Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: You recently launched a Kickstarter campaign through your company, PaperFilms, for a new graphic novel that will keep readers on the edge of their from page one. What inspired this new endeavor?
Jimmy Palmiotti: I want to tell a lot of different stories covering a diverse group of genres, and with Rage, I wanted to explore the effects trauma has on different people in the same situation. Dig into the face that we all just experienced a pandemic with COVID and how it has changed people, and with Rage, taking that idea to an extreme. During the past year, I was calling around to friends to check on them and how they were doing and, as usual, we discussed our latest work and what the future holds. I had just gotten the rights back from DC for G.I. Zombie and was calling Scott to give him the good news and one thing led to another and I found out he had time to take on something. I pitched the idea of a Kickstarter, and he went for it. Right time, right place.
BD: Given the state of the world over the past year and a half, post-apocalyptic stories have taken on a more significant import for readers. How would you describe your creative experience in bringing Rage to life in light of the pandemic?
JP: I have to be honest, the pandemic really brought out the best and worst in people. Work people I have known for years simply disappeared totally. Big companies looked at this as an excuse to get rid of anyone that got paid well or was a loyal worker and showed them the door. Things were strange, people were disconnected socially, and, like most of us, we started to look at what mattered and who mattered the most. I feel the pandemic really solidified certain relationships, as well. So, while all this is going on, I had to motivate myself to keep working and try to find interest in the work. Some work I just didn’t care about anymore, and I dropped it. Gave it to others. I turned down a lot of different things mainly because I couldn’t find a passion for it. The upside was that I slowly started looking at what I DID have a passion for and it was my own work, my own characters, and embracing that maybe, just maybe, I am not a mainstream writer. Maybe I am the weird guy that writes only what he wants to read. Yeah, a lot of soul searching went on, and Rage reflects some of that.
BD: This will mark the 16th crowdfunding campaign for PaperFilms. What do you find to be most advantageous about Kickstarter for creators, especially within the comic book medium?
JP: I am learning every single campaign. It is a constant. What a kickstarter does for a creator is give them a venue to really unleash their imagination and not worry about company rules and regulations. It is a freedom to succeed and fail based on what you deliver and in the end a true connection with the supporters as each book offered does better or worse than the last. For me, it is this connection that gets me excited each and every time. It is all an experiment in real time. In the end, it severs the umbilical chord between artist and publisher.
BD: Superstar creators Amanda Conner and Bill Sienkiewicz have created incredible variant covers for the Kickstarter campaign. Are there any additional backer rewards that you would like to highlight for our readers?
JP: With Rage, we are offering for the first time, original artwork by Scott Hampton from the interiors of the book, as well as a limited amount of artwork done by yours truly, of the character of your choice, done on the inside cover. We are trying to always create something for everyone, and it is important to keep the collectors involved, as well. That’s why we limit the runs of books and offer the work of people like Amanda and Bill. The fun part of a Kickstarter is the chase to get certain things. We do our best to listen to the audience and offer as many digital levels as we can, as well. We know our reach is global and shipping rates can be brutal, so again, make sure everyone has a chance to get in on the Kickstarter.
BD: PaperFilms continues to not only develop outstanding titles, but to create a positive, creator-first environment that celebrates the entire creative process. What do you most look forward to with the company in the five years?
JP: In 5 years, I hope 60% of the books we are offering will be drawn by Amanda Conner. Amanda is taking a well-needed break from mainstream comics to get her own voice heard and draw the things she is interested in. My hope is the things we talk about today become a reality and everyone involved with Paperfilms will be able to share in our successes. Continued success and the best for everyone is all I can hope for.