Lepp currently uses his 3D animation skills someplace completely rooted in the comic book realm. As an animator for The Amazing Society, Lepp spends his days animating for Marvel’s Super Hero Squad video game, and since Lepp hadn’t been involved with comics for a while, he said that working on SHS helped to be re-entrenched in the world of comics. “It did help to be re-immersed in, particularly, the Marvel brand,” he said. “Marvel is this huge empire and working on their characters is kind of fun. I get to animate Spider-Man — I was animating Spider-Man today! It’s kind of a dream job. I grew up reading Spider-Man, so getting re-immersed in the Marvel lore has been a great experience. It doesn’t necessarily inform what I’ve done or what I’m going to do with ‘Rust,’ but it does get me back into the culture. Like I said, I don’t buy a lot of comics and I don’t spend a lot of time in comic shops. Now, looking back, I feel like that’s really helped the story of ‘Rust’ be really different. For people that are looking for something different, they might find it in ‘Rust.'”
As a classically trained animator, artist and creator, Lepp said that the most challenging aspect of creating “Rust” was writing the story itself, thanking his Archaia editors for their help on the story. “Writing stories is hard,” he said. “I’m definitely not a writer, and I’m not even sure whether I should say that. I want to tout myself as a creator and I do believe that people will enjoy ‘Rust’ right to the end, but I’m an artist first and a writer second. For me, the challenge of knitting the story together before it was fully planned out has been the big thing — to take something that was just the arc of an idea, the situation and the setting, and then turn it into four 150-page stories, that’s definitely been a challenge. But I’ve been up for the challenge and I’m having fun with it, although it’s difficult. It’s where I get a lot of great help from the editors at Archaia because they’re concerned about the story being good. I’m so underwater on the story! I’ve been buried in the art on the story for so long that it’s hard for me to tell what’s cool, what’s working and what’s not. The editors at Archaia, it’s great for them just to read it and tell me, ‘I didn’t get this, this didn’t read properly, this is the best moment of the book, we need to add more of this.’
“I should follow up on my statement, too — I say that I’m not a writer, but I do hope that people disagree with me!” Lepp continued, laughing. “I hope people read it and think it’s a good story. I want to prove myself wrong in that area.”
While he didn’t have any new details to share on the upcoming film from Fox, Lepp did give an overview of how he found out about the news. “It’s amazing! It happened before the book was even on the shelf,” he recalled. “I don’t fully understand how that happened, really — how a major studio like Fox grabbed it before it even hit the shelf, but it’s super-exciting and I have Archaia to thank for it. They are really my representation for the book in so many ways. Without them, it wouldn’t have happened, that’s for sure. There’s not a whole lot else I can say. I want to say I had a lot to do with it, but I didn’t. I kind of answered phone calls and said, ‘Yes, that sounds great! What? Who? Fox? Yeah, that sounds good!'”
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