Kickstarter maestros Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray of Paperfilms are at it again, this time with a Western, Abbadon, a tale of murder and mayhem set in a town full of just about every vice you can imagine. As with previous projects, the book is being funded on Kickstarter, and as of this writing is a few thousand dollars from making its goal, with two weeks to go.
It’s only the latest in a series of successful crowdfunding ventures for the Paperfilms team—we spoke with Palmiotti previously about Sex and Violence Vol 2 here and Denver here. This one has a new wrinkle: A partnership with Adaptive Studios, a new company that rescues abandoned IP. Palmiotti graciously answered a few questions about the project and Adaptive for The Beat.
THE BEAT: Unlike some of your other Kickstarters this is an adaptation of an unproduced screenplay? Can you explain the origin of this tale?
JIMMY PALMIOTTI: Justin and I were introduced to the crew from Adaptive Studios by a mutual friend and I flew out to California to meet and talk to them about what our company, Paperfilms does, show them the books we have done and think about how we can work on some projects together. Since Paperfilms is just a couple of people, on our end, we can put books together, but we really don’t have time to do much else and we thought this partnership would be an interesting one since the crew at Adaptive specialize in a lot of multi media including publishing and have connections that we either don’t or don’t have the time to pursue since comics are a very labor intensive medium.
We spoke about a few projects while there, and one special one in particular; Abbadon. We read the screenplay a few times and after some back and forth, thought this would make a great graphic novel with us adding our take on it. Even more attractive to us was we felt it would be a great world building project since the bigger picture outside the graphic novel is the town itself and its place in history. So bottom line is we fell in love with the screenplay, did our take of it, built on it and then went out and put a team together to do the art on the graphic novel. What backers of the Kickstarter will get is a complete story, cover to cover, that has a bigger picture built into it that we hope to continue building on.
THE BEAT: Adaptive Studios’ business plan involving rescuing abandoned IP. What does that mean and how does your partnership work?
PALMIOTTI: Adaptive studios is rescuing some IP as well as working with us to create new properties and exciting graphic novels. With anything I do in this business, it’s all about relationships and partnering with like minds that share similar goals. We do it on every single project when working with artists and designers, creating what we think are the perfect representation of the story we are working on. When I met and spent some time with the crew at Adaptive, I found that we had a lot of the same goals in common which was really exciting. Adaptive studios totally respected with Justin and I did, and since they didn’t do graphic novels themselves, this partnership made sense to us. The best part of working with them is that they really love graphic storytelling and like us, have a love of all genres, so partnering with them has been a no brainer. On Abbadon, they brought the project to us and we fell in love with the idea and built on it. Our next project together will be an original idea we had that they liked, and we are going to see how we can make it all come together. Partnering with anyone doesn’t make sense unless the other person can bring something to the table and we think by working together, we can do some pretty amazing things. Abbadon is our first project and right now, the focus is on us to put together a stunning graphic novel and hopefully a successful Kickstarter campaign.
THE BEAT: You’ve returned to the Western genre, where you told so many great stories with Jonah Hex—did you feel you had more Western stories to tell?
PALMIOTTI: For me, it’s a genre that will never get old because the classic storytelling elements are always at play. A successful genre always has certain elements to it that have universal appeal, and with Abbadon, it’s no different. With Jonah Hex, we based all of our stories around a main character and it was a fun ride, but with something like Abbadon, we can tell a ton of stories based on the set up in this graphic novel we couldn’t tell in a book like Jonah because we were always dealing with content specific guidelines. The book was basically an all ages one and with Abbadon, we are telling a more adult story with elements that we would never get away with in a million years in Hex. So, yes, we have more stories to tell, but we want to tell them as we see them.
THE BEAT: I assume Abbadon refers to the town this is set in—some people may remember it as the name of an enigmatic character from Lost, but it’s also a Biblical term for a bottomless pit. How does the story reflect that?
PALMIOTTI: The town name is based on the biblical name and what it represents. The story and main character is the lawless town itself, and how the people in it are tempting fate on a daily basis. It’s a town where lust, greed, pride, and madness are right at home. It’s the most fun place you can go and it may also be the last place you visit as well, depending on your deepest desires. We took the worst of the classic old west and created a lawless sin city that the reader will find fascinating on many levels. The main story about a killer on the loose has everything to do with the story itself and the characters involved with the hunting of the madman. There is a lot of character development within the 64 pages and its something we have a lot of experience with .
THE BEAT: Reading the description on the Kickstarter page, this sounds like a western detective story. What else should readers know about what this story is about?
PALMIOTTI: The graphic novel Abbadon is set in the late 1880’s American West and features some of the most intriguing characters we have ever had the pleasure to work on. This is the story of an expanding wealthy city steeped in sin, where anything is possible if you have the money, influence and power to obtain it. Poised to become the next boomtown, Abbadon is plagued by a series of grisly murders heralding the arrival of U.S. Marshall Wes Garrett.
A legendary lawman, Garrett’s claim to fame is that he killed a notorious murderer, who cut a bloody swath across the country and left scores of mutilated men, women and children in his wake. Garrett’s arrival exposes the secret that Abbadon’s sheriff Colt Dixon has desperately been trying to conceal – the victims have all been mutilated the same way they were by the killer Garret stopped – a man some called a monster, but the papers called him Bloody Bill.
Garrett and Dixon reluctantly join forces and have opposing ways of dealing with the situation at hand as they try to uncover the killer’s identity in a town so full of corruption that everyone is a suspect. It really is a great story because the characters themselves are really interesting.
THE BEAT: You worked with Fabrizio Fiorentino on All Star Western—what does his art style bring to a Western comic?
PALMIOTTI: Fabrizio knows his stuff and his illustrations and character drawings add a real world quality to the story and his storytelling and figure work breath life into our script in a way that is both beautiful and horrifying at the same time because of the subject matter. When we worked with him on All Star it was towards the end of the run and we wanted to find another project to work on together and this one was the perfect fit. The really cool thing about the book is each page is better than the last.
THE BEAT: The Western genre is considered kind of passe now, but western movies were once as popular as superhero movies are now. Do you think there could ever be a comeback for Westerns or has the time passed?
PALMIOTTI: I think there is always room for a quality story to be told no matter what the genre. Westerns are no different. I find it funny that the American western is a lot more fascinating to people living outside the U.S. and still has strong appeal.
THE BEAT: Any new features of your Kickstarter model with this project? It’s already more than half funded after a few days with minimal promotion (Editors note: , so you must be doing something right!
PALMIOTTI: We tried something different with this Kickstarter and focused on our usual backers first, and now we are spending the next few weeks going out and promoting the book to everyone. Only the people that have done Kickstarters realize just how much work it is to not only create the book, but getting a campaign together and especially promotion is a full time job. With our past Kickstarters, they always start out strong out of the gate and it’s the last few weeks we have to really focus on. The fun part of this process is that if we hit the number we are asking for, we can get really creative with the stretch goals and offer some really cool things to everyone backing Abbadon. At the end of the day, the art and story are the real sellers for this project and its up to us to deliver the goods. I am happiest to see that a lot of people are buying the digital version, which is only $5. I can see that these pledges are coming in from all over the world and I find this all to be really exciting. A big thanks for all of you that have supported this and past projects and to those new to Kickstarter, go have fun and explore the site. There are so many amazing comics and graphic novels to choose from.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.