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Marvel: Inside the Pages of Excalibur with Aaron Lopresti
by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean
Reported: 01/04/2004
Source: Newsarama

Marvel Comics and Excalibur artist Aaron Lopresti have provided Newsarama with a preview of the new series written by veteran X-writer and upcoming Uncanny X-Men scribe Chris Claremont. Also provided are two character sketches.

In an earlier interview with Claremont, the writer revealed that the new Excalibur kicks off with Professor Xavier in the ruins of the island of Genosha to deal with ramifications of the massacre that happened during former New X-Men writer Grant Morrison’s “E is for Extinction” arc.
[Image: Excalibur16_t.jpg]“I suspect he has a far more graphic and literal sense of the consequences of failure, which in turn leaves him that much more committed to the ideals of his dream,” Claremont said. “To my eye, this is Xavier very much as an active, action hero, regardless of the fact that he’s a functional paraplegic. This is - I hope - where we get to see the reason why teenagers were willing to commit to him, and his dream, so wholeheartedly that he became, and remains, the defining thrust of their lives. What is there about him that makes him so irresistibly charismatic and admirable? But at the same time what aspect of him allows him to place children in positions of such ongoing peril? To me, these are questions that have never been addressed much less answered. This is where I’d like to start. Basically, it deals with Charley’s first days on the island, introducing the setting, certain characters, certain adversaries, stuff like that. There’s a moment with Unus the Untouchable that I really can’t wait to see.”

When we last got in touch with Lopresti, the artist had just been offered a chance to draw the series following original artist Igor Kordey’s departure from the book. And he mentioned that he was just “three pages into it” at that time. The first two issues were originally solicited for a May release, but the second issue has since been resolicited for June. “I am progressing at the slow rate of one issue a month,” Lopresti told Newsarama. “I have finished the first issue and I am currently knee deep in the second. I should have close to three issues complete when the first issue comes out. That is not a huge buffer, but its certainly workable. As long as I never get sick, I will be just fine.”

Lopresti has worked on the Rogue limited series, Uncanny X-Men and Ultimate X-Men #1/2. How different is Excalibur from the previous X-projects? “It is a little more intimidating because I am working with [Chris] Claremont who is the co-creator of the [All-New, All-Different] X-Men and the original driving force behind the franchise,” he admitted.

[Image: Excalibur20pg18_t.jpg]“Probably the hardest thing about working on Excalibur, though, is all of the design work involved. It is easy to work on someone else's characters because if they look stupid or silly it's not your fault. But when you have a hand in creating or designing things you're the one who is responsible for it. I didn't look at anything Igor did [when designing the characters]. I don't think it is the appropriate thing to do.”

The team members on the core X-titles, namely Astonishing X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men and New X-Men have sort of been confirmed on the covers shown in the recent previews. However, with Excalibur, only Professor X and Warren Warthington III aka Angel have been confirmed. Who else is in the new series?

“I'll let you know when I find out. Actually, it is a combination of new characters and some older characters that might have an interest in Genosha. Again, I am not really supposed to say. However, I will say that the new characters in the book are really cool. I think it can be really hit and miss with creating new characters, especially [the] X-Men. A lot of times characters are repetitive or just plain stupid but I really believe that some of the new characters in Excalibur can have staying power. What Chris, Mike [Marts], and I are trying to do is create iconic characters like the original "new X-Men". In other words, characters that not only are interesting people but also have unique looks to them. There is no mistaking Storm or Nightcrawler or Wolverine no matter what they are wearing. That is the type of sensibility we are trying to bring to our "new mutants" in this series.

As for who’s on the cover that accompanied the solicitations for the June issue of Excalibur, Lopresti said: “I believe you are referring to the cover to issue #3. I don't believe there is a cover for #2 yet. (As odd as that may seem) If you are speaking of the girl that is part human and part robotic, that is Karima. They tell me she is a juiced up mutant killer. I will say that there are a few - well at least one - surprises in this book that will make it a must read for all X–fans.”

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