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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:








Whenever someone asks me who my favorite person in comics is, the answer (discounting my friends) is always the same: Jimmy Palmiotti.

I first interviewed Jimmy for Movie Poop Shoot, and I found him to be a cool, smart, class act, not to mention loaded with talent. I'd go on to interview him again for MPS, as well as for a PAINKILLER JANE trade paperback "extra". This is the first time we've chatted for CWR.

MM: Jimmy, good to be chatting with you again. Let's catch up on what you're doing these days. First, how are things going with JONAH HEX? You don't appear to be burning up the sales charts, but it's a "buzz" book that attracts the best artists in the business.

JP: With every issue and different talent we use, we are hoping to pick up a new reader or two out there. I think westerns are a hard sell all around and I sure hope that word of mouth might have an impact at some point, but DC is sticking by us and we all have our fingers crossed and hope to stay around. The book attracts the best artists for two reasons. One, they like it, and want to work on an issue…and two, these are mine and Justin’s friends and this business is all about relationships. Really…most of the artists I know love the book and want to show it some love back. It’s the best situation to be in.

MM: You're also playing with DC's superheroes a bit. Tell us about SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL.

JP: It’s a 5-issue miniseries drawn by our close friend and brilliant artist Phil Noto. The cool thing is that its going to double ship Nov/Dec and then the last issue is out Jan…and we take the readers for a real fun ride in this one. At its most basic it’s all about the relationship between superman and Supergirl and how their powers play into what they do. We dump them both on a hostile planet with a red sun and they have to survive. Don’t want to give much more than that away.

MM: Where does it fit with the duo's regular books? Is it separate from FINAL CRISIS, etc?

JP: Totally separate and that’s a good thing in our eyes. You can pick this up and get right into it and not worry about spending 400 bucks trying to figure out the who, what and where of it all. It’s a stand alone, classic story. It’s these two characters stripped down to their basics, and then we start getting inside their heads within the context of the story. I have always wanted to do a survival story on another planet and that’s what you get, except with Superman and Supergirl. There is some insane stuff in this book.

MM: The TITANS universe is also getting a visit from you with the TERRA miniseries. How closely will it tie into the main books' continuity? Can someone read it, say an old-time fan, and still understand what's going on?

JP: Yes they can, but understand that this Terra will be in the TERROR TITANS and other books and all over once this miniseries comes out. This is the origin, and at the same time, the classic introduction to the character. Amanda Conner and Paul Mounts shoot to blow everyone away with this book and they deliver. These 4 issues will be the most fun you have had reading comics in a while and you can pick them up without having ever read the series before because we explain a lot of that within the 4 issues.

MM: Are you a fan of the classic Wolfman/Perez TITANS stories? Did they influence you in putting together this mini?

JP: Yeah, we are fans of it…and we reference it for sure…but this is a totally different character in look, attitude and style. Why bother trying to match the past character again? Marv is a brilliant writer and believe me…I couldn’t come close to the talent he has…I really am a fan of his work and the guy is one of the sweetest cool guys in the business. As far as George, well…he is George Perez. Nuff said.

MM: I no longer buy a single DC title in the monthly floppy format, but that might just change for POWER GIRL. Talk a bit about the creative team, your "hook" for the book, and where you'll be taking the character.

JP: If you wait for the trades, you will be left behind and everyone will ruin the series for you. Simple as that! What we are doing in Powergirl is introducing her to you the reader, covering her past history and origin and giving her a new supporting cast of characters that are all her own. The art is illustrated by Amanda Conner and colored by Paul mounts and it’s over the top big superhero comics. Amanda and I had a conversation about Powergirl’s look last night over dinner and we both decided she is probably one of the coolest characters visually and attitude wise in the DCU and how lucky we were to be working on this series. We really are so excited with all the insanity we are putting into each issue and visually, Amanda handled Powergirl before, so she is trying to step up her game since the last time. She and I work in the same house and when she got the script she wanted to throw a table at me. She loved it but didn’t know how she was going to draw some of the things we wrote…hey, everyone needs a challenge.

Trust me, in January this will be one of DC’s top ten titles. I know this because what Justin and I have planned for her is going to make the public go nuts for this book.

As you can tell, I am really excited about this!

MM: You also have a mini coming out through Image, BACK TO BROOKLYN, where you're working with Garth Ennis again. What's your working relationship like with Garth as opposed to how you work with Justin, for instance?

JP: Well, like Justin, Garth and I are really good friends and have known and worked together for a number of years , as far back as the PUNISHER series for Marvel and at Image on THE PRO. With Justin, we work together, sometimes in a room, sometimes over cam on a computer or by phone. Justin and I have been doing this for years and it’s a perfect combo on a number of levels. With this book, Garth and I met in the bar as we usually do and talked out an idea I presented to him. We worked out some of the logistics and such and then Garth went and wrote the script as I edited and put together the book and went out and got financing for it as well. This was not the two of us in a room, but when you read sections, close friends can see us both all over it.

I am really happy to hear from the retailers that the book has sold out. It’s always tough to sell a book that isn’t a superhero, so we all are extremely happy about this.
 

MM: Does doing BACK TO BROOKLYN make you itchy to do more creator-owned comics?

JP: Well…its one of 5 I have coming out in the next year. I have been itchy as hell to do more, but my contract at DC for the past two years kept that side of me at bay. Now that the contract has ended, I’m back to work. A lot of what I write is drama, horror, crime, science fiction and mostly assorted genre work, but honestly, superheroes are the last thing I do creator-owned unless it’s for the big two. I tend to enjoy writing different genres, that’s why books like JONAH HEX, POWERGIRL and PAINKILLER JANE can keep me happy on a number of levels. That all said, Justin and I have a sci-fi series coming with Phil Noto, a crime drama with another company and so on. All I need is more time. Time is the killer, ask any freelancer.

MM: It was recently announced that you'd be writing a VAMPIRE HUNTER D series for Devil's Due. For the uninitiated, what is the series about?

JP: Classic VAMPIRE HUNTER D will be written by two Americans and illustrated brilliantly. We have read the novels, seen the movies, and are going to take what we read and adapt the character best we can for some more adventures. We aren’t going to screw with a good thing, just build on its legacy. We got some pretty cool ideas right out of the gate so expect to see some art and story coming soon. The title character is a loner, a romantic figure and a dangerous man at times. One of the most feared men …and we plan to build on that legend and throw some new characters into the mix. We are being very careful with this property for a number of reasons that you can imagine.

The real appeal outside the property is getting to work with Josh Blaylock on this. I have been a fan of his work and he and I have become friends over the years, so getting the chance to hang with him and create with him is the best of both worlds. Collaborating with another creator on a project is really a big kick for me and having two distinct voices work on the same character gives the project an edge in my eyes.

MM: Will it be a mini or an ongoing? Who's working on the art chores for you?

JP: The artist, I can’t announce yet…but trust me, he is brilliant and understands the mood and nature of the property. That announcement is coming with time. This will first be a miniseries that Josh Blaylock and I will be writing. We will see how it goes and if the reaction is good. If it’s received well, you can bet that there will be more to come. We are still at the early stages of production on this project, but in Baltimore I had so many people asking about it and I read that interest as a really positive sign.

MM: On top of all that, you've been working on video games, too. Talk a bit about DEAD SPACE. Is it aimed at comics fans, horror fans? Will it resemble the comic book adaptation by Antony Johnston and Ben Templesmith at all or is it more of a separate entity?

JP: The DEAD SPACE property has a lot of different levels to it and what Justin and I did is write the fully animated direct-to-DVD feature screenplay that comes out in a few weeks; and I have to tell you, we are so excited about how well this feature came out. It ties into the Antony and Ben comic, as well as the video game, but at the same time can be a cool ultra-violent stand alone feature for anyone interested in the sci-fi/horror genre. The animation and computer animation in it is very much above what people are used to seeing these days and they really went in and created characters that are the right height and weight sensibilities so when you are watching the film, eventually you start to lose the sensation that you are watching animation and just get into what’s happening in the story.

The game, from what I saw when I was up at E.A.GAMES was pretty amazing, so on all levels of this project we have a brilliantly written and illustrated comic, a super cool animated feature, and a video game that kicks ass. It’s win-win for us on this project. On a side note, on the DVD, there is storyboarded an entire scene that had to be cut for timing that is pretty damn awesome. Please give it a look.

MM: Plus, you've been working on MORTAL KOMBAT VS DC UNIVERSE. What was that experience like? Were you kind of an ace in the hole for the game because of your knowledge of the DCU?

JP: Justin was the real ace in the hole, I felt, on this project. He knows every single thing about the DCU where my knowledge is a basic general one. We were originally brought in to oversee and fact check the game, but Ed Boon and his gang eventually trusted us to go in and work on the main story and characters and what we got is a pretty damn cool video game that will have every fanboy drooling these holidays. We are extremely proud of the work we did and blown away by the extremely cool visuals and game play that the guys at Midway put together. This has been a great experience for us on a number of levels and it has really made me appreciate all the insane work that these game designers do.

This game has gotten a lot of attention and we are hoping to be doing some more games in the future. Its something Justin and I happen to love. My studio alone has a PSP, X-Box 360, and a Wii. What can I say? It’s fun stuff.

MM: It's been a while since we've seen PAINKILLER JANE. Will she be on hiatus for a bit or will we be seeing her sooner than we think?

JP: Jane and I are taking a break for a number of reasons. The main one is we are trying to work on a film deal for the property at the moment and this time…we will get it right! The TV show was a great experience at times, and a horrible one just the same, but I learned a lot and at the end of the day became friends with the actors and crew and I will always have that. The experience alone I got from that gig was worth it all to me. What I have learned is not to let anyone else write the character anymore.

That all said, Dynamite has just released some of the trade books and I think a bigger collection is coming soon, but no JANE ‘til the new year when I can get the proper time and artist. I’d rather not put it out than just put out crap.

MM: Knowing you, I could be missing something! How do you find time to handle all these projects AND sleep? You're the busiest man in comics!

JP: I got to tell you…sometimes it’s not easy…and the thing is, there is travel time added to that and the stuff no one sees…and there is a lot of it. I have an advertising background that I brought into my business, so I learned early on not to take work unless I can do it on time, and at the same time, I am a multi-tasker like you have never seen. At the end of the day it comes down to how much you want something and the drive you have. I am not a spring chicken, but honestly I’ve got more energy that most half my age, and the acquired wisdom to understand that the work I have is a real gift; I am totally blessed with these opportunities; and I have to work my hardest, every minute of the day, to live up to my own high expectations.

I firmly believe there are prospects presented to us daily that we can either deal with head-on or turn away from. I hate to let a single one slip by. I love this business, love the fans and love that I can sit at my desk and day-in and day-out create something out of nothing. It’s no wonder that everyone that reads comics would love a shot at making them.

Marc Mason

 

 

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