When I was in 6th grade, Image happened.
I had started to go to a local comic shop that was new at that time (same store I ocassionaly go 20 years later). The dollar was cheap against the mexican peso (1 USD = 3.40 pesos. Right now 1 USD = 13.40) and I started buying more comics with my allowance.
At a local mall, somebody opened a small kiosk with trading cards, they had all kinds, sports, cars, Elvis and of course comic books trading cards. Remember those?
For me it was cheaper to buy 3 packs of cards of different series than 1 comic book.
And there I saw it, The Savage Dragon Trading Cards, with the chromed white package and the words “Erik Larsen’s”.
Holy shit!! Erik Larsen
I was an avid reader of Spider-Man, I bought the mexican editions, back in the day they used to print them slightly oversized and on cheap paper. All my Spider-reading friends where into Todd McFarlane’s, but for me it was Erik’s all the way. The way he drew Venom, the crazy character designs (Cardiac!!) and The Six Sinister Saga. The good stuff!
Then he vanished from my Hombre Araña comics, and I got stuck with Mark Bagley (not a diss to Mark Bagley but he was no Erik Larsen for my 11 year old self)
Then, Savage Dragon. Back then I had no internet, didn’t knew about the Image revolution, I just put 2 and 2 together and figured it out on my own: These guys were doing their thing.
I never bought the first issue from the mini, it was sold out, and my local comic shop (the only comic shop back then and now) had one, bit it was on the wall of the expensive comics, I don’t remember how much it cost, but it was out of my reach.
I bought everything else, completed my trading card collection with all the prism cards, the rest of the miniseries, the regular series up until issue 13 or 14. That’s when the economy crisis caught up with my comic buying.
Later I tried to buy a single issue here and there but with just one comic shop it was hard.
I remember those days very fondly, when comics where cheap and fun. Savage Dragon had it all, chicks, bullets and mayhem. I remember being upset with issue 7, the one were Overlord throws Dragon out of the window. On these comics I felt that the characters were in real danger.
Erik Larsen is still at it 20 years later.
I saw him at a Wizard World in 2001, he was giving a dude a critique on his work. That kind of scared me a little to go and say hello, also because everything was wrong with me back then. But I saw the fire, the love for comics.
Now after 20 years of Image, I say thank you Erik Larsen, for Savage Dragon, for Spider-Man and for sticking to it.