Are you ready for Splatterman? Who or what is Splatterman? I asked writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray some questions to prepare you for the comic that will change the horror genre seen in comics. If that wasn't enough, check out the exclusive art they sent our way as well.
Comic Vine: What's the story behind Splatterman? How did you and Justin come up with it?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Originally, in 1995-6 I came up with the name SPLATTERMAN and did it as a trading card for the dynamic forces creators universe card series with Amanda Conner. It was an idea I had while watching some horror films. Years later, both Justin and I are fans of the genre and wanted to dig in again after we had so much fun writing the Friday the 13 book and the hills have eyes graphic novel. This time we wanted to self publish our own book through Image and go completely nuts with the story…do things a regular comic company would never let us do.
CV: Is it based on a true story...?
JP: The story is sort of based on a bit of reality and mostly just an idea we had. It’s about a writer and an artist that create and self publish their ultimate horror character “ Splatterman” and what happens when it becomes a bit too popular. We loved the idea of telling some real stories in the book while we were telling the bigger story around it. its fun, sexy, horrific and just a great use of the comic structure, we think.
Justin Gray: Good horror stories have a social commentary to them, with the threat of terrorism we have to live with an unseen enemy that could be anyone at any time trying to harm us. That was part of the basis for Splatterman.
CV: How long have you guys had the idea of Splatterman?
JP: Honestly, 14 or 15 years, as insane as it sounds. When I did the card I was shopping it around but the market wasn’t buying horror so much. We then were going to try to develop it into a film when we finally figured out we should do what we do best and make an original graphic novel. Its an expensive thing to do, so we approached the Kickstart Entertainment people, the guys that bankrolled the BACK TO BROOKLYN book and produced WANTED and PAINKILLER JANE and sold them on doing a partnership with us again. It worked out great…we do the comic and they sell the rights if anyone is interested. This allowed us to do things like hire a great artist , get an amazing cover from Tim Bradstreet and not send us into the streets begging for funds. They are a great group and get what we do and that’s important to us.
CV: How did you guys hook up with Giancarlo Caracuzzo?
JP: Our buddy Giancarlo…we met online and we did THE LAST RESORT at IDW Publishing with him last year…and we haven’t let him go since. He did what a lot of artists do these days…sent me his samples for me to look at. His stuff has such character and movement, we knew we must hold on to him. After Splatterman, he will be doing an issue of JONAH HEX with us. He is a smart, naturally trained storyteller that totally loves the same things we do. We hope to keep him with our crew for a long time.
CV: The book is set to be a 72 page format, does this contain the entire story or could we see more later?
JP: This contains the entire story…beginning, middle and end. We figured it would be a cheat to do this any other way. We looked at it at first at being three individual books…but then it would have cost the reader over $12 bucks and we felt as one graphic novel at $6.99 , people might pick it up easier…and because of the square binding , retailers might keep it on the rack a bit longer. We hope that the readers out their will support this idea and try the book. As far as more later…things happen in this book that can lead to more stories…but we would have to be very clever to pull it off. When you read the book, you will understand.
CV: Having read some "horror" comics, a lot depends on the execution (no pun intended). Do you find it different writing a comic in the horror genre versus the superhero or western ones?
JP: They are totally different. The idea that you can “scare” a person while reading a comic is a tough one, but we have given it some pretty good shots in our past work and the fans really reacted to the work. We look for story structure and character development in everything we do, but in the horror genre, you have to keep a reader in a place where whatever they think will happen next…well, it wont. In Splatterman, we follow the process of these guys creating a book and then traveling to promote it, something we really haven’t read in a comic book before…and when the horror kicks in, I think its extra horrific because you have gotten to like these guys and you want to see them come out of it alive.
JG: Horror is different in this medium, you’re not going to get outright “scares” what you can get is dread and emotional responses in relating to the main characters. You can shock and show something horrific, but we try to make people uncomfortable with this book.
CV: The premise sounds perfect for a movie adaptation, is that something you guys have in mind?
JP: The comic has to work first, but yeah…it’s an easy grab for a studio to take and run with. That said, we don’t care at this point. We want the graphic novel to stand on its own and be its own experience and not worry about a film on any level. That’s a nice pipe dream for another day.
JG: Our primary interest is in putting out an enjoyable graphic novel. As a story it can certainly be adapted to film and I suppose it helps that I watch tons and tons of horror films so I know the flaws and clichés inside and out.
CV: Do you guys have other ideas for future horror graphic novels or graphic novels in other genres?
JP: Yes, we have a few books in the works that covers all the genres. We got a holocaust drama, a fantasy graphic novel…a crime book and more coming your way in the next year. We love working for other people, but in the end, creating our own characters is the greatest and most fun thing we can do in comics. We have lost thousands of dollars in the past few years doing this…believe me, most of the books we bank ourselves lose money…but we are getting to tell a story our way and we hope having one hit somewhere down the line will balance the books. Till then we keep plugging away.
CV: Who wins, Splatterman, Power Girl or Jonah Hex?
JP: Well, that’s easy. Powergirl is the only one with super powers. Jonah vs Splatterman would be the interesting fight…
Splatterman will be on sale April 28. 72 full color pages for only $6.99. Make sure your local comic shop orders some copies.
Splatterman has been changed to "Random Acts Of Violence." You can read why HERE.