An Intimate Afternoon With Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, And A Room Full Of People

IMG_7713David Nieves wrote from WonderCon for Bleeding Cool

During the final hours of WonderCon weekend in Anaheim California, comics power couple Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner hosted an unconventional spotlight where the couple let the audience know about their relationship, the comics industry, and their movie dates.

With no moderator, the panel opened as the two took the stage and dimmed the lights to set an intimate tone in a room accustomed to business atmosphere. Room 203 became like a fire place scene from a romance novel. Jimmy opened the panel by talking about how he and Amanda first met. They were introduced by an editor when Palmiotti was asked to ink a cover to Disney’s Gargoyles that Conner had penciled. As with real love stories the magic didn’t happen right away, in her words “he grew on me.” They had become good friends but Jimmy had a girlfriend “or three”, according to him, and Amanda was married to another man. As they became friends Conner got to see Palmiotti at his best and worse. A few years later, Amanda’s marriage was ending and Jimmy’s then girlfriend had just broken up with him. After those it seemed ” the universe went the right way”, the two began dating and have been together ever since. They are match made that can only be made in comics, “the penciler meets the inker.”

After Gargoyles, the two began to work together regularly on Vampirella  for Harris Comics. The audience roared with laughter when Jimmy told a story about writing one of his first scripts for her where the first page was Vampirella sitting on a toilet.  When he asked Conner what she wanted to draw that was her first response. So Palmiotti crafted a story that opened with the toilet scene splash page and we’d later find out, towards the end of the issue, it was because Vampirella destroyed a demon by eating it.

After that Amanda and Jimmy listed all their work together like Gatecrasher, JSA Classified, and Power Girl. Originally, because Conner was busy with other projects, Palmiotti was trying to find another artist for his JSA run. Every artist he tried to bring on board kept getting snatched up by bigger books. After seeing the frustration mounting inside him she could stand no more and jumped on the book.

Jimmy then talked about closing, not only the bar last night after WonderCon, but “closing the hotel as well.” He gave the crowd advice for enjoying nights out, “never look at the clock.” It was great advice. “If you don’t know what time it is, then you don’t know how much sleep you’ve lost,” Palmiotti preached.

They opened the floor to questions, the first being about their next collaboration. This will come in the form of the creator owned book, Captain Brooklyn. This project had been in the works for some time now, but when Amanda poured herself into her work on Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre  she had to put Capt. Brooklyn on hold. Jimmy Palmiotti and his co writer Frank Tieri are two issues in. The book is about a garbage man in Brooklyn who needs money for his grandfather’s operation, along the way he acquires super powers that only complicate his own life in extraordinarily amusing ways. The project was specifically written with Amanda in mind, so Palmiotti was willing to wait for her to be available. Now, after being finished with her part on Before Watchmen, she has a number of various covers to do, after those are complete Amanda will get back illustrating this newest Conner/Palmiotti project. No definite release date was given.

One fan asked about Amanda’s experience at the Kubert school. She talked about how during her time at the Kubert school most other schools frowned upon comics as an art. Now in her eyes she sees most art schools accepting the legitimacy of comic art.

A question about their relationship came up; the first movie they saw as a couple? Their first romantic time at a theater, Amelie. Then Palmiotti raved about a foreign movie he’d recently seen called Upside Down. Without giving away the plot, he broke it down as a unique sci-fi love story.

Amanda was asked about the ending of Silk Spectre. While she felt it could have been stretched out to six issues, Connor was glad that it’s over. She told stories about the sleepless nights of painstaking meticulous research she had to do for the book. Things like researching Haight Ashbury in the 1960’s. There were no photos from the time period for her to reference, so she had to turn to older relatives and pick their brain. Amanda talked about how she became obsessive with detail, a perfect example when building a house for Silk Spectre based on only a living room drawn by original Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. The hours she spent away from Jimmy working on the book  caused a stir of emotions for the couple and it’s something they would not like to go through again. Though Amanda told the crowd how much she appreciated the support from the fans on Silk Spectre. Jimmy mentioned Amanda’s work on the book got her nominated for a Reuben award.

One of the most interesting questions asked at the panel, what character would they like to work on?

Amanda knew the character Jimmy has always wanted to work on was Wonder Woman. His response was that he’d hinted at his take on her in the digital exclusive AME-COMI GIRLS by touching on her “mommy issues.” He mentioned how great he thought the Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang run is and if he were to do a Wonder Woman run he’d try to show a side of the character no one sees. While Amanda said she stays away from characters she doesn’t like, Jimmy brought up Tigra for her. Connor’s response in true great female artist fashion, ” I’d just make her fuzzier.” She talked about a tryout page she did where Tigra was drawn beating up Kraven with fried chicken bones and the crowd tried to convince her to post it online. I’d like to see that myself.

The couple was also asked about what they currently enjoy in comics. Amanda talked about her fond ness for Terry Moore’s work, “every time he comes out with a story I’m always riveted by it.” Jimmy’s answer was anything by their long time friend, Darwyn Cooke. Palmiotti told the audience he still goes to the shops every Wednesday, he buys and tries every issue #1. Jimmy feels it’s part of his job to give everything a chance.

One hour was just not enough time for these truly special creators. It was such an intimate experience with the two, the audience could not help but feel like they had just met them at bar and sat down for a drink. That’s the real magic Amanda Palmer and Jimmy Palmiotti have, they can make you feel like a friend they’ve know their entire lives minutes after meeting them.

After the panel I caught up with Jimmy Palmiotti at this table and we talked a little bit about the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us video game. The genesis of the story came from the game’s creators, Netherealm Studios. Palmiotti said he was in full support of the idea the second he heard it. He and his frequent writing partner Justin Gray were brought on to consult on the characters and make sure they retained their essence in this what-if type story in Injustice.

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