Thanks to the folks at Radical Comics the Pryde got a chance to chat with Jimmy Palmiotti via e-mail.
Thanks for taking the time to ‘chat’ with us. We really appreciate it.
Been following your career for awhile, when you were one of the top inkers in the business and then when you and Joe Quesada started writing together, and now that you’re collaborating with Justin Gray.
First question is how did that collaboration come about? You’ve been working together for a long time now, starting on 21 Down and Resistance for Wildstorm and now with Time Bomb and Jonah Hex and Freedom Fighters for DC. How do you keep the relationship fresh and not become stale after working together for so long? How does the collaboration work, do you both brainstorm and script?
We are best friends and if you have ever worked with a good friend you understand that it doesn’t seem like work anymore…its two people doing what they love and that’s it in a nutshell. I met Justin when he was a Marvel Knights intern, we became friends and we just clicked on so many levels, it seemed the natural thing to do. We do not compete with each other, we just try to do the best work we can and we brainstorm together whenever we can. We both have different styles of storytelling but together it’s a pretty interesting mash-up that everyone seems to enjoy.
How do you guys develop ideas? How does a story go from idea to finished product for P&G?
Its easy, we both talk about what we would like to see the characters handle, how we would like to see them grow within a series/story and we talk over how to get to these points. It’s a lot of discussion, back and forth and note taking, but we usually find a middle point where we both agree on and then we run with the idea from there. If you were filming our jam sessions, you would probably be laughing most of the time because we both have pretty outrageous imaginations.
Where did the idea for Time Bomb come from? How were the personalities of the characters developed? Why make Christian and Peggy a couple on the outs, for example. How long was Time Bomb in development before pen was laid to page? What was it working with Paul Gulacy? Did you seek him out to work on the book or did Radical come to you with “Want to work with Gulacy”? And how did Time Bomb end up at Radical? Was it your choice to do it as a 3 issue bi-monthly prestige format book or Radicals?
That is an interview packed into a question…lol. Time Bomb was an idea I had as a kid inspired by a 60’s movie called WHERE EAGLES DARE that I loved. The idea is totally different with the sci-fi angle, but at its core, the idea was action and adventure and like classic stories, we follow a group of people on a seemingly impossible mission. Justin and I spoke about this, tweaked what I had and we made the rounds with the idea and no one seemed interested and we put it aside. There was even a time when John Singleton got me a meeting at Sony about it and they passed because it would cost too much to make (before c.g.i.). Timing is everything in this business.
I met with Barry Levine, the main man at Radical and we spoke about us working with him on something and I did a verbal pitch of 3 ideas to him, and he fell in love with Time Bomb. He literally had a contract in our hands right away, discussed the page count (3 fifty page books) and the price point and who would be the dream artist. We told him Paul Gulacy would be it and he nailed it. After that we wrote the book and worked with Paul, as we have had many times before, and got the best work of his career in the process.
Looking back on the whole process, Radical has been a dream for us on so many levels. We currently have a new series in the works with them that is a crime story and hope to continue working with them. Nothing would make me happier than to be doing 3 titles with them at all times. They understand that comics are not all just superheroes.
As far as the time bomb characters, it was important that we have people from different races represent the future, as well as having modern problems like a divorce and such. We tried to make them likable on some level and like all heroes, feel for them when things go wrong. Those four are real people to us…and as you know…if we ever did another time bomb story, we could only feature 3 of them.
With the better technology in movies today, what are the chances of seeing Time Bomb on the big screen? Since you’ve gotten close with it before, would you like to see it in the theatres?
Now that we are done with the book, nothing would make me happier to see how it would translate to the big screen. Time Bomb franchise in every sense of the word…so I leave it to the guys at Radical see if they can make that happen.
Can you tell us anything about the upcoming book you have with Radical? Who will the artist be?
I cannot tell you that since we are the stage in the process of finding the right style to match the story…which is the most important thing, I have learned. the wrong artist, no matter how good the story might be, can destroy a project, while the right artist can elevate the work on all ends.
Why did you decide to revive the Freedom Fighters concept? What was the hook with the characters that got you interested? As I’m enjoying the book immensely, I’m curious what the future plans for the book are. You’re giving the characters some distinct personalities and it doesn’t have the feel of a normal team book. Which character is your favorite? Why?
We were asked by D.C. to pitch an ongoing title for the characters and we have history with them, so we figured why not…they are a fantastic and interesting group of odd characters. The future plans for the series are to continue the adventures of the main crew, get to know the characters and try to deliver a lot in each and every single issue. My favorite character is Phantom Lady, because I love working on female characters.
Out of all the creators you’ve worked with, which one was the best to work with? Who would you want to work with again and who haven’t you worked with that you would love to?
I have been blessed to have worked with some of the top people in the industry…just one look at the 63 issues of Jonah hex and its an international gallery of comics finest…but my favorite person to collaborate with will always be Amanda Conner because we connect on a million levels and I really think she is one of the finest storytellers in comics.
I haven’t worked with Joe Kubert, Moebius, Milo Manara, Mike Mignola, Mark Shultz, Arthur Adams, The Hernandez brothers and Bruce Timm and that’s my short list of people I would give anything to write something for. I am a huge fan of each of them and it would be a dream come true to do anything with them…to do something I would write specifically to match and challenge their style. I can dream.
One of the Pryde columnists has been doing a column on the influence of Filipino artists. He wanted to know how it was working with Tony DeZuniga on “Jonah Hex: No Way Back”?
Tony co-created Jonah hex, so this was a natural thing to do. I am a huge fan of Tony, have been for a long time and getting to work with him was a total pleasure. Even better, I have gotten to know Tony and his wife by seeing them at a number of conventions. Great artist, sweet man and a super talent. For the hardcover, we knew it was a lot to hit any artist with, but tony came through and even gave us the idea for the story. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. The Filipino artists out there are amazing, Tony is one of the brightest stars along side Alex Nino.
On the topic of Jonah Hex, why do you think your Hex tales have been lasting where most other western books don’t last very long or have much support? Is Hex the only viable western comic or do you think something like The Sixth Gun can enjoy the success that Hex has?
The character is an established character and it has that going for it…as well as being one of the coolest characters created. Add to that the fact that D.C. comics supports the book and us and lets us do our own thing creatively and it has been working out nicely for everyone. I think as long as we keep the book fresh, the art top notch and the stories interesting, we will keep gaining a new audience each year. As long as The Sixth Gun stays a good read and the company supports it, it has a chance to stay around.
You worked with Garth Ennis on the 2007 Ghost Rider video game. Are there any future plans to work with Ennis, video games or comics? Any other video game work coming from you that we should keep an eye out for?
I have worked a bit on the mmo for D.C., but not much more since it’s been a pretty heavy time for monthly books for me. As far as Garth, the last thing we did together was Back To Brooklyn and I think that’s it for the time being. I love Garth, his work and the man himself…so if he ever called again to do something, I would, as usual …jump at the chance. He really is a brilliant man. Just don’t tell him I said so.
Are you going to revisit any of your old works, like 21 Down? What are the chances of ever seeing Ash in print again, new or old?
Given the opportunity, I would jump at a chance to write 21 DOWN and THE MONOLITH again, but D.C. mostly owns them, so the ball in in their court. I will be releasing a new Painkiller Jane series at the end of the year…and a new Ash book as well. Most of my time will be spend also nailing all my actual paying gigs…I got bills you know.
A new Painkiller Jane and Ash book is great news. Is there a publisher nailed down for either of these? Will Justin be working on them with you and who will the artists be? Tenative release date?
These books will be without Justin. We are looking for the right publisher at this time…its between Image Comics, who I give about every single thing I create to…and another publisher that is interested…it will come down to support and such and I should know by April of 2011. The artists will be the people I have always worked with me…I already have Amanda Conner lined up for one of the books short stories…again, more to come when that happens.
Only a couple more questions.
What characters do you want to work with that you never have?
I would like to write a number of books for Amanda conner…and would like to “re-imagine” a bunch of characters for both DC and Marvel…if only they were interested.
What’s next for Jimmy Palmiotti and the team of Palmiotti and Gray? Besides Freedom Fighters and Jonah Hex, what else is on tap?
We have another on-going book coming up at DC that we cannot speak about…and a few books from Image in spring.
And final question, which recent artist would you like to ink?
None…I’m done with doing that for a while. They should ink themselves. ;]
We’d like to thank Jimmy for taking the time to talk with us and Radical for helping set this up. Keep an eye out for the upcoming books from Radical, Image and DC from Jimmy and Justin Gray and make sure you pick up Freedom Fighters and Jonah Hex and go to your store for Time Bomb, it’ll be worth it.
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