Sunday, May 3, 2009

5 Quick Questions with Erik Larsen

Erik J. Larsen is an American comic book writer, artist, and publisher. He is best 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.

Larsen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a child growing up 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. He 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. 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. For Marvel he did an Amazing Spider-Man fill-in story and five issues of Punisher. In 1991 Erik Larsen replaced Todd McFarlane on Amazing Spider-Man with issue #329, having previously penciled issues 287, 324, and 327.

Seeking greater control and profit over the work they created, he and six other illustrators abandoned Marvel to form Image Comics, where Larsen launched a series featuring the Savage Dragon.

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.

He agreed to answer 5 Quick Questions.

1) What would you say is your greatest achievement in comics?

Thus far, writing and drawing 149 consecutive issues of Savage Dragon.

2) Who was your favorite writer or artist that you worked with & why?

Dave Johnson (on SuperPatriot) because he kicked my ass and showed me just how cool that character could be. After Dave was through with SuperPatriot he was forever changed.

3) What character you have never worked .., would you like to do & why?

Captain Marvel (Shazam) because he clearly had something going on, which nobody has been able to capture for fifty years--just for the challenge, if nothing else. After that, I could be the latest guy to "get it wrong" and screw everything up. But really-- I'd rather not be that guy. Having worked on my own it's really difficult to go back to working for somebody else. I'd rather do my own thing.

4) Who are your influences?

Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Frank Miller, Herb Trimpe, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walter Simonson, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Mort Meskin, Jerry Robinson, John Byrne, Klaus Janson, Terry Austin, Stan Lee and a whole host of others. This list changes all the time and there are a mess of new guys whose work inspires me--even if I don't necessarily take anything from it.

5) What hero or villain would you like to change if you could and why?

There are a few that come to mind--but honestly--we'd be better off not going there. At this point in my life--I really don't care what's going on outside of Image Comics. I have no hidden desire to work on anything outside of Savage Dragon. This is my dream book--anything else doesn't interest me a whole heckuva lot.

Check out Erik Larsen on Savage Dragon every month from Image Comics.

Brian Isaacs
Story Editor

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Movie Review: X-men Origins - Wolverine by Heretic

All I can say is, in comparison to X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-men Origins: Wolverine is a fantastic film. However, in comparison to all of the other films Marvel has put out in the last few years, (with the exception of Punisher: Warzone) I wouldn't say it's their best.

X-men United (x-men 2) left us in a state of wonder. Who is Wolverine? How are he and Stryker connected? What exactly was done to Wolverine to cause him to loose every memory he ever had? And so many other questions. Now these questions are answered in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

It starts out quite well. We see the moment where he firsts discovers his powers, We learn of the relationship with Sabertooth, (from the first X-Men) And we learned that he is much much older than we originally thought which is is due to his mutant healing power. Logan was also apart of a team of Mutant assassins lead by Stryker along with his brother victor. (Sabertooth) Logan, being the conflicted one on the team decides to quit the team, leaving his brother Victor behind. Well this develops into Victor resenting Logan for abandoning him, and Stryker of course has an even bigger plan for Logan.

We later learn than Stryker's team was meant to destroy mutants because of his hatred for mutants and starts experimentation on mutants to create the ultimate mutant killing machine. A combination of many different mutant powers from kidnapped mutants were jammed into one single mutant. And of course this leads into a final battle between Wolverine and the Mutant mayhem incarnation. We also have Loan and victor coming back together as brothers fighting together to beat the monster.

There are some special guests appearances by Prof. Charles Xavier and a much younger version of Scott Summers. (Cyclops.) Along with that we have new characters being introduced that X-Men readers will recognize.

I really enjoyed the film overall, it was very well casted, filmed, etc etc. There times when it dragged a little, but it wasn't anything incredibly huge. The special effects were a little less than impressive, and I'm referring mainly to the CGI effects. Wolverines claws defiantly awkwardly cartoonish. I thought the claws were done much better in the first 3 x-men films. The story was a predictable one and very hollywoodish. In comparison with the first 2 x-men films, I wouldn't say it was better or even as good, but it is definitely an entertaining film and worth the money to go see.


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EXTRA Review: Blackest Night #0 (DC Comics) By Eddie R.

I want to welcome everyone to the first EXTRA edition of my comic book reviews. From time to time, this Extra column will focus on the special Editions, one- shots, give-aways, and other various comic books which I would not normally cover in my weekly reviews. I would also like to take time out to thank all those who have been reading my reviews since I started writing it this April. Without anyone reading this, I would feel like I am just talking to myself. Nothing new there, but it’s nice to know that people do drop in time to time to hear what I have to say. Again thanks.

On that note, please feel free to leave any comments about what I have said and reviewed. As always, my reviews are based on my opinions, but I do enjoy hearing what others have to say. So don’t be shy .

O.K, by now all those who have managed to get hold of a copy of Blackest Night #0, thanks to DC Comics and your local comic book store for the Free Comic Book Day promotion, have had a chance to digest this primer into the upcoming Blackest Night Event. Everything is laid out pretty straight forward, bringing everyone up to speed without a lot of unnecessary filler, allowing people who have not had a chance to follow recent developments within this storyline to get a good foundation, and generate even more interest with those who are anticipating what is looking to be one heck of a good series.

For me, Blackest Night #0 was a real pleasure to read. I really enjoyed the conversation between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen. From the comparisons about good and evil, right and wrong, and how the world got darker after Barry’s sacrifice during the First Crisis, they managed to touch a lot of bases. The flashbacks about Batman, both with Hal and the Justice league are priceless. The update surrounding the current status of Aquaman is short but informative. I felt kind of bad for Barry when discussing the reasons why Batman’s grave is unmarked. It’s hard to see the fastest man alive not up to speed when it comes to the “who’s who” in the DCU these days.

One odd detail did catch my eye though. Hal Jordan mention’s something about people from “parallel worlds” coming to Barry’s funeral? Does this mean that everyone now remembers the Pre- Crisis DCU? I guess only time will tell.

Overall, even if this book wasn’t a free promotion, I would buy it. If you haven’t gotten a copy, try and get your hands on one. If you do have a copy already, hold on to it, or pass it around to those who you think would be interested in getting back into reading comics. Because to me, this book is one of the best examples of someone bringing their A-game to share with the fans, just because they love what they are doing so much.


Eddie R
Review Editor

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