REFLECTIONS #236: Aaron Lopresti

Tue, March 11th, 2008 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Robert Taylor, Staff Writer

"Wonder Woman" #20 on sale in May

Some comics readers first noticed Aaron Lopresti's work when he was teamed with writer Tony Bedard on the CrossGen Comics series "Mystic," where his mix of vivacious action sequences with gorgeous women earned the artist many fans. After CrossGen famously imploded, Lopresti signed an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics, working on a wide range of titles including "Miss Marvel," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Excalibur." While Lopresti's art was top notch and highly regarded by readers, he never quite gained the superstar status that many fans and fellow creators thought he deserved.

Cut to today.

Lopresti is now exclusive with DC Comics and teamed with one of the publisher's premier writers, Gail Simone, on a book many say she was born to write and that Lopresti was born to draw: "Wonder Woman." The buzz on the title is building once again thanks to Simone's first arc with artist Terry Dodson, which was well received in sales and by audiences and critics.

Does this spell superstar status in the making for Lopresti? Only time will tell, but certainly that would be wonderful. No pun intended. Well, maybe a little.

Story continues below

Let's start off with the obvious question. Why the switch to DC? And, more specifically, why now?

Well, the obvious answer is my contract with Marvel was up so I had to do something. Beyond that, I felt that there were more opportunities for me at DC right now than at Marvel. I spoke at length with both Marvel and DC about my future and although Marvel made me a really nice offer, I felt that a change of scenery might be better for me personally and for my career.

What were the highlights of your exclusive with Marvel, both personally and professionally?

Wonder Woman art by Aaron Lopresti
Marvel picked me up right as CrossGen was imploding, so they offered me some stability in a very uncertain time for me. I am very grateful for that. Drawing part of the "Planet Hulk" storyline was probably the highlight of my stint at Marvel. It ended up being very high profile and I really enjoyed it from an artistic standpoint.

How big a fan of Princess Diana are you?

I don't know her all that well so I prefer to call her Wonder Woman. [laughs]

What appealed to you most about the "Wonder Woman" project?

A couple of things. She seems, to me, to be the least exploitive female character in comics (with the possible exception of Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman). I have really had my fill of working on "babe books." Thankfully I don't see "Wonder Woman" in that light and I know Gail isn't going to write her like that.

I suppose one of the big things that appealed to me is that the character is a pop culture icon; one of the big three at DC. I can actually have a conversation with a non-comic reader and they will know what I am talking about!

Have you followed the book since its re-launch with Allan Heinberg and Terry Dodson?

Terry is a good friend and I try and keep up with what he is doing. So I read some of the issues. I like what they were doing on the book. I had never really read "Wonder Woman" before so I don't know to what degree they changed her.

How did you go about climbing onboard the book, anyway?

Wonder Woman art by Aaron Lopresti
I was originally offered something else, but then this came up when Terry announced he was leaving. Apparently my name came up from several people at DC and [Executive Editor] Dan DiDio offered it to me. As I pondered whether or not to climb aboard, everyone I spoke to said the same thing: "Are you crazy? Take it!" So I caved to peer pressure and took it.

Were you a big fan of Gail Simone before you hopped onboard?

I had never read anything Gail had written but I am a big fan now.

Tell us about the process of working with her.

She's awesome! She welcomes my input and is eager to incorporate the type of things I like to draw in her stories. She is also very considerate on a personal level.

How much of what Terry Dodson and inker Rachel Dodsen set up artistically in the first year of the book are you keeping, and how much of your own pizzazz are you adding into the mix?

I will always try and do my own thing but still maintain the established norms so I don't confuse any of the readers. The first story arc is so far removed from anything Terry did that by the time the second story arc rolls around I should be doing my own thing pretty freely.

What have you found is the single hardest thing to tackle with the book thus far?

Like any book that I am new to-keeping enough reference on hand, so that if you have to draw Doctor Pain, you have some idea what she looks like. Keeping things consistent with established locations is usually the toughest.

Wonder Woman art by Aaron Lopresti
What have you most enjoyed illustrating thus far?

The first story arc has a real "Savage Tales" feel to it. I am getting a chance to unleash my inner Barry Windsor Smith and recapture some of the fun of comics I enjoyed in my youth.

Wonder Woman is of course a character based in mythology. Are you a big fan of mythology?

Not [as much as], say, [classic "Thor" writer] Walter Simonson, but I do enjoy it. Anything fantasy related is of interest to me. Get me out of the real world!

And while we are talking about stuff you like, tell us about how you are loving the spy side of Diana's life. She has a secret identity now.

I have yet to really do anything with it, although I find it pretty interesting stuff. She is almost like Clark Kent/Superman.

What teases can you give us about what is coming up for the Amazon princess?

Make sure you go back and research your DC sword and sorcery characters from the '70s!

How long do you see yourself working on the book?

I would like to do a nice two-year run on the book at least. If you look back on all the regular series books I have worked on, I have never done a run longer than a year. I think my record is "Excalibur," with 13 issues.

Who fills out the rest of the artistic creative team on "Wonder Woman?"

"Wonder Woman" #20 cover art by Aaron Lopresti
Matt Ryan, my partner in crime of "Mystic" and "Ms. Marvel," is joining me on this "Wonder Woman" run and I am very grateful to have him. Alex Sinclair is doing the coloring. He is certainly one of the best in the business, so if I maintain my end of the bargain it should be a pretty good-looking book.

Let's talk a little about how your feelings on your work on "Ms. Marvel."

I thought I was really clicking on the last four issues on Monster Island. I enjoyed the whole run, though. [Writer] Brian Reed gave me some tremendously fun stories to work on.

How do you think your work has evolved and progressed since you first started working in the industry, and where do you want it to go from where you are now?

I was really awful when I started and now I am much better. I just draw better. I am living proof that practice pays off.

Lightning round time!

If you insist.

What comics can you never miss?

There are none. I am still reading "New Avengers" and "Thor," however. You know me, I generally buy books because I like the art. If the story happens to be good as well, than it's a bonus.

If you could only draw one book for the rest of your career, what would it be? And don't say you don't know, like last time!

I would say a John Carter of Mars series.

Lopresti's "Ms. Marvel" work is collected by Marvel Comics
Who would be writing it?

Me, of course. I am a control freak! Or maybe I am just a freak….

What writer have you never worked with before that you need to before you retire, or else your life will be incomplete?

Probably Edgar Rice Burroughs. Oh, wait…

You've said your favorite comic book movie of all time was "Spider-Man 2." Has that changed?

"Batman Begins" is challenging it. "Ghost Rider" is not. We will see what "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" have to offer.

If you could only be remembered for one thing in your career, what would it be?

I hope to be remembered as a nice person.

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