An interview with Killing Time in America writer Jimmy Palmiotti.
What happens when the creator of Painkiller Jane and the screenwriter of the in-development film Back in Brooklyn get together and create a true, mature story of murder and mayhem in sunny Florida? You get Killing Time in America, the new graphic novel from writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Craig Weeden, with art by Justin Norman, known for his work on The Spirit and Elephant Men. AiPT! had a chance to talk to Palmiotti about the book, his journey getting here and the Kickstarter launched March 19 in support of the project. Check out the colored page from Killing Time in America at the end of the interview–exclusive to AiPT!–and be sure to visit the Kickstarter for more information about the graphic novel.
NOTE: This project is a MATURE, ADULT graphic novel, as Jimmy himself points out several times. Viewer discretion is advised.
AiPT!: Tell us about PaperFilms and your goals for starting your own independent studio.
Palmiotti: PaperFilms has been around for a while now and the original creation of the Paperfilms.com site was to make it a place online where clients could come if they needed our collective services. We offer professional work such as screenwriting, commercial writing, video games, Illustration and sequential comic book work. As we have grown and our client list got broader, we started to offer the actual work we do for sale in digital and book format, then art prints, signed books and even a service where people can send whatever they wanted signed, and we would take care of this. PaperFilms has been evolving over the year, but in the end, it’s a place where as creators we didn’t have to be totally dependent on other companies and have a central hub where our products could be found.
AiPT!: Why use Kickstarter for your funding platform?
Palmiotti: It’s a one-on-one connection with the people supporting our work. It is also a wonderful place to test ideas and to see if people are interested in them. It is ton of work, but when a successful campaign happens, it’s worth every single hour we put into it. It’s a great way to brand yourself and what you do and keep a constant connection with the people that support you. The people that keep coming back each time gives me an idea of my core audience and what they are looking for from me. I just think Kickstarters are a connection to the audience no other platform offers. I love it.
AiPT!: I notice that your “Mystery Box” and “Mystery Postcard” tiers are already sold out. What other tiers are you excited about fans getting a hold of?
Palmiotti: We just posted a censored Dave Johnson print that is just funny and beautiful at the same time, and I think the Amanda Conner cover and print tier is awesome as well. We should have the color of that up in a week, but for now the pencil art is there to see. I also like the tiers where you can get multiple hardcovers–mainly because this will not be available to retailers in this format and it’s a good way to stock up. That all said, the digital rewards are the cheapest and offer the most to read, so there is that as well. I create these things as if I was to buy into them myself, so I am super stoked for each pledge level.AiPT!: Why go with a hardcover book?
Palmiotti: Based on the previous Kickstarters it was the No. 1 thing fans were asking for and with this page count it made total sense. The good news is that it doesn’t change the digital levels, but for us, the art is so beautiful by Justin Norman and Paul Mounts, we feel totally justified going this way and it only added a few bucks on to the final price.
AiPT!: Where did the concept for Killing Time in America come from?
Palmiotti: The idea for the story came from Craig Weeden and I talking about how films like Hostel and so many others have Americans going to other places and horrible things happening to them and we thought we would turn that around and have some commentary of the world thrown into the story as well. We also talked about missing the days where an “R” rated film was really for adult content and set out to take this story wherever we wanted without worrying about being censored, since we were putting it out ourselves. We even wrote a screenplay for the story that comes in one of the digital levels. It’s fun to see how it all translated.
AiPT!: In the past year, you’ve completed your run on Harley Quinn, making her one of the more accessible and popular DC Comics characters, to bringing The Jetsons into the 21st century, and now to Killing Time. That’s a bit of a leap, isn’t it? Why is now the right time for this project?
Palmiotti: Now is the right time because of Harley and the attention we had. After working for four years on one of the most successful books I ever worked on, other than one more story coming, it was time to try to have some kind of success with something we owned and hopefully do something not offered to us by the bigger companies–involvement in other media platforms. We love Harley, but WB isn’t eager to involve me in anything outside the comics and owning your own characters changes that tune instantly. We love working for DC but it’s all limited in the big picture and last thing I want to be remembered for is someone else’s character. It’s just me I guess, but its why I work so hard on my own material while working with others. I am hoping for some more success, like I have had with Painkiller Jane.
AiPT!: You’ve worked with your wife Amanda Conner on a number of projects, including two acclaimed runs on Harley Quinn. What is it like working so closely with your spouse? How do you manage the inevitable friction involved in both creative pursuits and marriage?Palmiotti: She is my wife and best friend and is brilliant, so everything I work on with her is instantly better. I love brainstorming with her and she has a million original ideas she wants to work on. We both have different tastes in things, but have the same sense of humor and both open to trying anything new. That is an important thing to have in a relationship… the openness to get out of one’s safe zone. Any friction we have is because we both believe in what we are doing and eventually it’s all part of the process. She is my perfect partner in every way.
AiPT!: Is there anything else about Killing Time, the Kickstarter, PaperFilms or other future projects you’d like to spoil… um, mention to the AiPT! readers?
Palmiotti: Well, I am extremely proud of this particular Kickstarter and hope your readers give it a look, at the very least check out the mini live action trailer my buddy Chris made for it. We are halfway there with everyone’s support and hope to hit the number by the time it hits it’s deadline. I want to do more adult material in the future, so this will go a long way to seeing if that is a good move. I also ask that everyone check out our site PaperFilms.com and sign up for the newsletter to keep on track of what we have coming up. Outside of that, the next Kickstarter is a novel AND I am working on a new Painkiller Jane book, coming this summer. Other than that, Amanda is doing a lot of cover work and I will have some future announcements coming your way soon.