Interview: Jimmy Palmiotti on Queen Crab

Back a few months, Jimmy Palmiotti mounted his first kickstart campaign. He had a story he wanted to tell, and he chose crowdfunding as a way to get that story published. He’s put out a lot of creator owned work, but this was the first time using this method, and it was successful. It didn’t take long to get it funded, something fans of Jimmy are grateful for.

I was pretty lucky. I got to read a proof copy of Queen Crab, and what I read I loved. The book was different than something I’d seen before, and yet to me it told a familiar story. It told the story of a woman trying to find her life and trying to fit in. Extraordinary circumstances used to illustrate something so many of us are familiar with. Even luckier, Jimmy agreed to answer a few questions here.

Queen Crab shows a woman trying to make some sort of sense of very unusual things that happened to her. Whilst not a likely situation in life, her issues at the core of it aren’t that unrealistic. Fitting in, finding a place in the world, and figuring out just what the hell is going on with her life, to name a couple. What made you want to write this story?

The idea came out of the simple notion of a life changing event, and how it would change a person, while at the same time cause them to look back on their life and re-evaluate it. The actual character of Ginger Drake is a mash up of a lot of women I know and notion to write a story around her came when I was writing WEDNESDAY COMICS for dc. We did a Supergirl strip that featured Aquaman and Amanda and I would speak about the character as if he was a real person and how he would deal with his powers and life and so on. Not that this is anything like that, but the story of Queen Crab is about a girl going through a change and how any change in life can disable you, or you can step up and make it work for you. With the world the way it was, I have been hearing a lot of these stories and I think they have burned their way into my brain.

I also wanted to write something aimed at an adult audience since most of my other work is more mainstream. The problem with writing other peoples  characters all the time, is that your own personal voice gets lost in the mix and with Ginger, I got to explore some really different themes and at the same time keep the language “real” and have some fun with the sex and the small amount of violence. Horrible things happen in the story, but not as wild as one may think.

My saving grace on the book is that Amanda edited it and pointed things out to me that overall helped the project tremendously.

You’ve written a few books that tie back into Brooklyn. What’s the attraction of writing about the place that you grew up in?

I love my hometown…the noise, the people and the daily insanity and especially the neighborhoods. It’s easy for me to write about Brooklyn and the characters featured in the book, because I know them all and grew up with them. I think knowing the setting you are writing in gives the book a particular flavor that is unique. I do find it difficult writing about places I haven’t been because I think its not fair to the people that live there. As a writer, you have a responsibility to represent places correctly. I remember writing Beautiful Killer years back and traveling to Venice, Italy and getting a million ideas about how to maneuver the characters in the story…and then years later having the Italian press love the book because I got some details right. We do the same when writing Jonah Hex and other titles.

Typically, you write with Justin Gray as a partner. How did writing this on your own change the process?

We both do a lot of writing separate from each other, but we really have a great time working together. Writing this book, you will probably learn a lot more than you want to know about me, and how I think …and I guess that’s part of putting ideas and notions out there. This book and a few others I have coming up are all part of me exploring other genres…though I am not sure what category this one falls into since its romance, horror and sci-fi on a very grounded level.

What drew you to Artiz Eiguren as an artist?

The simplicity of the images. He gets right to the core of what a viewer should see and doesn’t overwork or over think the subject. His work, for me, is very cinematic in an Indy film sort of way and it was something I needed on this book. I thought he and the material was the perfect match…had I gotten another artist, the main character would look like every other female comic character…super pretty with a killer body. He knew how to draw regular people and I love what he did.

This seems to have been a big year for you and creator owned work.  As your first Kickstarter experience, do you have any thoughts on the crowdfunding system for getting creator owned projects off the ground?

I happen to be very lucky to have the audience I have…and was able to raise the funds pretty quickly. I think social media really helped as well as all the great people I surround myself with that enjoy the work. A lot of people took a risk investing in my book and on some level they know I am busting my ass to make their money into the best product I can. I think from now on, I will be doing these twice a year on special projects…but there is a ton of work involved as well…especially with fulfilling the pledges. You have to know going in that the process is not over till each and every person gets their books, prints and art and they are happy. It can be exhausting, but I have a good friend Patrick that is lending me a hand and it will go smoothly because of it. I think overall it was a great experience and I personally have pledged others projects that I believe will be exciting ones.

My advice to anyone doing it, is to keep the amount you know low and realistic, make a good pitch and actually offer things people want as incentives.

And finally, what’s your personal favourite thing about Queen Crab?

That I actually finished it… the pin-ups are set, and the book will be going to press with a hardcover. Honestly…I am a bit nervous about people’s expectations of the book. It’s a simple story about the adventure…and less about the ending and such…and I worry each time I do something that takes me away from what I think people expect of me. It’s also exciting at the same time for me to try new ideas out to an audience. If it were a movie, I would sit and hide at the screening and lose my mind. That’s gonna happen on a daily basis when I start getting feedback from people. Since my living is made by the people that buy my books…I worry insanely about their opinions…and yet I know deep down that all I can do is do my best and let it go.

QUEEN CRAB HC (DEC110483, ISBN: 978-1-60706-505-0), a 64-page full-color hardcover graphic novel for $12.99, will be on sale in stores and on digital platforms on February 1, and will be available for order in the December issue of Previews.

About Dee

Officially a Canastralian. Longtime comic fan, and lover of the graphic medium. Grey up with the X-Men and Avengers, and moved to the world of DC and independents shortly after. Cosplayer, Costumer, and all around crafty person. Loves to travel and works her butt off for a number of conventions here in Oz.
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One Response to Interview: Jimmy Palmiotti on Queen Crab

  1. Pingback: The Gosh! Authority 13/03/12 » Gosh! London – the Culture of Comics

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