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illustration (c) Josť Villarrubia 2000 digital

illustration (c) Josť Villarrubia 2000
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Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.

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INTERVIEW: JIMMY PALMIOTTI- BROOKLYN STYLE
By Jonathan Ellis.

The name is Jimmy Palmiotti, and he's everywhere. You've seen his inking work across countless books. You've seen him as the co-editor of Marvel Knights, and his burgeoning career as an artist and writer. You know Jimmy Palmiotti through his name, and well-earned reputation. Now, have a conversation with him.

Recently you've been doing more and more writing work - has this taken a precedent in your career right now or has inking remained your mainstay?

Well, for the time being, I am doing a bit of both. The writing gig for me is really exciting because people are not used to me doing this, even though I co wrote all the event titles, and it is fun to hear what others think about what I am doing. For me personally, I had to do this because it is the next step in my career in comics. With all the editing and crap I have been doing for the past 3 years, I need to break out on my own and create new worlds, characters and other things. I think that I got a lot to give and I'M gonna really start to make a difference in 2002. I hope! The inking is second nature for me, I enjoy the karma of it all and really like working with outer creators and seeing what we can do together.

A year ago you had planned to do a creator owned project which you'd provide pencils for - is this something you still plan on doing?

Currently, I am working on a couple of creator owned projects for two different companies. However. I can't talk about them yet. As far as penciling goes, I did some pinup work here and there and I'm also doing a short story for the Comic Book legal defense fund for their expo-2001. Penciling takes me a lot longer than anything else at this point so I am really selective about what jobs I take on.

Can you reveal anything about these upcoming titles? Which companies for example - what roles will you be handling in terms of these projects?

Well... I can tell you that one of the characters I am working on is going to be for Blackbull in 2002. It is something that I have been working on for quite some time and I have two of the finest people behind me on the project. this will be announced around San Diego. The other series I really can't talk about till everything is confirmed, this too will be a mini-series that will come out next year. All I can tell you is that it is not for marvel. Both books I will be handling the writing, and some of the design work on the characters. As far as my inking work goes... I have a bunch of projects lined up.

Just over a year ago you departed from Marvel Knights citing personal reasons which required you to lessen your workload - and yet you seem to be busier then ever - did part of your leaving have to do with just finding editing 'boring' at times?

There is at least a dozen reasons why I left Marvel Knights, the primary issue was that my mom needed attention at that time. Another reason is that I felt that what we set out to do was accomplished and I was ready to move on. I felt with all the experience and the hard work we put into the Knight's books, it was time for me to go back to the original reason why we took the Marvel Knights job; to do more creator owned projects. Originally, the Marvel Knights deal was for us to make enough money to support Event Comics and develop properties that we owned. So it reached the point where I invested two and a half years into Marvel Knights and ultimately walked away without owning one single thing. That is something I don't want to waste my time with anymore. As far as editing being "boring", I still enjoy editing on a smaller level I.E. PILGRIM, but I'm essentially a creator not a baby-sitter.

Did seeing Joe have to juggle work with his own personal problems have any bearing on how you chose to juggle the two yourself?

No. Everyone handles things differently. Joe juggling work with his problems has absolutely nothing in common with the way that I handle my personal problems, we are two different people, that's why we got along so well. Before the Marvel Knights I had ten years experience working in advertising and owning a company, naturally personal problems arose during that time. So, juggling work and personal issues became second nature to me.

Was leaving Marvel Knights necessary to expand your workload to other companies - DC, Black Bull?

Yes, and no. My Marvel Knights deal which in parts was written by me allowed me to work for anyone I wanted as along as I fulfilled my obligations to Marvel Knights. At the time I was working at Knights I was simultaneously doing work for three other companies. This work never got in the way of my commitment to Marvel Knights. When I left, it opened up more time for me to do more writing in comics, TV and film, which is something I have always had a passion for. Now, a year later I have two properties in production, for WBKids and MTV. This would never have happened if I remained at Marvel.

What lead you to television and what can you reveal about these projects?

Well, Amanda Conner and I put together a couple of projects/pitches in the last 8 months and we went out and shopped them as being for T.V., specifically, for a younger audience. Surf & turf was picked up pretty quickly by WB kids, and our other project is now being looked at. GATECRASHER has a life of its own, and I got to tell you, it sold it self. When the book hit, we had 3 offers for the property in no time. It was created for mass consumption, lol... and at the same time was a blast to work on. T.V. and film are really tough fields to break into, and that is part of the reason that I wanted to do something more with our creations... I figured it was a cool challenge and thought it would be really exciting to run around and lose my mind... lol.

Now Jimmy Palmiotti is a name synonymous with the biggest talent in the industry, are there any creators you've yet to work with that you're hoping you may still one day find yourself working aside?

Yes, of course. Off the top of my head, Geoff Darrow, Kevin Nowlan, Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Madonna, John Singleton, Sam Rami, the Vertigo office, the V.I.P. girls, Bill Wray, Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Nastassia Kinski and so many more...

Now that the medium of superheroes and the way they've evolved and are being portrayed has improved greatly - do you believe this effects the popularity of anti-heroes and renegades such as Deadpool and Punisher?

Good storytelling is just that. There will always be room for anti-heroes and more reality driven comics. Personally, I'm not a big superhero fan, I like the gritty, sci-fi, noir/ reality based series. Guys that shoot lightning bolts out of their fingertips belong on Hercules or Zena.

If Kevin or Joe ever returned to DAREDEVIL for the oft talked about Graphic Novel, would you be inclined to return as well? Or if ASH had returned for that matter?

No. Been there. Done that. I'm interested in exploring new things, not going back to redo things just for the notoriety or check. I would be very surprised if someone like Kevin would even waste his time going back to Daredevil because it seemed to me in the guardian devil story that he pretty much got all he wanted to say on paper and it kicked ass. It would seem to me that most creative people would be trying to challenge themselves at this point. That's why Kevin is on Green Arrow and who knows what he's going to do next. I can't speak personally for anyone else, but Ash was fun when we did it and Joe and I had a certain passion for the character that simply isn't there anymore. It wouldn't be fair to the fans to do a half assed job and revive something that we no longer had an interest.

What about when the ASH film comes to completion, whenever that may be?

Well, Dreamworks has the property and keeps getting rewrites on the script. as far as I know... we don't have a clue of what is going on there. If the film ever comes out, you can bet your ass that there will be a lot of collected ASH titles, but who knows what the future holds. ASH will have a life of it's own and come knocking on our door when the time is right.

Convention Season is coming up, do you plan to keep a presence around the artist floors this year - or at least come around so you've got more stories about parties with Nelson, or tales of Mark Texeria sneaking out a Men's Room window?

I do all the major con's every year and always have a great time with both the fans and the pro's. All I simply ask is that no one take pictures of my lewd after hour activities.

Ever had any bad fanboy moments?

Sure, right now, doing this interview, I type slowly and this is taking me nine years to write. To tell you the truth, most of the experiences are great but every once and a while some asshole manages to make a point of his existence by getting in my face. I take care of that Brooklyn style.

What advice would you give to those trying to make it in the Biz today?

Learn to write. Learn to draw, learn the computer, go to school, travel the world, and always slip one of your favorite creators a crisp twenty dollar bill if you want an honest portfolio review. At times a Polaroid of your mom or sister will do just fine.

Brooklyn Bizarro, really, what prompted this?

Brooklynbizarro.com needs to exist. People need to express themselves outside of comics and we offer a place where someone who doesn't quite fit into general society can go to enjoy half-naked girls, car crashes, S&M Queens, hundreds of our party pictures, Jpegs of every insane thing on earth and a message board where people can really say what's on their mind about comics, movies, music. And... chicks dig it.

It's certainly given you a chance to flex your photography muscles, is this a medium you'd like to explore further, given time that is?

I have always taken pictures, since I was 15... my job in advertising and doing movie posters and such always centered around photography. My studio looks like the studio of the pinup guys in Rocketeer. I do it for fun, and once in a while for the site, or friends, why? Looking to pose for me?

Wouldn't be the first time.

A-hem...

Anyway, I get the feeling that your inspirations for Deadpool are more based on cinematic impressions then other writers past renditions. What sort of feel are you going for with your version of the 'merc with a mouth'?

To me, everything I write has a cinematic feel because that's what I'm very influenced by. I picture the progress of the characters and the story in my mind and watch it unfold like a good film.

And if there were to be a DEADPOOL film, do you see yourself getting involved in that respect? Any particular actors you see embodying the Deadpool character?

I honestly don't think in a million years the powers that be at Marvel would want me anywhere near the Deadpool movie if they had any say in the project, which as a rule, they usually don't, lol. My version of Deadpool would probably be the one that would translate best to the silver screen, but I know for a fact that the people in charge were not completely thrilled at my Deadpool, it's a little too tough, and that is cool with me... the series was going to be cancelled and now it isn't. Nuff said. I wrote the kind of stories that I was asked to write and I think, for me, they are fun books, just not the joke books they were looking for. The last 2 issues of Deadpool are our best ones, and buddy and I had a ball writing them. You really can't please everyone. That is a fact. As far as who do I see playing Deadpool? Jim Carey or Brad Pitt would be cool. Pitt could pull it off great.

What's your dream project? Any creative you want, any characters, any company, no restrictions, what do you do?

I'm working on them right now. Creator owned books are where my future lies. Nothing gives someone like me more satisfaction than to see something they created come to life in print or on film. There are characters I really like for different companies and I would like to work on them. In fact I would love to write Punisher, Superboy, Batman, Killraven or Master of Kung Fu to name a few.

Most under appreciated creator currently in the biz?

That would have to be Amanda Conner. Only a select few know how incredibly talented this girl is.

For future projects do you see yourself and Amanda working alongside each other more often, or do the two of you look at your work as 'You do your thing, and she does her's?

Well, we both are doing a lot of different projects separately right now. Amanda, in the past 2 weeks is doing a daily strip, Millie the model, for a couple of newspapers, including the N.Y. Post. Some more MAD magazine work and will be doing a Harlequin short story for D.C. together we just did something for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are working on another animation pitch and are trying to get a comic project off the ground for 2002 that is written by a very famous person... I cannot say who just yet. I would love to work some more with her, but we are juggling a lot of projects separately... so when they start clearing up, you are going to see a lot from us as a team.

So how does a day in the life of 'Jimmy Palmiotti' work out?

Works out fine as far as I'm concerned. I am the one that controls what I do each day. I make my own deadlines, set my own goals and go to the movies when ever I like. What more could a person want?

Comics journalism, in any form, how important is it?

Well it is important to the fan and less to the creator. It's healthy for people to speak about what gives them pleasure. Even if we don't like what we read.

Comics code, we want to get rid of it, you in?

Nope. There are a lot of dumb people out there who pick up comics and have no clue what the content is and don't take the time to look into it. I personally think the code makes it easier for a busy parent to choose what their kids read. I can't tell you how many times in comic stores the person working in the store has no clue about the content of what he or she is selling. God knows we don't need anymore lawsuits.

You've just been given a chance to rework the industry, starting with the major publishers and distribution companies, what do you do, what DO you do?

Don't give me that shit job. I'd rather run outside and bang my head into a brick wall. The only thing I'm going to rework is my own properties and my own distribution of power. The people in charge have no passion for their product and that is why they have a problem selling it.

Finish these sentences;
Right now, in the industry we need more...
Well greased bikini-babes that think I'm the bee's knees. But honestly we need more women reading comics and more positive role models.

and less... We need less bickering forty-year-olds going on the internet and complaining about their lost childhood's.

Thanks Jimmy, for those interested in picking up some more Jimmy pieces you can see his upcoming work which includes inking a 2 part prestige format CATWOMAN/BATGIRL book for D.C. for 2002, and inking a couple of TITANS issues.

Jimmy will be inking PUNISHER the ongoing series with Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, as well as inking the cover to PILGRIM #5 over John McCrea, and inking a CYCLOPS mini series over Mark Texeria.

Furthermore be sure to check out his writing DEADPOOL 54 & 55, guest starring the Punisher. He'll be writing a 10 page wolverine/rouge story with art by Amanda Conner which will appear in X-MEN UNLIMITED.

Upcoming Jimmy also has a new title for D.C. at the end of the year which he'll be writing and inking, but of course he...

"...can't say more than that now."

Also on Jimmy's plate is the afore mentioned new title for Black Bull to be released in 2002, as well as some hush-hush work with MTV and WB which also includes Gatecrasher and Surf & Turf stuff.

And of course Jimmy will be...

"constantly updating brooklynbizarro.com, and...
Amanda and I will be at Pittsburgh, San Diego and Wizard World this summer."

Thanks again Jimmy.


Jonathan Ellis is Interviews Editor for PopImage.

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