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Killer Comeback

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With the Sci-Fi Channel's Painkiller Jane TV show and the comic series relaunch at Dynamite Entertainment both coming up in April, BF turned to Jane creator Jimmy Palmiotti to get the scoop on the character’s return.

BROKEN FRONTIER: The timing for a new series couldn’t be better, since the Sci-Fi Channel will debut its Painkiller Jane TV series around the same time…

JIMMY PALMIOTTI: It’s all planned that way. Dynamite wanted to get the biggest bang out of releasing the book and it seemed like the perfect time. They are doing a 25 cent comic as well to push the title into new hands by giving the book away at places like the NY Comic Con. We have high hopes all around for a healthy launch.

BF: Based on your involvement in the show’s production, how would you assess Kristina Loken’s performance?

JP: Her performance is nothing short of powerful brilliance. While I was on set, she was a warm, fun and sincere person and then when she got in front of the camera I got to see a wonderful transformation into the character Joe and I always had in mind.

I really like her as a person and couldn’t be happier that the networks nailed her to play Jane on the show. She has a real commitment to the project that really warms me inside. Overall, she is down to earth cool.

BF: What has surprised you the most about the adaptation’s end result?

JP: How much I actually like it. Everything changes a bit when going from the printed page to film, but this process has been a really pleasant one for me and I am right there with the crew rooting the show on and really happy with the end result.

You will never hear from me that I didn’t like what they were doing… it’s right on with what I like and a beautiful mix of the original property and some new ideas brought to the table. I have been involved since day one, so really, if there was anything I didn’t like. I would have made noise already.

BF: As both the TV series and her still being alive and kicking after a decade prove, Jane’s got more shelf-life than your average indie character. What makes her stick?

Click to enlargeJP: Jane is cool… and nothing like any character out there in comics or TV. Sure, Heroes thought enough of the Jane premise to make a cheerleader the same type of character and it’s flattering, but at the end of the day, Jane is a force of nature and a character that takes a beating mentally and physically and keeps fighting—everyone really would like to have a little more of that in themselves.

BF: Now, the new Painkiller Jane series at Dynamite starts off with a specially-priced zero issue. Will it serve as a reboot of the character’s history and origin?

JP: No. The trade book is out now and that has a very detailed origin story written by mark Waid and Brian Augustyn and drawn by Amanda Conner that explains all. The zero issue is really the beginning of the next series and is an insane little tale. It opens with Jane getting a tattoo on her ass and goes from there.

It’s really a lot of insane fun and a low risk for anyone that has never tried the book. It’s only a quarter… you can’t get anything anymore for that except a parking space for 15 minutes in midtown.

BF: As for the series itself, to what extent does it take into account previous Jane stories, like last year’s three-issue mini at Dynamite? Or will it serve as a brand-new jumping on point for first-time readers?

JP: It’s the next step from the last miniseries and it wouldn’t hurt to have read those, but you don’t need them to understand what is going on. The new book totally works as a jumping on book, but be warned, the material leans towards the adult side of storytelling. It’s not a book for little kids.

BF: The character itself was created in the mid 90s, while you and Joe were still running Event Comics. How do you look back at those days?

JP: I look back with a smile and understand that at the time we were running on pure energy and balls. It was a fun and interesting time creatively for the both of us and we were both is the same place in our lives socially so things were interesting all around. We had some truly exciting things happen to us then and handled them exactly like anyone would.

Looking back, we probably both wish we had the experience we have now and applied it to the past, but that’s life. It’s interesting that what we created together still has a life when characters by others have come and gone. How many people create characters that 12 years later the book still comes out and have a TV show? It’s really insane.

BF: Do you recall when the idea germinated and what it meant for the both of you at that time in your careers?

JP: I recall we both needed another character and we both came up with the idea…a true collaboration on every level. We were doing so much work at the time running things and doing ash we needed help with Jane and hired mark waid and Brian Augustan to take our ideas and run with them.

The great thing now is I actually get down and write the book and it’s how I personally have always felt it should be. Joe and I are really digging the new stuff because we can look back and see what we wanted to do differently. You mature and get better at a skill over the years, you hope.

BF: With Joe being so busy at Marvel, you’re the one doing the most hands-on work. How far does his involvement in the series stretch?

Click to enlargeJP: Joe is running the biggest comic company in the world. [Laughs] I love that sentence. He and I talk about the idea for the story, he gave me notes and really… that’s enough for him to worry about. We plot the book together and I get to work. The only thing I run is my own stuff and it’s a lot easier. I’m glad to have what little time we can get to do this with Joe… he is a fantastic writer.

BF: Rounding out the creative team on the book is Lee Moder, whose art improved each issue as the Dead of Winter story progressed. Has he made another leap forward today?

JP: Ha, man… if I had my way, only two people on earth would draw this book other than Joe Q, and that would be Amanda Conner and Lee. They all get the character and Lee is brilliant at his acting skills. He is one of my favourite artists and I am so glad Dynamite turned me on to his stuff. I hope he sticks around for a very long time.

BF: The series will mark the debut of a new character. What can you unveil about him/her at this point?

JP: It’s a she and she has a problem that she needs cleaned up. Jane and the Infidel are tracking the same people and don’t know it. It’s a wrong time/wrong place scenario we set up and a really interesting character with a motivation that I find universal. I really don’t want to give up any more than that.

BF: Rounding things out, is there anything else you want to say about the story and what you’re aiming for?

JP: The basic rule when writing Jane is not to follow any of the rules I have to normally follow at dc or marvel. I want to keep the storytelling random, the stories insane and not worry about other books or universes. These are stories told in the real world where there are not really any superheroes. Jane is a bizarre person trying to exist in the world around us. It’s a fun and challenging character.

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