q. Will any of your other characters get married besides Richochet and Barbaric?
Q. If you do ever have a Savage Dragon movie, will you go and make sure the director and such will keep him in character and all of that?
A. I'd do what I could but my primary concern is the comics.
Q. Did those TSD trading cards from Wildstorm do any good? I think they have done a good job from what I've got!
A. I think they did pretty well.
Q. Is there a certain story you've got in mind that you really want to tell?
A. Yes, and I am.
Q. Besides a Spider-man team up, is there another character that you want
to have a go at when the time permits itself?
A. I'd like to do a lot of things.
Q. Could you get in trouble for mentioning "Aquaman, Incredible Hulk, and the Green Arrow" as you did in TSD #36?
Q. Will you ever sell any of your original artwork?
A. Not Dragon art. I have sold Spider-Man, Defenders and other art in the past. Albert Moy handles much of that (visit www.albertmoy.com)
Q. Will any of your "good guys" ever turn into a "bad guy"?
A. I wouldnít put it past me.
Q. How many charcters have you created? How many of those creations have already apeared in the comic?
A. I'm not sure. 500? Maybe 300 appeared in Savage Dragon. I'm guessing. Almost every issue introduces somebody new. Theyíre not always significant,
Q. How do you feel about occasionally being in Wizard Magazine's top ten
writers list? Sorry to keep going on and on about it, but I can't help it.
A. I feel good.
Q. Would you consider a live action TSD show?
Q. What is THE book that you try and buy every month?
A. There's no regular monthly book that I enjoy. I like Sin City, Hellboy, Scott Pilgrim and Minimum Wage, but they're far from regular.
Q. Will Dart and Dragon ever get to be an item?
A. I doubt it.
Q. Do computer effects cost a lot of money, like in Spawn or Cyber Force?
A. Not THAT much, no.
Q. If somebody copyrighted one of your minor names like Switchblade
(which was my second character ever created), would you sue that person?
A. Depends on the situation. Iíll protect the big ones, sure, but a LOT of characters from different companies share the same names and itís not a big deal. Unless itís a title character. Switchblade is a character created by Steve Gerber for the Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck crossover. I didnít create him and I donít own him.
Q. What does Dragon do in his off hours? Where does he go?
A. Pretty much the same stuff as you and I. He buys groceries, goes to movies, goes out with friends or blind dates - all that kind of stuff. And just like you or I - most of it isn't terribly interesting to anyone but him. I hit all the high points in the comics.
Q. I'm about to ink my first three pages. Do I ink the original first
than get a photocopy, or vice versa?
A. Make a copy of the pencils, so you can show people what effect your inks had. If the pencils you're inking aren't original pencils (if they're photocopies, for instance) ink the pages on tracing paper or velum. If you're inking the pencils directly, do it, and then erase them and make photocopies of your inks. NEVER send original art as samples to an editor - chances are you WON'T get them back.
Q. Who was that guy in the second page of the sketchbook section in the first tradepaperback under Zeek?
A. SuperPatriot without his mask.
Q. Did you ever draw in class and get caught?
Q. Are you ever going to use the F-word again?
A. I wouldnít put it past me.
Q. Have you been thinking about another create-a-character contest or would that be a big pain?
A. Once was enough. I donít like to repeat myself.
Q. Is there one thing that you hate to draw more than anything else on this Earth?
A. Cars and animals.
Q. When comic book artists go to ComicCons do they pay for their airline tickets to get there or
does whoever sponsers the con do it?
A. Depends on the show.
Q. What's the hardest thing you've ever had to draw?
A. The Punisher comic because I couldn't stand the book.
Q. What do you yourself look for in comic pages you're reviewing?
A. Good drawing and good storytelling.