Bringing together two sword-wielding fantasy heroes from two different lands might not sound like that big of a deal, but when it's Wonder Woman and Conan? Created by Wonder Woman fan-favorites Gail Simone and Aaron Lopresti? That generates a lot more interest.
According to Simone, that interest includes other creators, who want to know what comes next in the story - the latest crossover between DC and Dark Horse.
Wonder Woman/Conan, a six-issue mini-series that kicked off this week, puts Diana into Conan's world, allowing the artwork and story to explore the warrior aspects of these two characters. Newsarama talked to Lopresti and Simone to find out more about what happens when these two characters get together and what readers can expect from Wonder Woman/Conan.
Newsarama: Gail, knowing both of these characters and the worlds in which they live, why does this pairing make sense?
Gail Simone: I think it makes all the sense in the world! They are, without question, the greatest warriors of their respective realms. I think some people are hung up purely on the gender thing, but this is really more of, "What if Snake Eyes fought Wolverine?" It's just that feeling of two characters that almost certainly could never meet, but somehow, some way, you just want to see it happen. It's two sword bearers who take no garbage from anyone…I just find that very compelling.
It fits in a way that I can't see Conan fitting in, you know, Batman's story. Conan doesn't care about crime or escaped inmates. But a gorgeous woman who can kick everyone's ass, who is an emissary from the gods themselves? That's something that would draw his attention, for sure.
And Wonder Woman's never met anyone like Conan. There's friction, right from the first moment. It really is one of the funnest things to write I've ever had on my doorstep.
Nrama: Aaron, how did you get involved in this project and what did you think about it?
Aaron Lopresti: Pretty simply, I was contacted by editor Kristy Quinn and asked if I would like to draw it. I believe Gail was pushing for me as well. At first, I didn’t realize that the Conan mentioned in the email was in fact the Conan the Barbarian. Once I got confirmation that this was indeed a team-up with the Robert E. Howard Conan, I practically fell over myself replying. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough.
Nrama: As warriors, they're a lot alike and, as you mentioned, Gail, their worlds fit together well. But they're obviously very different too. What do you think are the main areas of comparison and contrast between these two characters?
Simone: Well, it's funny in a way, because both are products of a previous era, and in both cases, the characters represent something the authors felt were missing from society.
I mean, there's more to it there than just that they're fighters. There's a definite sense that Conan was supposed to represent an ultimate kind of man, and Diana, the ultimate woman.
But I see it as without the malice that we see so much of currently. They just are who they are. Skipping the meta-textual, for me, they are simply the two biggest badasses in two of the greatest fictional realms ever created. They go together like a magnet and steel. Or fire and kerosene, maybe.
Lopresti: They are both a lot closer than you might think in this story, where both let their guard down to each other. Something you might not expect from Conan. I think they both have similar moral foundations but Conan is willing to do whatever is necessary where Wonder Woman might be looking for alternative ways to achieve a similar end.
Nrama: Can you give readers the set-up for the story? What brings these two characters together and where are they?
Simone: That is the central mystery. These things tend to follow a pretty simple formula, one character falls into a magic pothole or whatever. That's not the way we are going with this. We put our hearts in this, it's a story with surprises in it.
Nrama: Aaron, can you talk about your approach on the art? How are you dealing with the challenge of combining characters from very different worlds?
Lopresti: I think Wonder Woman more easily fits into Conan’s world than Conan would fit into Wonder Woman’s modern world.
Gail wisely brought Diana into Conan’s time, so all I really had to do was take a character who is already an Amazonian warrior and dress her in the appropriate garb. I think Wonder Woman, although not as ruthless as the time period might demand, fits rather seamlessly in the Hyborian age.
Nrama: What about the settings you're drawing?
Lopresti: There are a variety of environments that this story is staged in. I'm always trying to capture a dramatic feeling that compliments the content of a given scene.
I’ve taken a look a some of Barry Windsor-Smith's Conan work along with searching what reference can be found on ancient civilizations. You take those images and try to build on them to create a suitable environment that “feels” correct for the imaginary Hyborian Age.
Buildings, clothing, ships - everything has to be designed but kept within certain boundaries that we would all feel is right for a Conan story.
Nrama: What's it been like working together on these characters?
Simone: Well, I worked with Aaron previously on the Wonder Woman ongoing, and it was one of my happiest experiences as a writer. The guy just takes the stuff in my head and makes it so much better, so much more fluid and exciting and natural. I married out of my class here, but the end result is just absolutely gorgeous.
Lopresti: The script is wonderful - very emotionally strong and thoughtful without sacrificing the action and adventure that should be inherent in any Conan or Wonder Woman story.
Gail is always great to work with. She is very considerate of my feelings and ideas and is willing to incorporate elements that I enjoy drawing. When we do these type of stories together, we definitely seem to be on the same page. She has a great understanding of both characters and is spot on with their interactions.?
Simone: It's funny, because so many crossovers are just sort of perfunctory. But Aaron and I both keep getting questions from DC people, "What happens next?" I don't think I've ever had that happen so often as it has on this book. There's just tremendous interest in it, even from pros who have long claimed to be jaded and cynical. There's just something about Conan and Diana in the same story that makes the mind go… "Wow."
Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell readers about what they can expect from Wonder Woman/Conan?
Simone: It's a little bit bloody, a little bit bawdy; it sometimes skirts the edges of good taste, which is just how I like my sword and sorcery stories. We really feel we have something here that's different from a lot of the sort of by-the-numbers crossovers that we see sometimes. I actually cried writing an issue last week - that's pretty rare for me.
But at its heart, it's a rip-snorting adventure story that we hope does Conan and Diana proud. And it's drawn by Aaron, who is just destroying on it, with covers by Aaron, Darick Robertson, Liam Sharp and more.
Lopresti: I am so happy with every level of this project. Gail’s story, Matt Ryan’s phenomenal inks and Wendy Broome’s insightful coloring.
Simone: It's fun to be part of something most readers figured would never happen. And by Crom and by Hera, here we all are! Come grab a flagon of mead and join us, all right?