Painkiller Jane is back. And this time she’s bringing some of her Event Comics’ friends. This May, Marvel’s Icon imprint will launch Painkiller Jane: The 22 Brides, a four issue series that sees the unkillable killer cross paths with the 22 brides who paved the way for her debut back in 1996. In this new series, Jane and the brides reunite when a cadre of terrorists come to lay waste to New York City. Palmiotti describes the 22 Brides as “Classic New York and the Guardian Angels,” so who better to defend the Big Apple?
Both Painkiller Jane and the 22 Brides were born in Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada’s mid-90s creator-owned company Event Comics, and although that publisher was shuttered when the duo were enlisted to revive Marvel Comics in 1999 Palmiotti recently revived Painkiller Jane in a string of miniseries at Marvel’s creator-owned imprint. Palmiotti says the return of the 22 Brides was a long time coming, and that other Event Comics’ alums such as Ash could be next given the right circumstances.
Newsarama talked to Palmiotti about this new series he’s launching in may with Juan Santacruz, the return of the Brides, as well as the history they share with the titular hero and their spiritual brother who might be returning to comics.
Newsarama: Jimmy, Painkiller Jane: The 22 Brides is a long-time coming – Jane crossing paths with the characters whose title she debuted in way back in 1996. What can you tell us about this series?
Jimmy Palmiotti: The characters have been a lot of fun for Joe and I to create and we used them a few times in past Painkiller Jane books and I thought I would update them a bit and tell a bigger story using them. In the end, the book is Jane’s, but reintroducing them to a new audience is fun. I think the mix of ethnic backgrounds in the characters has always made them more interesting than most characters and the way they operated within the city was a pretty unique concept.
Nrama: For those that didn’t read Event Comics, how would you describe the 22 Brides?
Palmiotti: The 22 Brides are an underground group of runaways that live and work together to keep the peace in New York City. They operate way below the radar, but everyone in any position of power in the city knows them. Think classic New York and Guardian Angels, but with more guns and willing to break the law to get the job done. They protect the weak and friendless. They are a friend to Jane and, simply put, mercenaries for a good cause.
Nrama: How long have you wanted to dust off the 22 Brides for a new comics story?
Palmiotti: Honest, when I finished the first adventure with Icon I was thinking about the characters and a storyline that would involve them that made sense because I kept getting people asking about them. Since the book is for mature audiences, I will be bringing some of the sexuality of the characters into play. The series itself will be dealing with a terrorist group that has a goal with New York in its scope, but not in the way you think. It makes total sense bring the Brides into this story, otherwise I wouldn't bother.
Nrama: Painkiller Jane debuted in 22 Brides #1 back in 1996, and quickly became a standout star – and in many ways eclipsing 22 Brides. Did you and Joe always intend for Jane to take off on her own adventures? And if not, what was the trigger?
Palmiotti: We had a lot of dreams back then of creating an empire with our own titles and then Marvel knights happened and a lot of what we were doing got derailed and sort of evolved for both of us. We had an aggressive game plan back then, but reality and limitations get in the way. We will always be dreamers. Joe gets to show his on the big screen and I get to write the further adventures in a medium we both love. Jane, like most good characters, had a life on her own in comics and TV and hopefully will continue to do so.
Nrama: In addition to this main story, I’m told you have a second story called “Monster” with Steve Mannion. What’s that about?
Palmiotti: “Monster” is a simple story of a chain of killings that are linked together with blackmail. It’s all about some bad people doing really bad things to save the ones they love. Jane is in the middle of it and the story itself is a small done in one that is the backup for the first double sized issue. We get to see Jane caught up in the middle of someone else’s mess and watch her go crazy trying to solve it.
Nrama: Steve Mannion’s a name I haven’t seen in a while. How’d you and he hook-up for this?
Palmiotti: I was backing some of Steve’s Kickstarters and loved his work and we got to talking. I asked him if he had any interest in doing a one shot story and he loved the idea. His Painkiller Jane is drawn in more of a cartoonish style. It’s different than Juan’s work and I think that's what makes this stand out. It has an impish quality and almost a surreal look to it at times. When you work with different artists, its always interesting to see what they bring to the table. I love what Steve did and with Paul mounts coloring him, it’s just stunning.
Nrama: This new series is announced just after news broke that you’re working on a new Painkiller Jane movie. You co-wrote the script and you’re a producer, so what can you tell us about the project?
Palmiotti: Very little at this point except the story is an origin story mixed with all the best parts of the Jane books over the years. Craig Weeden and I went to the core of the character and created a script that is the groundwork for a bigger franchise. It’s one of the few scripts you will see that features two best friends as the main characters. Maureen and Jane steal every scene with their unspoken language. I hope to have some more good news soon on that front. With Hollywood, I never hold my breath.
Nrama: Jumping back to comics for one last question -- I see Painkiller Jane, I see the 22 Brides coming up – can Ash be too far behind?
Palmiotti: We shall see if this new Painkiller Jane series gets a better following than the last. I would love nothing more to include all the Event Comics characters and as you have guessed, Ash is one of Joe’s favorites and mine. We talk every couple of years about Ash and what to do, but Joe’s schedule is insane working on all the Marvel movies and TV shows…it’s almost impossible for him to commit to any project like this. What I would love to do is see DreamWorks finally get this property in gear and do something with it. It’s amazing how all Hollywood can do is focus on the Marvel and DC franchise and have no idea of the wealth of characters they are sitting on, like with Ash and Painkiller Jane and so many more. It’s why we put the website Paperfilms.com together to showcase some of the other heroes we created.