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Jimmy Palmiotti on 'Rage' and its story of apocalyptic family drama

Comic Books

Jimmy Palmiotti on ‘Rage’ and its story of apocalyptic family drama

The comics veteran dives deep into crowdfunding comics.

It’s a great time for comics, especially if you’re getting them funded through Kickstarter. Over $25 million was made in 2020 via the popular platform, and $16.6 million has been generated thus far in 2021. Enter Jimmy Palmiotti, a creator who has leveraged multiple comics projects and even created his company, PaperFilms, around said properties.

His such endeavor launched today, and it’s called Rage. Available to back on Kickstarter right now, it’s a graphic novel (with art from Scott Hampton) about Braden Radovick, a man who winds up in a New York City holding a cell after the world has fallen apart overnight. Fires rage, corpses lay across the city, and people are losing their minds. The story follows Radovick as he hopes to find his daughter, Friday, who is somewhere on the West Coast.

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To better understand the project in general, I asked Palmiotti about the story, its mature audience label, why Kickstarter works, and much, much more.

AIPT: Rage is on the way from artist Scott Hampton, who recently had Dio, Holy Diver out from Z2. Has this project been long in the making between you and Scott?

Jimmy Palmiotti: Rage is a recent project for us both. Scott and I caught up with each other during the pandemic discussing our last book together, G.I. Zombie at DC, and we both had a schedule opening to take on a project together. We thought rather than run to a publisher and hoping they would like our pitch, why not have my company PaperFilms bankroll the initial costs and kickstart the rest. With that in mind, and having no editorial restrictions, we started brainstorming a few ideas until we flushed out what the book would be about. I got to writing it and started feeding Scott chapters as they were finished. Overall, it was the right project at the right time and I was super happy Scott was able to fit it into his super busy schedule.

Jimmy Palmiotti Kickstarter 'Rage'

Cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz.

AIPT: It’s no secret you’ve done exceptional things with Kickstarter, Jimmy what’s your Kickstarter secret?

JP: My Kickstarter secret should not be a secret, it should be how everyone runs their campaigns. The focus is to respect the audience, put together the best book possible as far as creators, story, and production, and always communicate with the backers. Most important after that, deliver the project on time- each and every time. Just creating a crowdfunded project is not enough and a lot of people thinking they can make an easy buck doing it – well, you read about those campaigns falling flat or not delivering the goods all the time. To me, the campaign and the people supporting it are my extended family, supporting what I do and stepping up to the plate with their hard-earned money. I owe it to them to deliver on time what was promised in my campaign.

I care and babysit every single step of the production all the way down to the shipping and online interaction, and with the help of my partner Patrick Wedge, we make each campaign a priority. I want to give the readers things they have not seen before, production values that are top-notch, and a personal experience they cannot get anywhere else. I take it all personally and my reputation is on the line with each and every campaign.

Jimmy Palmiotti Kickstarter 'Rage'

Art by Scott Hampton.

AIPT: There have been a few stories about the end of the world, and even men trying to find their daughters like with the recently revealed Last Flight Out, or the new DC Horror book The Nice House on the Lake. Do you believe there’s a zeitgeist we’re all tapping into right now with these sorts of themes?

JP: I have not read either of them, so I will check them out. I think this last year with the pandemic has put a lot of things in perspective for a lot of people, but my story is a bit more personal. My father passed away when I was in my 20’s and I would have given anything to have him around longer, for him to see me and how all my hard work paid off, and talk with me, understanding everything as I do now. I never got that. My father-in-law is 78 and I watch the relationship he has with my wife and the conversations I have with him, and it is just wonderful. Their connection to each other-the way they discuss films and ideas and the way they communicate with each other is just beautiful to watch. The connection is so significant. When writing Rage, I wanted to try writing a story about a father and daughter dealing with the trauma they both experienced and how this changed them and actually strengthened their relationship.

The world is not ending in Rage, the world is a mess and things are happening that humans will have to adjust to, and the book is about the first few weeks of this and about these two characters feeling they have to be together to better deal with what is going on. It is not over the top except for the fall out of the event- rather Rage is a story about love and strength and the connection between father and daughter and the trauma surrounding them.

Jimmy Palmiotti

Art by Scott Hampton.

AIPT: With Rage on the way, you’ve just added another cool project to an already exciting year with Blondie and Anthrax graphic novels on the way too, what is your workday like? Do you partition out a week for a specific book or hop around?

JP: I love and appreciate music and getting to work on those books is amazing, especially interacting with heroes of mine like Chris Stein. That said, most of my days are me on Zoom calls or on the phone being aware of international time zones. Right now, on my desk is the Red Sonja series for Dynamite I am co-writing with my wife Amanda Conner, the Blondie book we are writing scheduled for next winter, and finishing up a Painkiller Jane one-shot for my next Kickstarter campaign. Self-discipline is the heart of being a freelancer.

Outside of comics, I have a screenplay being worked on, and a couple of development projects for TV and features, but that work is constant because of all the intellectual properties I own. A lot of my focus is also on my website where I sell original comic art, our published books, and collectibles. The funds from the site help fund more creations.

Jimmy Palmiotti Kickstarter 'Rage'

Art by Scott Hampton.

AIPT: For fans of “mature audiences” comics, what might they expect? 

JP: When we give a “mature audiences” label to the book it means a few things. It means there is probably nudity, violence, and some adult language and this book has all three of these covered. We are creating stories for adults and with that comes themes that are part of the story and we feel that with all the censorship going on in other books these days, we can push the envelope here, knowing that our audience is aware of it ahead of time.

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