I’m going to try something new today. I’m going to show you a really cool adult themed Kickstarter from Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray but I’m also going to feature some information they provided to me via interview questions. I’ve long since stuck to a basic format for talking these crowdfunding projects up but I’m needing to mix it up a bit. Let me know if you like one style better than another.
As you can imagine from the title, Sex and Violence Volume Two contains two major themes. Sex and violence, duh. Breaking loose from the bonds of everyday comics, these two writers have pushed the boundaries before and they are out to do it again!
Continue reading to see what they had to say and to watch the Kickstarter campaign video.
So here’s the skinny: It’s a comic composed of three stories, two from Jimmy P. and one from Justin. Jimmy tells one tale of a mother and daughter called “Daddy Issues,” but what it’s about is a secret. So…shhh. The other story, “Filter,” is about a killer who has a retrospective moment and the reader gets to see what made him the man he is today. For his part, Justin takes the reader back in time to World War Two and gets down and dirty with a story about a dog trainer who was conscripted into the service of the Russian military, this story is aptly titled “Red Dog Army.” I asked a few questions of both writers to get their take on this project, their other works and miscellaneous other things as well.
First off, Justin Gray’s Q&A:
Geeks Of Doom: First off, you do amazing work, building up a history for the characters and giving them reasons, not just goals. What inspires you to build up your characters like this? They have much greater depth than most other writers would give to a comic book.
Justin Gray: Thatâ€™s an extremely flattering collection of statements so thank you. I think much of what I do in creating a character is distorting or creating hyper-real versions of people Iâ€™ve met or experiences Iâ€™ve had. In some cases creating characters in spite of myself, which is to say using those characters to think differently than I would. Iâ€™m fascinated by differences and dynamics in people from all over the world.
Geeks Of Doom: And speaking of history, what prompted you to set your story for Sex & Violence 2 in WWII?
Justin Gray: I wanted to do something unexpected and show more range in my writing, something completely different from the kind of story in the first volume. My focus was on violence more than sex this time. To that end I felt Red Dog Army was a way to possibly surprise people. The idea came from reading about anti-tank dogs and seeing an opportunity to deal with war in both a real and metaphorical sense. I quickly viewed the use of animals as something akin to suicide bombers and there was a brief moment where I considered writing it as a talking animal comic, but quickly realized it would be too easy to. I also wanted to write a story about WWII that had nothing to do with the American experience that Iâ€™d been exposed to. Stepping back and looking at it this is the kind of story that could only be done as a Kickstarter. I mean 99% of comic publishers would smile â€“ or look at me like I needed therapy and hand the pitch back. I canâ€™t say Iâ€™d blame them. My hero is a sixty something Russian who is training dogs to fight Nazi tanks during WWII. Thatâ€™s not exactly the formula for box office gold, but if Iâ€™m being honest I feel I need to challenge myself as a writer. I donâ€™t just mean in the content or style but also in the confidence game. I feel like this was a risky choice that I hope people enjoy.
Geeks Of Doom: For those backers more familiar with your work at DC, what can they look forward to when reading these more adult themed stories you are producing?
Justin Gray: The gloves are off. This is Rafa Garres and myself in the trenches making our own life or death decisions. My idea of adult is not defined by nudity and language. I consider it â€œadultâ€ when the subject matter, themes and characters have a different level of complexity. To that end we hopefully have my favorite kind of story, one with complex characters inside a simple plot.
Geeks Of Doom: What would you call the biggest “selling point” for these KS projects and/or the comics they are producing? What would you say to the curious potential backer to get them to commit to it?
Justin Gray: We strive to make these Kickstarters stand out on multiple levels and not just in the content of the stories or the quality of the art. We have high standards for the superiority of the paper, the printing, the cover stock and the pledge incentives. Our objective is that there isnâ€™t one selling point, but that every component of the project is a selling point. With Sex and Violence you get stories that follow in the tradition of the first volume and the additional surprise elements in the risks we take.
Geeks Of Doom: What does the future hold for you and PaperFilms? Anything big on the horizon?
Justin Gray: We have a number of projects in the works that Iâ€™m extremely excited about, a book we absolutely are in love with thatâ€™s being drawn now as well as several new creator owned projects being lined up for 2015.
Geeks Of Doom: Any juicy tidbits of information you’d like to tell the reader that isn’t already on the Kickstarter page?
Justin Gray: Iâ€™m pretty excited and nervous about the response to my story. One component I havenâ€™t discussed much is the rich history of decorated female snipers in the Russian military. American women had countless important roles in the war effort, but Russian woman were actively fighting on the front lines and I found that to be an interesting aspect that I wouldnâ€™t mind exploring further.
Then there was Jimmy Palmiotti’s interview questions:
Geeks Of Doom: You’ve stayed ridiculously busy with almost back-to-back Kickstarters and all your regular work with DC, etc. How do you find time to fit it all into your day? What drives you to do so much constantly?
Jimmy Palmiotti: I am driven to tell stories and look at the publishers and the ways I can get them out there . I stay busy, but to be honest, I work mostly a half-day at a time and start very early in the day. I just love what I do and feel that while people are interested, I should be driving myself hard. There will be a time to rest one day, but till then, fun is the key.
Geeks Of Doom: For someone who has only read your mainstream work (such as Jonah Hex, Harley Quinn, etc) what can they expect from your adult themed KS comics, specifically this installment, Sex & Violence 2?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Justin did a wonderful war story that is better described by him to do them justice. My two shorter stories are about a mother and daughter situation that isnâ€™t what it appears to be and the last story is about a person telling the story of their violent childhood. The over the top sexual and violent themes are all there and since it is a mature audiences format, we hold nothing back.
Geeks Of Doom: You work with Justin Gray a lot, I see more collaborations with him than any of your other partners at PaperFilms (other than your wife, of course). How did you two start working together in the beginning?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Justin was an intern at Marvel Knights when Joe and I were running the show up there and we became friends during that period of time and after that, we stayed friends and worked together whenever we could. Our projects together have been a blast, but you should also really read some of Justin’s solo work as well. The new Lone Ranger series is great, and his story in this book is pretty awesome.
Geeks Of Doom: What’s next for PaperFilms? Are we going to see a Sex & Violence #3?
Jimmy Palmiotti: If everything goes well with this book, then yes, expect more chapters. It is a supply and demand world and we are more than happy to supply some new stories. It’s really a blast putting together a book where anything goes.
Geeks Of Doom: Entice the hesitant reader, if you would. What should a first time KS contributor know that will make them want to help fund this S&V2 project?
Jimmy Palmiotti: They should read the entire page and understand with their pledge they can get exclusive books, prints and digital editions of the book and have their name in the credit as well. They should understand that there is no middleman here, that they are paying the talent directly for the work and they control, in a way, if a project sinks or swims. They should also know that they are supporting the artsâ€¦and that is a good feeling. No?
Geeks Of Doom: Anything else you would like to add about your two stories in this project?
Jimmy Palmiotti: The art is drawn by Romina Moranelli, Vanesa R. Del Rey and Paul Mounts and looks amazing.
My takeaway from the answers was of two great guys doing what they love and trying to make sure they can explore every facet of their talent. Justin is obviously very passionate about his writing, specifically the melding of history and fictional characters. He really does go the extra mile with their development. Jimmy always puts others before him and it is shown again here by the way he spoke to Justin and the artists. I’m constantly humbled by the way the comic industry has such exceptionally talented creators who really put the art before their own ego. That’s especially true with anyone trying to fund a Kickstarter project. Reaching out to the public for their assistance can be daunting but enticing them with rewards they cannot get elsewhere is the perfect way for everyone to feel they benefited from the crowdfunding.
I encourage you to watch the video below and the visit the official Kickstarter page for a list of the reward levels and a ton more information on what your pledge does to help breathe life into their comic. this project ends on September 23, 2014. i hope you find it as enticing as everyone else did. And remember, this is an adult themed graphic novel!