Hey all! I hope you had an awesome Free Comic Book Day like I did. I spent my day at Olympic Cards and Comics and picked up some cool stuff? As well as free comics!

More on that in a bit.

This time around ATR has two Splinterviews with two extremely gifted individuals. You don?t mind, do you? Didn?t think so.

Alright, it?s time to break out those psionic bio syntha cyborgs, time-checking bazooka raccoons, and mutant vampire alchemists and get down to the Rage.

Splinterview: Jimmy Palmiotti On Painkiller Jane

The guy who has making sure ATR gets up on these electronic series of tubes while the boss has been away (harvesting organs, no doubt) and SBC contributor Tobey Cook managed to get this small interview with veteran comics writer Jimmy Palmiotti (Deadpool, Punisher, Jonah Hex, and much more including inking work) about his current activities with all things Painkiller Jane. Tobey, over to you, buddy?

Jimmy Palmiotti is arguably one of the hardest working guys in comics right now. With a top-rated television show on the SciFi Channel and a new comic from Dynamite Entertainment hitting the shelves in about two weeks, he?s also about to take Painkiller Jane to the next level. I had a chance to interview Jimmy about what?s coming up for the series and the comic as well as hints at future projects.

ATR: For those of our readers that might not be familiar with Painkiller Jane, tell us a little bit about who she is and why you think people would be interested in her and maybe a little bit about her creation, if you like.

JP: Jane is a character created by Joe Quesada and I while we were self publishing under the Event Comics banner in ?95. We had major success with our first character launch Ash and decided we wanted to do something a bit different with our next ongoing series.

Jane was the simple story of two women in the police academy getting pulled out to become undercover cops with the mission of breaking up a huge drug ring slowly taking over the streets of New York. Jane and her partner Maureen got themselves deep into the drug world and on one particular night where they had to actually become users, Maureen?s husband, in an unrelated incident, gets shot and it is splashed across the local TV stations as a top story. Maureen breaks cover and splits which endangers Jane when they find out that Maureen is undercover. They move in on Jane and hold her down and give her a drug cocktail that lands her in a drug coma that almost kills her. While Jane is under, time passes, her parents pass away and friends and family lose hope? till one day she awakens and finds that she now has a the power to heal her wounds because of a sped up metabolism and an unknown element that has taken her over.

Maureen helps her get back on her feet and back to her life but Jane turns her back on the force and instead stays deep and buried and away from everyone she knows except for a few supporting characters and considers herself not only above the law but a one woman wrecking crew for her friend Maureen who has become a detective at this point.

I think Jane is interesting for people to read because she is an underdog and her life has been torn apart in a number of ways and its always entertaining to see someone like her try to pull it all back again. In Jane’s case, this might not be something that ever happens, but its fun to watch her try.

She has been published on and off for a while now, and we?ve got a new series out in two weeks from the lovely people at Dynamite Entertainment. I am especially proud of the new books and the collection that is available from last year?s mini series. It features Kristianna Loken on the cover.

ATR: How did the show come about? Was this something you actively pursued as an option, or did SciFi Channel approach you first?

JP: SciFi approached us about doing the 2 hour movie a few years back and they did, but without our involvement. It was basically a buying of the property for this one thing with an option to make a series after if it does well. It did ok and they passed on a series until it was a couple of weeks before we were to get the rights back and we got the call from Kickstart Entertainment and Ken Levin that they are again interested in a series and are ordering 22 one hour episodes right out of the gate. Sounded good to us and a key to this deal was that we were involved with the show and process this time around. Things went on from there, Kristanna Loken was signed on and now it?s on every Friday night at 10 pm for the next 22 weeks. I just recently wrote episode 13, titled ?THE LEAGUE OF 5? and am hoping to get it to air during the San Diego Comic Con. It?s been an interesting ride for sure.

ATR: With most comic properties, something has to be changed to bring it from the page to the screen. What changes did you make to give it more accessibility to a new audience? And what’s changed from the TV movie to the series?

JP: Well, the changes were not made by us on either the TV show or the movie. That?s all insight and SciFi, the writers, and so on. I personally was hired as a consultant; but when consulting people have the choice to either listen or do their own things, most of the time they are doing their own thing. That said, there are elements I like and others I wish were more loyal to the source material, especially the action end. I think that will forever be the case with anything that isn?t exactly as you created it appearing in another form.

I am so glad for Frank Miller on 300 and Sin City, but for every one of those, there will be the studios going in and doing their own thing on other properties. It?s a shame they don?t trust us more? *laughs*. Comic people, we know better what works and doesn?t?but in a lot of studio people?s eyes, they still see us as just comic book creators, and not real creators. That all is changing at an alarming rate these days. SciFi and Starz Media totally get this and have been wonderful to work with on all ends. They are the next wave of understanding creator?s needs.

ATR: What can you tell us about the Painkiller Jane comic re-launch and the blog you’ve got up at Scifi’s Painkiller Jane sub-site?

JP: The blog is something SciFi asked me to do and I thought it might be a cool idea to help people understand the comic community a little better actually. I think we have a great opportunity to turn some people towards buying comics and I am going to take full advantage of it as much as I can. The comic book itself is wild stuff?not for the kiddies. It?s an adult character written for adults by an adult. The good thing is that if you go to a store and want to buy Jane for a younger audience, dynamite has a trade collecting all the old books that work as well.

This new series is a total reflection of the times, introduces a new character, adds a love interest and has a million different things going on that all add up in the end. We were very happy with dynamite?s use of the 25 cent promotional book they published a few weeks ago and have gotten great feedback from that.

I think the new series is best thing I have worked on in a while, and I think it?s that for the reason that no one is telling me where we should go with the story. They are giving me a lot of freedom and some rope to hang myself. *laughs* Art wise, Lee Moder does an amazing job once again and I am really proud of the book. That said, I think this first issue is going to give fans and retailers a lot to talk about on a number of levels. Our hope is to gain a new audience and make the old one ecstatic at the same time.

ATR: What else are you working on that people reading here should check out? Or other comics you would recommend?

JP: I?m working with my partner Justin Gray on Jonah Hex, Friday the 13th, The Spirit, Countdown, Terra with Amanda Conner, and I?ve got a few new series coming this fall. Other than that, Justin and I are writing an animated feature, a horror screenplay, and the first three episodes of a show that will air in 2008. Lots of fun stuff to look forward to?

This Has A ?Ms. Loken Is Welcome To Kick My Ass Any Time She Likes? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Splinterview: Joshua Ortega Unleashes The Death Dealer

Normally I feel that one mini-interview (or ?Splinterview? as I call them? thank you, thank you, I?m available for weddings and any kind of function that involves transgender donkeys) per ATR is enough. Sometimes there is a distinct lack of interviews. I also feel there is a distinct lack of well-armed wildlife but I?ll get to that later on toward the end of the column. Anyway, I would be remiss if I were not to include this bit of Q&A with writer Joshua Ortega. Currently he is working on Frank Frazetta?s Death Dealer from Image Comics (btw, Image, I love how the site is lookin?? very sexy!) as well as other comics and novels. For more information, check out his website here.

ATR: Okay, let’s begin with a stock-standard starter: What is this latest incarnation of Death Dealer, how did the Image comic come about and what do you do with it, exactly? What I mean to say is– Who are you, Ortega, and what are you doing in my column??

ORTEGA: I am a specific wavelength of frequential energy that has manifested upon this plane of reality?or something like that.

Seriously though, FRANK FRAZETTA?S DEATH DEALER is a new 6-issue series from Image Comics and I am the very fortunate guy who gets to be the writer on the book. The art is handled by the amazingly talented Nat Jones and Jay Fotos, and with the book?s recent 6-hour sellout, it?s now officially Image?s biggest new series launch in over a decade.

ATR: Are you familiar with Verotik’s take on Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer? And does this current version of the axe-wielding killing machine have anything to do with that Glen Danzig affiliated project?

ORTEGA: I?m actually almost completely unfamiliar with the Verotik books. I?ve never read them or thumbed through them, and I?ve only seen a few images here and there online. Since the Frazettas have specifically asked us to ignore that series, I probably won?t be checking them out anytime soon either. However, knowing that Arthur Suydam, Liam Sharp, and Simon Bisley were on the book does make me curious to check it out for the art at some point in the future.

ATR: How closely did you guys work with Mr. Frazetta and his family?

ORTEGA: ?Shadows of Mirahan? has been approved every step of the way by Frank and Ellie Frazetta. That?s really been the greatest reward for all of us. Sales and great reviews are fantastic, but getting the official stamp of approval from the Main Man himself is the best thing of all.

ATR: Now you’ve mentioned before that there might be more stories to be told about the world of Iparsia… Will this come to pass, you think? Or will the stories always have something to do with Mr. Dealer? Are there plans for more Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer comics already?

ORTEGA: Yep, I can now officially announce that more plans are indeed afoot. The Frazettas have given us the okay to move forward with another DEATH DEALER series, as well as the option to do stories about some of the other Frazetta characters and paintings as well?a Silver Warrior story sure would be cool, wouldn?t it?

ATR: How do you like working in the genre of dark fantasy? I know you dig sci-fi, what with Star Trek: The Manga, Star Wars: Tales, and ((FREQUENCIES)) under your belt, as well as a Battlestar Galactica and a new novel (~VIBRATIONS~) in the works. Can we expect to see more dark fantasy (or just fantasy in general) from you in times to come?

ORTEGA: Oh yeah, definitely. Between DEATH DEALER and the other Frazetta books, as well as some upcoming projects with Dark Horse and Dynamite, you?ll definitely be seeing me dipping into the realm of fantasy and dark fantasy quite a bit. And readers of ((FREQUENCIES)) already know that I did a few fantasy chapters in the novel with the character Mason Huxton, so it will come as less of a surprise to them. NECROMANCER readers will also remember the opening battle between Locke and Mali in the first issue, so there?s definitely been some precedent!

ATR: Now, if you don’t mind terribly, tell us about The Necromancer, please. It’s being released as a collected edition, right? And will there be anything upcoming with this great comic?

ORTEGA: Yeah, the collected edition is due any time now?I think it ships this week or the next. The official title is THE NECROMANCER-BOOK I: SOMETHING IN THE WAY, and it will feature an intro by the ultra-talented Mike Carey. For those who don?t know about the book, it?s a tale that weaves in horror, dark fantasy, and teen drama into a story about suicide, growing up, hidden secrets, and finding one?s true destiny in life. It?s the first Book in a larger, epic story, and if sales and interest continue, I?m looking forward to seeing the rest of Abby?s story all the way through. The complete story is about 50 issues, roughly 8 books, so it?s a big tale, and the characters and the world go through some incredible changes along the way.

ATR: What was your favourite thing about writing The Necromancer?

ORTEGA: Working with Francis Manapul?not only is Francis one of the most talented artists working in comics today, but we?ve also become very good friends over the years and that all began with NECROMANCER. In fact, we just got a chance to hang out at the Calgary show this past weekend, and that was a great time as always. On that note, a quick shout-out to Kandrix Foong for organizing such a great show?everyone had a fantastic time, and the cabins in Banff afterwards were a brilliant idea!

ATR: Is there anything else keeping you busy these days that we should know about?

ORTEGA: Oh boy, I could give you a long answer on that one, but I?ll try to keep it short as possible?

FRANK FRAZETTA?S DEATH DEALER #1: Second printing, May 9th
BLUE DRAGON (Xbox 360): Summer ?07
THE NECROMANCER (new book): Fall ?07
FRANK FRAZETTA?S SILVER WARRIOR: More info to come soon!

Thanks, Joshua! Keep on rockin? like Dokken, man.

This Has A ?Better Comic Characters Through Superior Axe-Handling? Factor Of Ten Out Of Ten

Just Add Tesla Boy Gangsta

This bit is actually a last minute addition since, as I believe it is noted, some problems (rabid gophers, I bet) occurred and delayed things for ATR this week longer than I normally do all by myself (I like blame Xenu, usually).

Since Avatar‘s upcoming title Doktor Sleepless has been getting much attention in this column, and since I saw this little goody in Mr. Ellis’ Livejournal, I figured I’d share here. In case you haven’t already seen it, I mean.

That would be the cover for Doktor Sleepless #2, hitting your local racks like a fusion-powered freight train in August of this year.

Nice, isn’t it? Ivan Rodriguez sure does swell covers.

Make sure to visit http://www.avatarpress.com to keep up on what they have going on over there.

This Has A “Nuclear Driven Radicals” Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten

Indie Front: Crime, Commandments and Fairy Tales for Your Trailer Park Leisure Time

I have some first look treats for you? First, from Zenescope Entertainment, here?s a piece character design art for Little Boy Blue in the upcoming Grimm?s Fairy Tales Annual as done by Siya.

Mary looks quite pleasant, doesn?t she? I know if my wife gives me a look such as that it?s time to hide. And yes, I get those looks often. Hey, it?s tough having me as a spousal unit. What? You?re surprised?!

There?s a new title on the horizon called Venice is Sinking, which is a crime tale featuring Christian Beranek on writing duties and Mario Boon on art. Look for it in Spring of 2008. Please keep in mind that it hasn?t been decided whether or not the comic will be coloured. Personally, I think it would look great in washed-out colours or sepia or something?

From what I understand, Venice is Sinking is supposed to be a part of Christian?s new creator-owned line of books.

Speaking of Mr. Beranek, this busy young chap has been putting together a 48 page graphic novel which is currently in search of a publisher. Entitled Unhappy White Girls, it brings us a day in the life of two young trailer park girls. Check out the character designs by artist Triska below.

So, if you are a publisher and this little bit on Unhappy White Girls intrigues you, please contact Christian, whose info can be found here.

Over in Ireland there seems to be some great independent comics news coming from writer Gareth Cummins concerning a new title in the works called 11 Commandments. Here?s what he had to say on it:

Paul Duffy

      (Bald) and I got drunk one night and decided to make comic books. That’s actually how it happened. I’d be scribbling and drawing nearly all my life and Paul was a colourist (or Colorist for the yanks out there ) who had worked with Marvel and DC before on stuff like

Iron Man




Black Panther

      and a load more stuff. After messing around for a few months I came to the conclusion that I can?t actually draw to save my life so we went hunting for artists. We found a few but as many will tell you a lot of ?em fell through pretty quick. We had started with a project called


      which we actually got as far as making a preview issue for the

Dublin City Comic Convention

    last year but our artist had school and work and all that life stuff so we kind of put that project on the back burner.

Then along came Bruno Letiza! Bruno is an amazing artist out of Rome, Italy which suits us great as our time zones are similar, us being based in Dublin, Ireland. We wanted to get as many Europeans involved as possible, too. With Bruno we are doing a project called 11 Commandments, which is flying along at an amazing pace. It?s going to be a 4 issue mini series that we can do a “sequel” to, hopefully. There will also be once-off follow-up stories that tie into 11C by different artists and writers.

11 Commandments follows your average Irish layabout Thomas, a decent bloke who just can?t get a break. His wife is in the middle of a nervous breakdown and he?s flirting with alcoholism, trying to be a better person but life keeps beating him down. So when he wraps his car around the front of a truck while drunk driving he is giving a choice by a representative of heaven: Complete 10 tasks and get your life back, or lay there and die.

After picking the only option a sane person would his soul is transported into a dead body lying in the morgue of a hospital, keeping his real body as insurance the representative sends him on his way with a guide. It just so happens that his “guide” is a talking stick. Cue all sorts of Drunken Irish Zombie mayhem as Thomas blazes a trail across the world with a stick containing the soul of a dead roman from the time of Jesus Crucifixion.

11 Commandments is a mix of horror, comedy and religious themes none of which are taken TOO seriously. Just good fun and lots of swearing.?

I also managed to get some pre-lettered pages out of him. It cost me a few fingers and quite a bit of pride, but I think you?ll like what you see?

11 Commandments isn?t the only project that Cummins and Co. have in store for us. Through their own Fail Comics, they have the Legion of Two, Year Zero, Jericho Jones, and Presidential books underway. To keep up with these ambitious fellows, make sure to stay tuned to Fail Comics? MySpace page.

I?m always interested to hear about what indie comics projects are out there or in the works. Always feel free to drop me a line about it: steves@silverbulletcomicbooks.com

This Has A ?Drunken Irish Zombie Mayhem? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten

My Free Comic Book Day

As I?ve said before, I spent my Free Comic Book Day (Saturday) at Olympic Cards and Comics. Good times were had by all who showed up to my favourite comic/gaming shop. In addition to many happy nerds gleefully perusing the free comic-wares, there were special guests, too. And I don?t mean the prom refugees that showed up, either. So, without further ado, or your consent, even, I give you a few pictures of some folks.

When I arrived up, Spider-Man seemed to misunderstand my intentions. It took some fast talking, but I eventually convinced him? to look the other way as I slipped from his grasp. He?s a lot stronger than I thought he was.

Serious note: The Spider-Man costume is home-made. Nice! The kids went wild, by the way.

Okay, I did too.

Guests in attendance were Greg Rucka, Jen Van Meter, Brandon Jerwa and Mattew Clark. As you can see, Brandon was already trying to poison me as soon as I showed up. You can?t fool me, Jerwa. I know ?gift? means ?poison? in German!

My masterful mastery of incessant yapping convinced Greg and Brandon to leave Matthew alone for picking up the Star Trek comic that came out in Klingon. I even got them to pose for a picture together. Notice how possessive Rucka is over Clark. What does it mean? I?ll tell you? It means that Rucka wants that Klingon-language book for himself! Never trust a writer, kids.

Kidding aside, the day was really a blast. Another highlight aside from talking to the above three jokers was meeting Jen Van Meter. If you haven?t read her book Hopeless Savages yet, you are totally missing out. I also got to read Greg Rucka?s Whiteout, which was made available as a FCBD comic from Oni Press. I always like a good yarn set in Antarctica. Not only that, but Dynamite?s Battlestar Galactica: Season Zero #0 written by Jerwa was a FCBD goodie (which was a flip-book also featuring Lone Ranger: The Creed #0). As a matter of fact, the free comics available this year were actually quite nice and quite varied. I think one of my faves this time around was Image?s The Astounding Wolf-Man from Robert Kirkman (writing) and Jason Howard (art).

Oh yeah, here?s an ?awww?-type picture of Greg and Jen.

See this guy?

That?s Eric Trautmann, who?ve I mentioned in times past, I?m sure. His writing debut was on Perfect Dark Zero: Janus? Tears, which is on shelves as a trade paperback and is worth picking up. He also co-runs Olympic Cards and Comics with the lovely Gabi (on right):

So, yeah, anyhow Eric gave me and a buddy probably one of the most maligned role-playing games ever created: The World of Synnibarr. Start reading about it here. Did you know that Mike Grell did some of the artwork on this game? Oh, yes. Now, I’m pretty sure Grell didn?t do the following piece, but I just had to share it.

You?re welcome. I figure many of you have no idea of what the hell I?m talking about, and some of you are like ?DAMN YOU, STEVE?NOOOO!!!? but I saw the illustration and had to share it.

With everyone.

What?s the raccoon thinking, you know? ?Huh, those giant mutant fire clams are NEVER on time. I?ll give them five more minutes and then I?m outta here.?

I?ve veered way off any original point I may have had, haven?t I? Sorry about that.
Free Comic Book Day was tonnes of super-powered fun and I got to meet Matthew Clark, an artist I wasn?t all that familiar with but now have the utmost admiration for (both for him personally and his work). Check out his ComicSpace here.

My friends and I were also saved from certain death by Jen Van Meter. I guess you had to be there to understand.

“If you are curious about seeing more images from where I spent FCBD, head over here to see what fine pictures Mandy captured. She’s much better at it than I am.”

This Has A ?Thanks For The FCBD Ramble, Steve? Factor Of Nine Out Of Ten

In Closing

That?s it for another edition of ATR.

Need to reach me somehow? Have questions, comments, complaints, tips, threats, or odds and ends that glow in the dark you would like to bring to my attention? Do you feel a strong desire to track me down on the internets? Well, you are in luck, my friends!


And then, of course, there?s always the forums here at SBC.

Until next time, dear readers.

About The Author