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Comic Book Superstars: Jimmy Palmiotti

The Western-loving writer talks Squirrel Girl, Heavy Metal and convention sex

Jimmy Palmiotti has been blazing a trail in comics since his debut at Marvel in 1991. He and close friend and fellow creator (and now Chief Creative Officer at Marvel) Joe Quesada made a number of inroads both at Marvel and with independent creations like ASH and Painkiller Jane. Palmiotti will be taking the reigns of DC’s All-Star Western books this fall, while also stewarding independent Kickstart Comics and commencing production on the film adaptation of Random Acts of Violence.


What’s the one thing you’d tell someone who think comics aren’t cool?
After I verbally abuse them for coming at me with such a general statement, I’d tell them they must have been reading the wrong comics and give them a pile of mine. The cool people already know about comics, so given a bit more time I would ask them what their interests are and find some books that are better aimed at their particular tastes. If that still doesn’t convince them, I will simply place them back in front of the TV so they can continue to pollute their brain watching American Idol or one of those crappy dance competition shows. I only have so much time on my hands.

Growing up, Marvel or DC?
How about Marvel, DC, Heavy Metal, Eerie, Creepy, and underground comics. I was not big on superhero comics and to this day I prefer genre stories to the usual man-in-spandex stuff. I always loved my science fiction and horror books and I would say that Heavy Metal magazine was my main collecting and artist inspiration. That said, at Marvel I loved Warlock and Master of Kung Fu, and at DC I loved Jonah Hex and Swamp Thing.

Which superhero is the biggest douchebag?
Wow…most of the douchebags are villains and not the heroes. If I “out” any hero as a complete douche it will kill the chances of me working on them and making them less of a douche. I will say that Squirrel Girl can be a real pain in the balls though. I would hate to be around when she’s looking for nuts for the winter.

In an all-companies crossover, can you assemble your ultimate five-hero team?
That one is easy. It would consist of Painkiller Jane, Jonah Hex, The Punisher, Wolverine and The Invisible Woman. All good characters to have on a road trip and go barhopping with. Think about it.

Who’s got the stupidest costume of any hero or villain?
Probably Black Goliath. Why would you need a suit when you’re over 80 feet tall? Who’s not going to figure out who you are at that point? Booster Gold is another one - that yellow and blue combo only works for IKEA.

Have you ever had a story rejected by an editor?
I have had a few dozen pitches of characters that have been rejected – it’s part of the business, to tell the truth. I usually fine tune them and sell them elsewhere. Such was the case with books like Tattered Man, The Last Resort and a number of others. Sometimes you need that to happen to realize that they aren’t ready to take out of the oven yet.

Which are the best and worst comic book movie adaptations?
Worst and most disappointing to me was Elektra, since I love the character so much in the comics, and onscreen it was so hard to watch. Two of the best were the last two Batman movies. They felt like real films to me, and not vehicles to push product. This summer so far, X-Men: First Class was pretty darn good. Still haven’t seen Green Lantern yet.

What's the project you're most excited about right now?
Probably most excited for the new All Star Western book at DC Comics, the Claws miniseries for Marvel and Trailblazer for Image. I can’t pick just one since they are all mine and Justin’s babies.

What’s been your strangest Comic Con experience?
I once had sex at a con in a room off the signing floor, and a couple of dudes interrupted us. The one guy said "Sorry mister Palmiotti". I thought that was very funny. 

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