New York Hardcore: Palmiotti Talks "Painkiller Jane"

Thu, February 16th, 2006 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

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Wrap Around Cover to "Painkiller Jane" #1
New York Hardcore is a label generally used to describe a music scene, but the term also could apply to Jane Vasko. Vasko, AKA Painkiller Jane, prowls the streets of New York hunting criminal scum armed with a pair of pistols and a superhuman healing ability that's allowed her to shrug off bullets wounds, explosions and even a shotgun blast to the face. Painkiller Jane was created Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada and starred in her own series from the duo's Event Comics.

This February, "Painkiller Jane" returns in all new ongoing series from Dynamite Entertainment, plotted by Palmiotti and Quesada and Scripted by Palmiotti with art by Lee Moder. In part one of our two part look at "Painkiller Jane," CBR News spoke with Jimmy Palmiotti about the series.

Since Quesada is the Editor in Chief at Marvel Comics, Quesada and Palmiotti wouldn't have felt right bringing "Jane" to Marvel as part of their Icon line. "It wouldn't be right for them and Joe and the company and so on, so we kept it clean and licensed it to Dynamite which has been doing some awesome books for the past year and our relationship with them is a great one," Palmiotti told CBR News. "'Red Sonja' is one of my favorite books and we thought 'Painkiller Jane' would fit right in with the growing list of characters they are publishing. They really are a perfect fit for this book. In my local NY stores, Dynamite books outsell every other company other than the big two."

Cover to "Painkiller Jane" #1 By Lee Moder
Even though Quesada has a very demanding day job at the House of Ideas, he's still very active in chronicling Jane's exploits. "Joe plots it with me and gives it a read for changes when I am done," Palmiotti explained. "He is there as best as he can while running Marvel at the same time. He has his hands full for sure …but we created the character and it reads like it… It's insane stuff. Joe is a brilliant storyteller as 'D.D. Father' proves, so it's really fun working with him on this. I like to think we both learn from each other."

In addition to being chock full of insane stuff, Quesada and Palmiotti have made sure that "Painkiller Jane" #1 from Dynamite is new reader friendly. "This 'Painkiller Jane' is for a more mature audience than the original series. It's not a new beginning because this story takes place after the events in 'Painkiller' # 0 put out years ago," Palmiotti said. "Dynamite will be publishing a trade soon, so anyone who wants to check that out can, but you don't need a damn thing to get right into the new book…trust me. Go out and get it now (end of February to be specific)…why are you still reading this interview?"

Readers getting to know Jane in issue #1 will quickly learn that her healing powers may remove all physical wounds inflicted by her war on crime, but her psyche is covered in scars. "Jane is perfect and a mess at the same time. She is a righteous person that has had everything near and dear to her taken away and is left with a cold cruel world to deal with. She has attitude and has earned respect with the underworld of NYC. She is an ex-cop and makes no pretensions about ever reading you your rights. She is death and mayhem to some and salvation to others. She has a body to kill for and the capacity to kill with…her…ah, aright. I'll stop. Jane is a complicated woman who is always on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and only satisfying her bloodlust for taking down bad guys keeps her sane."

Cover to "Painkiller Jane" #1 By Amanda Connor
The opening arc features Jane setting her sights on bad guys armed with something even more deadly than a gun: immense wealth. "It's about Jane getting involved with the richest family in NYC, but not in the marrying the youngest male kind of way," Palmiotti stated. "A lot of sick shit is happening and a lot of bodies are finding their way to the east river and Jane, with the help of her girlfriend detective Fernandez, tracks the blood trail to Manhattan's royal family. Jane takes it up a notch and the killings begin, this time with Jane dishing out the lead. At one point, because of something that happens, Jane becomes the new target."

Jane's vendetta against the wealthy Manhattan clan will also pit her against the NYPD and herself. "She is one self destructing gal…a walking disaster area at times," Palmiotti said.

Jane won't be battling these enemies alone. The book is populated by an intriguing cast of supporting characters that will both aid and complicate her crusade against crime. "Her best friend is Maureen Fernandez; she is her best girlfriend and someone she went thru the police academy with. Doctor Seth is her first aid giver and overall guardian angel," Palmiotti explained. "Other than that the 22 Brides [the stars of the Event Comic in which Jane made her first appearance] are still running around town and mobster Joe Fonti has an agreement with her to keep to himself. They are a colorful little bunch."

Palmiotti is thrilled with the work of the man charged to bring his bullet riddled and blood soaked crime book to life, artist Lee Moder. "Lee is fucking great," Palmiotti said. "I love what I have seen, the first issue storytelling is wonderful and he brings his own game to the book and I love it. It looks so good Lee will be stolen by DC or Marvel and will go exclusive before he even gets lead on a page."

He may see all-star status in his artist's future, but Palmiotti hopes that Moder sticks around to depict some of the big story ideas that are planned for "Painkiller Jane." "We are planning on bringing in new characters and making the book harder and meaner," Palmiotti hinted. "I don't want to only push the envelope; I want to break down the friggin door. More fun ahead."

Cover to "Painkiller Jane" #1 By Billy Tan

Jane's team-ups with characters from other publishers is something Palmiotti hopes to see a return to in the future, In the past she has fought alongside The Punisher, Helboy and Vampirella. "I would like the Punisher again to do it right," Palmiotti said. "Garth wrote a funny book, but the characters were off. Maybe another Dynamite character would be right. 'Battlestar Galactica' would be funny as hell. Jane as a Cylon…hmmmmm."

Palmiotti advises old school fans of "Painkiller Jane" and new readers eager to meet his tortured, gun-toting, super healing heroine for the first time to head to their local comic shop. "The first issue will sell out and I guarantee half the people that wanted to read the book will not be able to and that sucks," Palmiotti stated. How do I know this? It happens all the time, that's how. Please tell your retailer to order you a copy in advance."

Look for part two of CBR News' look at "Painkiller Jane" tomorrow when we interview the book's artist Lee Moder. In the meantime, you can discuss this story on the CBR Indie Comics Board.

 
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