It’s safe to say, Jimmy Palmiotti is a true icon of the comics industry: someone who has consistently worked on some of the biggest established characters for the likes of Marvel and DC while also creating and developing dynamic and entertaining characters and stories of his own for a whole variety of media. He’s done this either on his own or with his wife and frequent collaborator Amanda Connor, he’s done it without getting involved in much of the drama that sometimes pervades the industry and he’s done it while maintaining the biggest grin on his face and the hugest love of life, as his Instagram account attests.
Our ‘Man On The Ground’ Dan Berry caught up with Jimmy at San Diego Comic-Con, as you do, and asked if he could drop him a few questions after the show – about his career, his influences, the people he’s met over the years and what projects and conventions he’s got barrelling down the pipe…
THE CONVENTION COLLECTIVE: You’ve been in the comic book world for going on three decades, can you tell us about how you decided this was what you wanted to do as a career?
JIMMY PALMIOTTI: I started loving comics when I was a child but my real love was storytelling and film and over the years did not have access to the film part, back then film school was way out of my league money-wise, but making my own comics was totally approachable and I went for it after I finished school. It took me years to land my first real gigs, but I have been working ever since, always changing up my work along the way.
TCC: How did you get into art? Being in an artistic field can be scary to jump into full time – how did you make that transition?
JP: I went to the High School of Art and Design and made a living as an art director, illustrator and photo-retoucher for years before I got into comics. When I was a kid, I was quite small and a bit bullied and had found that making art was something I was good at and people seemed to like, so my focus was on that as I got older.
I have always been fascinated with just about every type of storytelling and being a good listener always helped my work. I appreciate this type of art. The full-time part was tough for comics since they pay pretty badly, so I had to have two jobs going for quite a while before I made the jump back in the early ’90s.
TCC: How did you decide when to transition to full time?
JP: I decided to make comics full time when I was inking three books a month and started my own company, Event Comics with Joe Quesada. We both needed to be full time on the comic end to make our company work.
TCC: Who is your favorite good guy or villain, any fandom?
JP: My favorite Good Guy was James Bond when I was growing up and now probably Jimmy Stewart in most of his movies as an adult. I like the fantasy aspect of travel and adventure that Bond had and I like the decent human being in Jimmy Stewart.
As far as Bad Guys, well, Hitler is the easiest to hate obviously, but I think as far as movies and such, I see the conflicted characters as interesting and the ones that take a leap to total Bad Guy really interesting to study. I see a lot what greed does to people and I think these people, who have so much and do not give back, doing things against the rest of humanity as the real villains of the world… I really have no sympathy for them. I will never quite understand that thinking. As far as fiction, Dr. Doom was always a favorite of mine.
TCC: Which artists – and/or writers – that you haven’t worked with yet would you love to?
JP: Well, as far as writers go, I feel I have collaborated enough in my career and need to do my own thing, outside of working with my wife Amanda. As far as artists go, the list is huge. I would love to work with guys like Arthur Adams, John Romita Jr, Milo Manara, Jim Sterenko, the Hernandez brothers, Walt Simonson, Sean Murphy, Dave Johnson, Dan Panosian, Nicola Scott and so many more. I would also love to work on films and TV and aiming some of my current work in that direction.
TCC: What other artists inspire you?
JP: I am inspired by a lot of different things, but mostly the excellent storytelling that is happening on a lot of cable shows and films. I just think it’s one of the most powerful mediums of storytelling besides novels and I have been enjoying a lot of different shows lately. The illustrator side of me is always finding new works to inspire me, including artists like Dave Cooper, Dave Johnson and many others. People that help others in the world are number one for me.
TCC: Favorite fandom?
JP: Music. I cannot live without it in my life.I also love art, and film and so many things.
TCC: Have you had any neat fan moments of people meeting you?
JP: I have been extremely lucky. The fans I have met are the nicest most intelligent people I have ever met and it is the one great thing about doing comic conventions: getting to meet these people. I have had people get married and propose in front of me, been invited on trips and dinners over the years and have to say I consider myself really lucky to attract this type of wonderful person.
I think my favorite moments are the sweet ones where a fan is super nervous to meet me and I can make them relax and enjoy the moment. I also have been given some really generous gifts as well over the years. I am just super glad to be accessible to them. It’s the real purpose and core of the comic conventions.
TCC: On the flip side, have you had any neat fan moments of your own, meeting someone?
JP: Sure, I have met a lot of celebrities over the years that have lived up to my expectations, people like Stan Lee, Margot Robbie, John Singleton, Adam Faberman, Tom Jane, David Mandell, Shane Black, Robert DeNiro, Johnathon Schaech, Jenniffer Tilly, Tom DeSanto, Ellen Muth and so on. Just wonderful and talented people to meet, talk to and share some special time.
As well there are a number of fans that I have seen and met and gotten to spend time with over the years that I now consider close friends. These people are super special to me. I think meeting Margot Robbie and talking Harley a few times has been a highlight for me.!
TCC: What projects are you currently working on? Anything new that you can talk about?
JP: I just finished a series of done-in-one Wonder Woman stories for the Walmart/Target 100-page books. Amanda and I are doing six more of these featuring other characters in the DCU. I also just finished a secret project for Marvel that will come out in 2020 and put the final credits to my Painkiller Jane Kickstarter.
I am also working on my own creator-owned books with my wife Amanda Conner, a bunch will be available in 2020 and before that will be having another Kickstarter coming in October that will collect a past work. Last, we have the third HARLEY QUINN omnibus coming out in a few months. The first two are available at a retailer and on sale on Amazon as we speak.
Other than that, I have been fine-tuning the Paperfilms.com website uploading some signed books and original art. That has become a bit of a monster for me of late.
TCC: What conventions do you have planned right now for the rest of 2019, and into 2020?
JP: Amanda and I will be at Heroes Comic Con in Stockholm on September 15th-17th, Cincinnati Comic Con at the end of September, and in New Hampshire for SNH Comic Bash at October 26th – that is it for 2019. We have already booked dates for 2020 and will announce some soon. Most of them will be overseas!
TCC: Good to hear that you’re getting the Airmiles in! Anything else you’d like to share with our readers, Jimmy?
JP: I would ask them to go to PAPERFILMS.COM and join the newsletter if they are interested and to support creators before companies. Take a chance on a creator-owned comic and be loyal to the creators that take the time to be nice to you and that produce the work you love. Stepping out to do your own thing is the hardest thing to do, so help them along with the process.
EDITORS NOTE: Thanks to Jimmy for taking the time to respond to Dan’s questions, that was incredibly generous of him. Along with all of the stuff that he talks about in his answers, I’d also point you towards something else that he participates in, which happens to be my favourite webcast at the moment – Dan Panosian, Dave Johnson and Jeff Johnson‘s THE ORIGINAL DRINK AND DRAW SOCIAL, a live show that goes out on YouTube every Thursday and which I’d highly recommend. Check it out!