With the “Dark Multiverse,” DC Comics has found a way to revisit some of their classic stories and not make them entirely depressive and crushing. If you found yourself enjoying Dark Nights Metal and want to see how that same energy influenced other heroes and events, then get ready for Tales from the Dark Multiverse. In the latest one-shot, we will travel back to the DC Universe of Infinite Crisis and see how the events play out by way of a much darker Blue Beetle. Is it dark? Yeah, duh. But then there’s so much more to the story here.
With the book out this week, we touched base with artist Aaron Lopresti to discuss his involvement, how the series develops, and other DC-centric projects coming down the pipeline.
AIPT: How did you come to find yourself being the artist of this project?
Aaron Lopresti: I was at the Calgary Comic Expo and DC editor Alex Antone came up and talked with me about working together on something. At that time, I was working on a few 100-page Giant stories to keep me occupied until DC could find something more regular to put me on. Shortly after the show, Alex contacted me about working on one of these Dark Multiverse projects he had coming up. I thought the Infinite Crisis was the most suitable for me and that’s what we went with. Sometimes it is that simple.
AIPT: What was it like to revisit the DC Universe of 2005-2006? Any character designs from the era that you really enjoyed?
AL: One of the reasons I chose the Infinite Crisis project was because of the opportunity I would have to draw many of the classic DC characters. Obviously drawing Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman is always a treat but getting to draw Blue Beetle and Booster Gold was the hidden pleasure in all of this. More than once I forgot to draw Booster’s collar and had to go back and fix it.
AIPT: How does it feel to be recreating classic stories like Countdown to Infinite Crisis, O.M.A.C. Project, and Infinite Crisis itself? Did you have to reread any back issues?
AL: I spent a lot of time going over the original material and referencing costumes. Luckily editor Dave Wielgosz was really on top of that stuff and caught all of my mistakes (and there were plenty). I was a big fan of Marvel’s What If series back in the ’70s when I was growing up, so I found this type of story a real pleasure to work on.
AIPT: What were your reactions to those stories when they first came out?
AL: Any big event comic that involves an entire superhero universe is special and awe-inspiring. At this stage in my career when I see events like Infinite Crisis, I tend to be more in awe of the ability of the creative people involved to pull it off successfully! Whenever you get to be involved in or re-visit a landmark moment or event in comics, it is exciting and memorable.
AIPT: How did the new Blue Beetle design for this story come about? (BTW, love the incorporation of the O.M.A.C. and it feels like it has hints of the Golden Age Blue Beetle).
AL: I did three or four preliminary sketches after getting input from James Tynion IV (writer) and Alex and Dave (editors). None of us were completely sure of what we wanted but with each successive sketch more ideas and refinement came about. It was a combination of Blue Beetle’s golden age costume, his modern costume, Superboy Prime’s armor and O.M.A.C. I really felt it was important to have some machinery crawling across his face and parts of his costume to emphasize O.M.A.C.’s influence over the character. Finally, when the designs got sent to Lee Weeks so he could do the cover, he refined the design a little more and that is what ended up being the final look.
AIPT: Any scenes that you loved recreating for the one shot? Any scenes that you are hyped about for fan reaction?
AL: Well, the final showdown between Blue Beetle and Booster is going to get some reaction for sure! Actually, the last couple of pages that end the issue are pretty dramatic and memorable. My favorite scenes in the book are a conversation between Beetle and Batman and Beetle and Booster. Both occur earlier in the story and in both I use light and dark to foreshadow Beetle’s decent into the “dark side” in creative ways that I am particularly proud of. Hopefully some of the readers will notice!
AIPT: For your own personal projects, could you tell us more about the Garbage Man and the crowdfunding campaign that you have going on for this?
AL: Garbage Man is a character I originally created for DC Comics several years ago and it ran in two separate mini-series: Weird Worlds and My Greatest Adventure. DC was generous enough to return the rights to me, so I am collecting the DC stories along with a new story in an over-sized hardcover. Garbage Man represents some of my best work in comics and I really want to see it in a more lasting and substantial format. The campaign is up on IndieGoGo right now with about 6 days left to go [as of publication].
AIPT: Any highlight moments from your career in comics that you would like to share and let fans know about?
AL: Other than being mistaken for Adam Hughes on more than one occasion, I can’t think of anything! Well, actually a lot of people are unaware that I was one of the artists on the now classic Planet Hulk series which I am still grateful to have been a part of. Also, a lot of people are unaware of the work I did on Wonder Woman/Conan with Gail Simone and the Herculoids story I did for DC as well. I also wrote and drew a Legends of the Dark Knight story that I am pretty happy with. When you bounce around on different titles as much as I do, sometimes your best work gets lost in the shuffle.
AIPT: Where can fans find more your work(s) and what is the next thing to watch out for from you?
AL: Always visit my website, and I am all over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as well as producing videos for my YouTube channel. I just finished an Aquaman story that will appear in issue #56 and I am about to start a stint on Justice League for DC that I am very excited about.