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Aaron Lopresti p3

Comics artist and writer Aaron Lopresti talks about reading movie scripts, and dramatic story telling in the comics of Neal Adams...

READERSVOICE.COM: What improvements in story-telling and art have you seen in comics since the 1970s, and what’s degenerating?

AARON LOPRESTI: The overall drawing ability of the artists is vastly improved. Artists often get a lot more time to do their projects now than they did back then, and artists get paid a lot more, which is pulling top talent into the industry in larger numbers. Overall story telling is probably not as good now, but it has certainly improved greatly since the comic boom of the 90’s.

RV: How did you start reading film scripts for Tri-Star Pictures, just after film school in Los Angeles, and what was that like?

AL: I got an interview because the lady that was in charge of the script reading department was a recent USC grad so she hired me. We got paid $50 to read a script and write about two pages of “coverage” on it. They wanted us to reject all of the scripts because if you recommended one and a producer had to take time out of his schedule to read it and didn’t like it, you were fired.
They weren’t interested in good. They were only interested in blockbuster great (or what they deemed to be that. Usually they were wrong). So 90 per cent of the scripts that got produced came from other places and were not randomly submitted by agents to the studios.

It was way too much pressure and work for the pittance we were paid.

RV: What made for a good story in your experience of reading scripts at Tri-Star Pictures?

AL: I still don’t know the answer to that. The movies that got produced while I was there were ridiculously bad. The best script I read while there was something called Curiosity Kills which was a great modern take on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. It was given to me to read because Tri-Star was looking for a vehicle for Bruce Willis. I recommended the script but not for Willis. He was too much a tough guy to play the wimpy photographer of the script. It did eventually get made into a TV movie on USA network starring C. Thomas Howell. I never did see it.

RV: What made for dramatic story-telling in Neal Adams’ comics?

AL: Two things. Neal’s realistically drawn characters and the incredibly inventive angles on the action within his panels. He was using angles no one had ever attempted to draw before. Probably because he was/is such a gifted draftsmen he could pull them off. I use a lot of his stuff in my work. Sometimes I thought his crazy page layouts would get distracting, although I understand he was pushing the medium at the time, but what he had going on inside the panels was dynamite. There is a king-size Batman issue (I want to say #255 where Batman is fighting a werewolf); check out the fight scene between Batman and the werewolf. It is absolute gold!

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-copyright Simon Sandall.