Beginning in Supreme issue 64 this spring, Larsen takes over as lead writer and artist after Moore penned the character’s adventures for more than 20 issues. But there is still one more Moore story to tell, and that comes in Supreme No. 63, out in April from Image Comics and illustrated by Larsen.
First appearing in Liefeld’s Youngblood in 1992 as part of his Extreme Studios imprint before getting his own series, Supreme was at first simply Superman if he was complete jerk. When Moore took over the character in Supreme issue 41, he instead made him like the do-gooding Man of Steel he grew up with, giving him similar abilities as Superman, a mild-mannered alter-ego (Ethan Crane), the Lex Luthor-ish arch-enemy Darius Dax, a superpowered canine pal a la Krypto and even his own Lois Lane in the form of Diana Dane. (Even the cover of Moore’s first issue was an homage to Superman No. 1 from 1939.)
When they were looking at older titles to relaunch as ongoing series as part of Image’s 20th anniversary this year, Larsen was talking with his fellow Image founder Liefeld about having one final Moore script on the shelf when he had an epiphany about how to keep it going.
“A lot of creative people do this,” Larsen explains, “where you sit there and go, ‘Well, if I was going to write the next episode of Star Wars, this is what would happen.’ Most of the time, you really can’t do the next episode of Star Wars or the next whatever-it-is. But in this case, I actually could do this crazy idea that I just came up with on the spot.”
Moore had been toying with different realities and dimensions in his later issues, one with lots of Supremes (called “Supremacy”) and even a realm with all sorts of Darius Daxes. Larsen wondered if Moore’s Supreme had been running around for all this time, whatever happened to Liefeld’s Supreme?
“What I wanted to do was take what had been in the book prior to Alan’s run and take Alan’s run, and kind of marry the two in an interesting way,” Larsen says.
And for those who completely missed the past 62 issues of Supreme back story, issue 63 is a natural catch-up story. Moore summed it up well in his final issue, Larsen says, as Supreme gives his gal pal a guiding tour of his grand world, exposing her — and any new readers — to a history of what came before.
“It can be really cumbersome if you start over-explaining stuff. What it comes down to is what do we need to know, what’s essential, what would you be completely lost without knowing,” Larsen says.
However, what Supreme doesn’t know is what all the incarnations of his evil enemy are planning. And there is a major cliffhanger that moves right into Larsen’s run beginning in issue 64 that will also feature art by Cory Hamscher.
Larsen also writes and draws his original creation, Savage Dragon, on a monthly basis and hopes to share characters and connecting aspects with those of Supreme.
All in all, Supreme will be heading in “some wild new directions,” Larsen says.
“The book needs to be more than just an homage to Silver Age comics that Alan Moore liked as a kid. Me coming on board and keeping elements of what Alan has done — and at the same time add something new to it and add something old to it — I think it’ll be cool.”