You may remember that a few days ago I reviewed the first issue of Power Cubed [CLICK HERE for the review], a brand new creator-owned series from Aaron Lopresti (Captain Marvel, Planet Hulk, Excalibur).
In the advance review of the first issue of the Dark Horse Comics-published series, set to hit shelves on the 23rd of September, I called Power Cubed “a book where you can feel the enthusiasm of the creator bursting out of every page”, and pointed out that “with the polished visuals and constant stream of humour, is nearly impossible to read without a smile on your face.”
Well, ahead of its release next month, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down and chat with Aaron about the idea behind the series, as well as what prompted to get back into the world of creator-owned comics at this point in his career.
Here’s how the conversation went;
Big Comic Page: Firstly, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Aaron. First things first, tell us a little bit about the premise behind Power Cubed.
Aaron Lopresti: On his 18th birthday, Kenny Logan gets a piece of alien technology that allows him to re-interpret matter into anything he wants. Unfortunately there is an evil neo-nazi scientist who wants it to create a body for a brain he has kept on ice for decades and a secret government agent who wants it to thwart a possible alien invasion. Mad cap hi-jinx ensue.
BCP: Your lead character is eighteen year-old Kenny Logan. What’s his story?
AL: Kenny was very close with his mother who passed away a few years earlier and has a very awkward and distant relationship with his father. There is no animosity between the two but they just can’t seem to relate to one another. This has Kenny thinking of just getting out of the house to be on his own. He wants to be an independent adult but he’s not quite sure how to do it. When he gets the power cube adult independence is sort of forced on him and he has to learn on the run (literally).
BCP: There are clearly a lot of different influences swirling around in the pages of Power Cubed. What would you say your main inspirations were when you were putting this story together?
AL: Power Cubed is part continuation part re-imagining of a short lived series (one-issue) called Atomic Toybox that I did through Image Comics in 1999. I conceptualized the series so long ago, I honestly can’t remember what all went into the formation of the original idea. I did want to make a comic that was funny and entertaining and about as far away from grim reality as I could get. That’s not to say there are not serious elements to the story and characters but it’s overall theme is irreverent fun. Beyond that I just grabbed every genre I enjoy and through it in the blender.
BCP: Do you feel that this is your chance to ‘do things right’ with the Atomic Toybox concept?
AL: Absolutely. The story framework and characters are the same. It is more thoughtful and cohesive than my first try. Atomic Toybox had some exploitative elements that I allowed myself to be talked into using that have been completely removed. Although there are some jokes and situations that only an adult would get, there is nothing in the book that would prevent a younger reader from picking it up.
BCP: The book has a definite sense of childish adventure which is bound to appeal to younger readers. Was it important for you to make sure that Power Cubed appealed to all ages?
AL: I always look at films like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Star Wars for inspiration in those areas. Plenty of kids like those movies as well as adults. Why? Because they appeal to the kid in all of us and yet they are well-written and executed and not dumbed down for the audience. You can look back on any of the comics prior to 1990 (with the exception of Dark Knight, Watchman and the Killing Joke) and all were accessible reads for kids but still dealt with mature situations like life and death, romantic relationships and even sometimes complex moral issues. Those are the notes I’m trying to hit with Power Cubed. All ages accessibility but entertaining and thought provoking for adults as well.
BCP: You’re predominately known as a ‘big two’ creator, having worked on some of the most iconic characters in comics over your illustrious career. What prompted the decision to get back into the creator-owned world after all these years?
AL: Age. I started realizing if I didn’t start doing some creator owned work soon I might never get to it. I have a ton of ideas I have developed over the years but have done very little with. I have opportunities now to pursue these ideas that didn’t necessarily exist a few years ago and I just think it is wise to get Intellectual Properties that you own out in the market place.
BCP: You’re doing the whole shebang here – writing, artwork, covers – was it important for you to have that level of creative control on this project?
AL: I’m always looking for that level of control. I grew up both writing and drawing my own stories and it is just what i would rather do. Those opportunities don’t always present themselves while working in the main stream industry, though. Creator owned books are a way to do that. Although, I am both writing and drawing Metamorpho for DC as an upcoming series. It’s more responsibility and pressure, I guess, but it really makes it easier to get a better synergy between the art and story.
BCP: The first issue sets the stage extremely well. What can readers expect to see in the rest of the series?
AL: I like to think there is a good mix of character and action in the series. We find out what’s really up with Kenny’s dad, eventually we find out whose brain Dr. Cruel has floating in liguid and what his overall evil plan is. Claire Covert gets her fair share of attention and we get to see Kenny’s growth as he spends a lot of quality time with his to created buddies, Click and the Power Blaster.
BCP: The cube itself is a pretty powerful piece of machinery. So… what would Aaron Lopresti do if he could create anything?
AL: The funny thing is, Kenny Logan has a lot of me in him. So I would definitely be making dinosaurs and big robots to hang out with.
BCP: And finally, if you had just one thing that you could say to a reader who’s thinking about picking Power Cubed up in September, what would it be?
AL: If you are an adult reader and you are looking for a comic that can take you back to when comics were fun, pick up Power Cubed. If you are young reader and want a fun big adventure comic that is not dumbed down, pick it up!
BCP: Thanks again for your time, Aaron.
[Click to Enlarge]