Creator Owned Heroes, published through Image Comics, will make its debut on June 6, 2012, but this is no ordinary comic book printing. This anthology style book is a different breed of literary and graphic experience for readers. I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to one of the collaborators on Creator Owned Heroes, Jimmy Palmiotti, at Dallas Comic Con to talk about this project as well as a new project, Retrovirus, through Kickstarter.com. Check out our conversation below:
SciFi Mafia: You have an interesting project that’s coming up published through Image Comics next month called Creator Owned Heroes.
Jimmy Palmiotti: Yeah, that’s with me, Justin Gray, Phil Noto, Steve Niles, Kevin Mellon, and Bill Tortolini, who is my designer on it and all the Image titles. What we’re doing is a monthly book with two, three, or four part stories featuring 22 pages of comics and 16 pages of editorial in the back. Issue one features an interview with Neil Gaiman , an article on cosplay, convention photos and more. Every issue, we are featuring something different, and it’s me and all the guys putting content in. It’s a comic book/magazine.
SFM: So, the first issue will have two primary stories…
Jimmy Palmiotti: Yes, Triggergirl 6 is me and Phil Noto and the other one is American Muscle by Steve Niles and Kevin Mellon. They both run four parts and in issue five, we have a new [story] starting from another creative team. It’s still me and Steve and Justin but with other artists.
SFM: So how are people going to get their hands on Creator Owned Heroes?
Jimmy Palmiotti: It would be great if they could pre-order it with their stores. It comes out in June, and it will also be available for download as well on Comixology. We hope that most people will pre-order it with their retailers because these days Image stuff sells out pretty quick. Pre-ordering is the way to go with books in general.
SFM: Do you have a set timeline for Creator Owned Heroes?
Jimmy Palmiotti: We have a year’s worth that we’re working on and if it takes off, we’re just going to keep going. It’s going to be monthly.
SFM: You guys are prolific! That’s an ambitious timeline with everything else all of you are working on.
Jimmy Palmiotti: We’re just going all in. We want the retailers to have confidence that we’re going to have the product for a while. We already set up the interviews [for the editorial part] with the next bunch of books. The second one is Paul Pope. Third one is Mark Waid and so on and so on and so on.
SFM: And you have another project with Justin Gray and Norberto Fernandez that has exceeded its projected goal through Kickstarter.com and concluded its crowdfunding this weekend.
Jimmy Palmiotti: Yes, it’s called Retrovirus. And we’ve added more pages since we made more money on it than we thought we would. Originally it was going to 48 or 55 pages. All the money is going to the artists to make the book and the production, but we decided to expand on the story [because of the extra funding]. Then I get to mail around 320 envelopes when the book comes out, which is always a blast. Kickstarter has been great. Queen Crab would have never been sold to a publisher at this point and I think Image of course took it right away because they are great to work with. For me it’s a great project because I don’t have to sell that many out of the gate.
SFM: These are self-published…
Jimmy Palmiotti: Self-published and I bring them through Image Comics. Image is my self-publisher in a way. Image has been amazing to work with and we’re already into the sixth printing of The Pro with them. I’ve been doing stuff with them forever. They are my publisher although they are a creator-owned publisher.
There’s about 30 pages left to do on Retrovirus. It will be a hardcover, in the same format as the Queen Crab book and we have another untitled one that we’ll start soon and it’s basically two stories and they are adult-only. They are sex-crime stories. A lot of sex, a little bit of crime. It’s stuff that we don’t see people making right now in comics. So we’re trying to explore genres right now. Retrovirus, storywise, is in the spirit of a Michael Crichton novel like Andromeda Strain or Jurassic Park.
With the next one, we’re doing some short stories. I like erotic stories when they are done well. I like when there’s something to them. Not just hard core porn or anything. I like erotic and exotic and that is what this book is. I think there’s a market for it and people want to read something more adult than the superhero stuff. We’ll see.
SFM: I think it’s wonderful that you’re bringing all these projects through Kickstarter to get the fan base excited about it and involved.
Jimmy Palmiotti:The crowdsourcing publishing shows that people believe in what you’re doing and willing to take a risk on your next crazy project. And I don’t need it to sell like crazy. It just needs to hit a point and if it finds an audience after that great, but it allows me to experiment and just do something besides superheroes for a little bit.
SFM: How do people who didn’t get in on the Kickstarter pledging get a copy of Retrovirus?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Well, they can now go to their retailer and it will be solicited through Image and then they can just pre-order it. The good thing is we overprinted Queen Crab, so you can still order it.
SFM: And that’s the end of the run of it?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Yeah, unless Oprah’s Book Club decides that everyone needs to read my book…
SFM: And then it explodes!
Jimmy Palmiotti: Yeah, we can always do a second printing but the demand has to be there. Not everything gets a second printing. My audience is limited. I understand my space in the world. So I try to cater to that group. I’m not a Grant Morrison or Geoff Johns or anything like that, but I do feel like I write for my audience. My audience is a pretty awesome group.
SFM: Is there anything else that you’re working on that you’d like to tip off our readers on?
Jimmy Palmiotti: We’ve got Phantom Lady and Doll Man that we’re doing for DC Comics. It’s a limited series with Cat Staggs doing the art. We’re basically revisiting these two characters for the 52 universe.
I’m working on stuff with Painkiller Jane. I can’t really talk about it yet but next year will be a very Painkiller Jane year.
SFM: In what medium?
Jimmy Palmiotti: In publishing and video/film/whatever it winds up on TV or the big screen. And we have plans for Monolith [with Justin Gray through Image Comics.] Monolith comes out in hardcover in July and we’ll probably have an announcement about Monolith by San Deigo Comic Con. Cool stuff happening!
[Above: Cover art by Amanda Conner]
A Texas-sized helping of thanks goes out to Jimmy Palmiotti for taking the time to talk with SFM at Dallas Comic Con. We have more from this interview and a special giveaway coming up!
If you are a fan of any of his long litany of works, including Monolith, 21 Down, The Resistance, The Pro, Gatecrasher, Beautiful Killer, Ash, Cloudburst, Trigger Girl 6, Splatterman, Thrill Seeker, Trailblazer, Ballerina, The Twilight Experiment, Painkiller Jane, Powergirl, Jonah Hex, All-Star Western, The Ray, and many more, go out and meet this master creator at a Con! Jimmy’s wonderfully warm personality won me over his tough Yankee-Italian exterior. He’s hands-down one of the nicest, no BS, and most creative people I’ve met.