The spiel: Palmiotti and Gray riding the success from their last project RETROVIRUS and currently 3-for-3 on successful Kickstarter projects. If you didn’t pledge for RETROVIRUS back in May, you can head over to your local comic shop and buy a copy TODAY.
SEX AND VIOLENCE volume 1 is a 64 page graphic novel about crime, lust and redemption split into two distinctively different stories sharing similar themes written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and drawn by Jimmy Broxton and Juan SantaCruz. Excessive nudity and violence makes this an adults only title.
PORNLAND, OREGON strikes me as a Showtime or HBO series. The book has a big theatrical presence and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being one the first Kickstarter comics adapted to film or television.
The first story, PORNLAND, OREGON, is written by Justin Gray [ All-Star Western, Retrovirus, Creator-Owned Heroes] and drawn by Jimmy Broxton [The Unwritten, The Engine] . When his runaway granddaughter is murdered, Rick embarks on a bloody trail of revenge through Portland’s internet porn community only to discover he may have inadvertently had a role in her death.
GIRL IN A STORM has that Franco-Belgian style for an American audience. Their work lead me to discover artists like Jordi Bernet,Antonio Segura, Horacio Altuna and Domingo Mandrafina. One of the things that’s so great about Gray and Palmiotti is that they can work with artist all over the map and play to their strengths.
The other story, GIRL IN A STORM, is written by Jimmy Palmiotti [ Painkiller Jane, Queen Crab, Jonah Hex] and illustrated by Juan SantaCruz [The Resistance, Fantastic Four, The Hulk] and is a story about a NYC female police officer that becomes fascinated with a lesbian couple that has moved across the courtyard from her apartment. What started out as a curiosity out of boredom has become a full fledged obsession that starts her questioning her own life.
The money rasied will be used to printing and shipping costs. Incentives include exclusive prints, Amanda Conner cover you can’t get anywhere else and for $400 you can have a female character named after you. There is a good $250 retailer incentive that gets you 10 signed books, prints and their undying love. Click here (or the artwork or title above) to pledge and support this great project.
I don’t think these guys get enough credit for being some of the most prolific creators for the last fifteen years. Western comics wouldn’t exist in today’s market if it weren’t for their work on Jonah Hex. Between Jimmy’s hectic schedule he agreed to do an interview and shed insight on his creative process, the pros and cons of self publishing and his plans for future Kickstarter projects.
Henry Barajas: You and Gray have been collaborating for years and your work keeps getting better and better. Can you describe what your creative process is like?
Jimmy Palmiotti: We are best friends first, and that is a very important detail in our work relationship. Justin and I speak a few times a day, and with all this conversation come a lot of wild ideas being tossed around. Some stick and some go away, but in the end we usually are able to mash them up in a way where we find a middle ground that appeals to us both…and from this process we build on the idea and then have the task of finding a publishing home for it. We both have a great love for things off the beaten path, and this includes books, movies, music and technology, and we are big-time consumers of all things comics so we are always looking for the ideas and genres that seem to be missing from the current market. We do not follow trends, which, at times, leaves our work out in left fiend…but we enjoy the ideas and projects that we take on, so in the end, we just follow our gut and go for it.
Gray and yourself are so prolific and I feel like you have a bunch of projects on the back burner waiting for the artist to complete, why do you think this story is worth starting a Kickstarter to publish it?
With Sex and Violence Volume One we looked at a couple of stories we were tossing around together that were “mature” reader type stories and were deciding just how in hell we would package an idea like this. We wanted to do a project together with two different voices sharing the same theme and that’s why we have two totally different artists working on each. We both felt that a project like this would be impossible to fund ourselves and we could never get a publisher behind us to do it. You have to remember, a monthly like Creator-Owned Heroes barely sells 5 thousand copies and we take a beating on that book each and every month, so we really do not have any money left to fund Sex and Violence ourselves. We felt the subject matter with this Kickstarter would be of interest to fans of our other two Kickstarter campaigns and with the right artists, the right pitch and pledge rewards, we would be able to reach our goal and then some. If we hit it and go over, the extra funds go right into Volume Two.
This is the second Kickstarter project you’ve launched this year, what have you learned on your third go around?
I have learned that the fans of our work are everything to us. They repost and tweet the links, they support the projects and they have given us the blessing to be able to launch an idea and have our back at the same time. We have learned to treat all of these people like family and they all know, any problems with any part of the Kickstarter, we are there to help them along, make sure they feel satisfied and give them things that they really want. I have also learned to figure out the right incentives for each project and make sure each week to update and offer new things along the way. This is the most important business relationship I have ever had and I am in for the long haul. As the market for our ideas shrinks, we are able, with Kickstarter, to experiment on ideas we would never in a million years find a home for. Even when we later publish the books with Image, getting the funding to pay the talent is taken care of with our Kickstarter campaigns. I have never added my writing fee to a project yet.
You mention on the site that Sex and Violence will be picked up, wouldn’t it be easier to have this published by someone like Image? As if you don’t have enough on your plate now you’re publishing a book.
We will eventually approach a few publishers with the book because publishing is a full time job. What we did here is get the Kickstarter people supporting this project, a book that is EXCLUSIVE to their pledges. You will not be able to get this copy, with the Amanda Conner cover on it, you will not be able to get the signed and numbered cover anywhere else and we are going to Print on Demand to make these books. We will be printing only the amount that is pledged and no more. When we finally decide on a company to publish it, it will be formatted differently, different cover, no autographs or numbering and so on. The idea here is to give the Kickstarter pledges an exclusive product. Part of the celebration of the book will be seeing it published elsewhere later and know that each of them have been essential to making that happen and the product they have is something no one else can get. The limited and signed prints alone are worth the investment.
When it comes to printing, promoting, publishing and creating a Kickstarter project in itself, what have you learned this time around?
Make sure you add shipping charges for overseas shipping to every pledge and to interact with the pledge people…answer their questions and follow up after the commitment pledges are sent out and nurture that relationship. The hardest part of all this is putting the book together and then mailing out over 400 packages all over the world, but I have a good friend Patrick Wedge that gives me a hand with all this and he is brilliant in every way. Without my friends, I would be a lost soul and never be able to do these.
I noticed this project title is Volume One; depending on the success will we be seeing another volume? We still have another month left in the year, are you going to shoot for three Kickstarter projects in one year? You could break the record and be the Kickstarter King.
Hahaha. No, this is the last for the year, but we plan to do more for sure. I really would like to be king of something, so please make that happen. There will be a Volume 2 of Sex and Violence for sure it looks, which is very exciting. We would really like to get feedback first when people have read it before committing. If they all think it sucks…well, our money might be better aimed at another idea or project.
Did you have Jimmy Broxton and Juan Santa Cruz in mind when writing these stories?
We actually wrote the stories exactly for their style. We approached each of them with the idea to see if they would have any interest and we have been paying them out of pocket for a while now to make sure the book was almost done by the launch. We have a history with each…Jimmy (Broxton) being a good friend and someone that I admire as an artist and with Juan, well, we have done a ton of creator owned work and shared with him dating back to The Resistance and Twilight Experiment and any chance we get to work with him we grab it. These are two guys that should be doing mainstream all the time and if anything over the years, I have a good eye for talent that can not only nail the storytelling and dynamics of a job, but also are some of the most professional people I know. Both of these brilliant guys hit every deadline, nailed every scene and if a patch or tweak was needed, were total pros and nailed it. We will be working with them both for a very long time.
How does working on these Kickstarter creator owned works compare to the stuff you write for companies like DC and Marvel?
Well, we have fewer restrictions because we are working on totally new material and not established characters. There is also a freedom here to go any direction we want and not worry about the details. The biggest difference is that these books are of a much higher risk because we have to fund the project way before we Kickstarter it and that could cost thousands. We love working for the big companies and will never stop, but we do hope one day to be able to do more projects like this.
There has been a trend of established creators like yourself, Gail Simone, Jamal Igle, Bob Burden. Is there something in the water making people wake up and realize they can control their IP or do you think this is just a fad?
I don’t know about others, but since Joe Quesada and I created Event Comics over 17 years ago, I have been working on creator owned or creator-shared projects. Although things like Painkiller Jane have had good success, most of them have not been successful to people looking at them from the outside, but for me, it’s always been about doing what I want and hoping I can find an audience for them. The trick in this business is not to let failing get in the way of continuing to follow your dream. For me, this is not a fad; it is a way of life. Lets hope people like Gail, Jamal and Bob now see that there is a place for their ideas and they can continue to do more original projects on Kickstarter.
You have been writing on Creator-Owned Heroes and All Star Western: what else are you working on at the moment?
I am almost done with Captain Brooklyn and that Kickstarter will go up when Amanda is almost done with the books. We have Deep Sea running in Dark Horse Presents and last The Human Bomb mini series with Jerry Ordway and that’s it for now. I do have a very secret project in the works I cannot talk about, but its not something you would expect.
I remember listienng to an interview with Siuntres on Word Balloon podcast and saying that you want to known as a writer, will we ever see you get back behind the drawing table?
I will. I have to. Funding some of my projects has become expensive and I am the only person I know that works for free. I just feel my art is …eh, so I have to get some Dutch courage to try to explore that part of my career. Nothing like having a line of books drawn when one is drunk. I really lack the confidence to do it, but Amanda has been a great supporter, so we shall see.