Artist Aaron Lopresti on his savage new Wonder Woman/Conan series

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Sep 20, 2017

In a muscled match made in comic book heaven, the Princess of Themyscira and the Barbarian of Cimmeria come together for the first time in Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti's Wonder Woman/Conan #1.

Published in a partnership between DC and Dark Horse, this wild 6-issue miniseries unites two of the greatest warriors that ever swung a sword in a gladiatorial odyssey on the shores of the legendary Hyborian Age.

Here's the official solicitation synopsis:

What makes one a legend? How do legends carve their names into history, when countless others are forgotten? Wonder Woman and Conan the Barbarian are destined by the fates to be legendary, but when their stories collide, will both emerge victorious, or will the fickle Gods cut their lives short?

"I love crossovers, I love Wonder Woman, and being able to bring the undisputed greatest warriors of the DCU and Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age together for the very first time is a dream come true," said Simone. "A major draw is getting to reunite with the great Aaron Lopresti, whose very favorite things to draw are Wonder Woman and barbarians. It's blades and bracelets, wizards and wonder, and I couldn't be more delighted."

Veteran artist Lopresti (Sword of Sorcery, Justice League International, Death of Hawkman, The New 52: Futures End) has lent his provocative pencils to this dynamic endeavor, and paired again with Simone's solid storytelling talents. This intense new title should have the stamina to make a permanent mark on the fantasy favorites' legacy of adventure.

SYFY WIRE sat down with the prolific Lopresti at Portland's Rose City Comic-Con earlier this month to talk about how this awesome comic book union came about and what to expect from the epic teamup.

Wonder Woman/Conan #1 strikes on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

What was the genesis of the project and how did you get involved?

Dan DiDio, the publisher at DC, has been working on a lot of unique projects. The Warner Brothers/Looney Tunes character mashups which came out not too long ago, Marvin the Martian/Martian Manhunter, which I drew, Batman/Elmer Fudd, those types of things, he put together, and he also put this together with Dark Horse because Dark Horse has a license for Conan.

I got an email from the editor, Kristy Quinn, asking me if I wanted to draw it, so that was kind of a loaded question since everybody at DC knows I love barbarian stuff and sword and sorcery fantasy stuff. She said Gail Simone, who I worked with on Wonder Woman seven years ago, was writing this new Wonder Woman project with Conan. It didn’t register with me immediately, and then I realized they must be talking about Conan the Barbarian!

I told them, yes I’ll do it, and so it was that easy. I’m a sucker for that stuff and they knew it. Gail had recommended me to them and told them that this is the guy to do it. Then it was just a matter of getting through all the levels of approval to get the ball rolling. Once we got it up and running it’s been fairly steady and hasn’t been as cumbersome as it might seem working with two companies with licensed properties to keep everything on track and on schedule.

What can readers anticipate in this epic marriage of pulp heroes?

This is not a cheesy mashup or team-up book where you cram Conan and Wonder Woman together to boost sales. The story is really good. I have to give Gail a lot of credit. She really came up with a layered, emotional story that really resonates and you wouldn’t expect that in this kind of a project. From my standpoint, I think it’s some of the best artwork I’ve ever done. I have Matt Ryan inking me again, he worked with me a few years ago on Wonder Woman, and Ms. Marvel when I was over at Marvel and Justice League International at DC. He’s come back, and his inks are really phenomenal and I’m so thrilled and pleased with how it looks, and the coloring is fantastic.

It’s a REALLY good book. It takes place during the Hyborian Age and it makes sense. It’s not just some dumb “what if” concept; it’s really integrated. Wonder Woman’s being there is such a major part of the whole story and how it fits together and there’s some real depth to it. Obviously I’m working on it, but I highly recommend it.

What was your introduction to Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian?

Well, like most people my age (53), we saw the Frazetta Conan paperbacks and I started reading those as a kid. I’m honestly more of a King Kull and Solomon Kane fan than I ever was a Conan fan. I read the Kull series that Marvel did in ’71 or ’72 that John and Marie Severin worked on, that’s one of my favorite books. So with my growing up in comics in the ‘70s, sword and sorcery was such a big deal. The Lord of the Rings stuff had resurfaced at that point, Frazetta was the big thing, and the comic companies, especially Marvel, had branched off into sword and sorcery and monster books because the superhero titles weren’t doing that well. So I was growing up at a time when all this stuff was being flooded into the market, and it had a huge influence on me. And I was reading Edgar Rice Burroughs too, John Carter of Mars, and things like that. This goes way back for me, it’s not something I recently discovered.

What was your approach to the art of this Wonder Woman/Conan project in comparison to your other works?

I always look at monster stuff, sword and sorcery, or faux historical stuff as more illustrative, more of an opportunity to do more detailed work than a superhero book. Drawing a jungle or a forest and creating these Hyborian Age structures, it feels more like illustration, and so I just have always gravitated toward that style. You’re drawing horses and more ornate things you wouldn’t normally be drawing in a superhero book, and you get a chance to explore that kind of stuff.

These types of books are fun and challenging to work on. You can look at it as a way to test your creativity and bring something special into the project. It’s a lot of work but it’s really rewarding. Especially when every stage of the project you’re happy with, and that’s so rare in comics because you’re working with so many different people. It really lights a fire under you and motivates you. This book is a good read and it looks fantastic!