New York has Spider-Man, Metropolis has Superman, and now, thanks to Image Comics, “All-Star Western” writer Jimmy Palmiotti and “Wolverine/Hercules” writer Frank Tieri, New York’s most populous borough will get its own protector: Captain Brooklyn.
Created and co-written by Palmiotti and Tieri, “Captain Brooklyn” revolves around a New York native who develops superpowers and begins to fight for truth, justice and freedom — in and around Brooklyn, that is. The Image miniseries, out May of next year, also features art from “Power Girl” artist and “Captain Brooklyn” co-creator Amanda Conner and Marvel colorist Paul Mounts.
CBR News spoke with both Palmiotti and Tieri who expounded upon the miniseries, discussing the plot and protagonist, their experience working with Conner and Mounts and what borough, in their opinion, deserves to get a superhero next (keep those fingers crossed, Staten Island)!
CBR News: You guys are working on “Captain Brooklyn” for Image Comics, so let’s start off with the most basic question — who is Captain Brooklyn? Is he an original creation?
Jimmy Palmiotti: Totally new character from our twisted minds. We have wanted to all work together on a project for a very long time and the only way this was going to happen is if we put it together ourselves.
Frank Tieri: “Captain Brooklyn” is what I would call a “bar book.” And here’s what I mean by that: it’s no secret that comic creators have a habit of spending a lot of times in bars, ya know? So sometimes between beers and our Jagermeister shots we actually talk comics and ideas pop up and if you’re lucky, some of this stuff actually makes sense in the morning and you get something like “Captain Brooklyn” out of it.
Palmiotti: Like Frank said, me, him and Amanda were at a bar talking about fun stuff to write and draw and it just came out and Amanda drew a cartoon on a napkin of the character cursing at an airplane in his way and it went from there. Brooklyn is a real character in this book — and anyone that has ever been there will get the book even quicker, as well as the humor.
Tieri: If I remember correctly, somebody called me Captain Brooklyn at some point that night, we laughed about it, imagining what me as a super hero would be like — and it sort of just took on a life of its own. I remember Jimmy calling me the next day about it, and once we had Amanda onboard this little nutty idea we had suddenly didn’t seem so nutty anymore. Really, the best part of something like this is you get to work with your friends. Luckily, I have some very talented friends (and yes, I even mean Jimmy).
What can you tell us about the basic plot of the comic?
Palmiotti: It’s a story of a garbage man in Brooklyn with a million things going on in his life and how, after a few screw ups, he gets superpowers that turn out to create even more problems with him. It’s very real world on some levels, and way out there on others.
Tieri: There’s a great line from the movie “Swingers” where Jon Favreau’s character talks about how you can avoid trouble in other places but in New York, trouble finds you. Well, I’ll take it a step further: in Brooklyn, trouble doesn’t just find you — it hunts you. And that’ll be Vinnie. Every move he makes, everything he does, no matter how good his intentions — whether it’s dealing with his sick grandfather or trying to talk to the smoking hot Russian girls next door or handling his degenerate best friend, Bags — trouble will be hunting him. Like a %^&*in’ animal.
With that description and a name like “Captain Brooklyn,” it sounds like the comic is pretty tongue in cheek.
Palmiotti: We are totally approaching the book with a sense of humor and a real love for the genre.
Tieri: It’s going to be completely over the top, hilarious, violent, vulgar, sick, twisted and downright appalling on so many different levels I can’t even count — and yet, it’s got heart to it. At the end of the day this is a story about a guy who, while having his fair share of flaws, is genuinely a good guy who’s just trying to make it in this world. Of course, when that world is “Captain Brooklyn’s” world, %^&* hits the fan more often than not.
What’s the plan for the title? Is this a new ongoing creator-owned title for the three of you, or will it just be a miniseries?
Palmiotti: Amanda is far from a monthly artist, so we are going to start with a miniseries first and then see if there is any interest in the book after that. We are happy to have Amanda and Paul Mounts doing this though, since they are both in such demand these days.
Tieri: Amanda was the artist we both wanted for this from day one. In fact, we’ve pretty much had to wait for Amanda’s schedule to clear up — but it was definitely worth the wait. She’s adapted a sort of Chuck Jones-ish style for “Captain Brooklyn” that’s really a perfect fit for this. Really some of her best stuff. As for doing more — hey, if fans want more, believe me, we’ll do more. We’ve got plenty of ideas in these #$%ed up pinheads of ours.
Do the three of you work very tightly together, with you guys writing detailed scripts and individual panel descriptions, or does Amanda really take charge of the character design and directing art-wise on the book?
Palmiotti: We try to give her the best script we can, but with Amanda and Paul on art, we know when to let the artists go crazy, and they do. The smartest thing a writer can do is to get to know the artist and what they like and dislike illustrating.
Tieri: I think there’s a little of both going on, actually. There was stuff that we specifically talked about and then there was stuff we didn’t — like the cats. That was all Amanda. She drew the cover with like a thousand cats on there so we just ran with it. It actually gave Vinnie’s character another dimension that we didn’t think of before — on top of everything he’s got going on, now he’s got a truckload of cats to deal with.
Palmiotti: Amanda and I are cat people, so we totally get how stupid and funny they can be.
Tieri: Trust me, I’ve been to their house. It’s like %^&*in’ Animal Planet in there.
Outside of the cats, of course, what does Amanda’s style bring to the table in terms of “Captain Brooklyn?”
Palmiotti: Amanda is one of the top five best storytellers in the business right now, so we really don’t worry at all about anything she does. It will always be better than what we wrote. She is a natural. Same goes for Paul Mounts — we get him the art and it comes back even better each and every time. We are a close-knit family here.
Tieri: Me and Jimmy spent a lot of time “in the gutter” in this book — and the best thing I could say about working with Amanda is she had no problem getting right in there with us. So yeah, Amanda’s a gutter girl, all right.
Palmiotti: That’s not very nice, Frank. As you can tell, Frank’s not a very nice person.
Tieri: That’s Jimmy’s nice way of calling me a dick. Sometimes you have to read between the lines of these things. Not in “Captain Brooklyn” though. If Vinnie thinks someone’s acting like a dick, he calls them a dick. Not much reading between the lines there.
Palmiotti: Fine. You’re a dick.
Tieri: Much better.
Since we’re talking about Vinnie again, what can you tell us about the supporting cast for Captain Brooklyn? Is the focus of the book going to be squarely on Vinnie, or will he have the traditional superhero trifecta of arch-nemesis, sidekick and love interest?
Palmiotti: When you introduce a sidekick, to me, it takes away from the main character, so no sidekick but a lot of supporting characters like his grandfather, the three Russian massage girls next door, his grandfather’s nurse and an ex-wife. And as we mentioned earlier, with Amanda on art, there will also be a million stray cats running around.
Tieri: And again, Brooklyn itself is going to be as much a part of the cast as any of the characters. Brooklyn has a sort of vibe, a certain way we talk, a certain attitude. It’s all in there. Somebody once told me Brooklyn was the best and worst the world had to offer — and I’ve always found it to be an accurate description of Brooklyn as any. It’s probably a good description of this book as well.
So are the three of you concerned with making the depiction of New York and Brooklyn in the comic really accurate? Is Captain Brooklyn going to be patrolling Park Slope and Bed-Stuy, or does he inhabit a more cartoonish, less realistic superhero world?
Palmiotti: It is accurate because you can’t make up this stuff. [Laughs] Brooklyn is one of my favorite places on the planet and has more personality than any other place I have ever lived. It is insane but it has its own beat. I love it, and Amanda is doing much research to the settings.
Tieri: And yeah, Park Slope, Bed-Stuy, DUMBO, Bay Ridge; we touch on just about every Brooklyn neighborhood at some point. I’ve lived in Bensonhurst my whole life, Jimmy in Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay; we know each nook and cranny of Brooklyn like the back of our hands and what all the different neighborhoods have going on, so we’ll definitely be touching on that. In some ways, this is a love letter to Brooklyn, believe it or not.
Palmiotti: Yes, a love letter that will not get us another date.
Finally, if “Captain Brooklyn” proves popular, are you guys going to start hitting up the other boroughs? I think I see a future for Captain Staten Island!
Palmiotti: We would love to — and the last would be “Captain Florida” because we all know it’s New York’s sixth borough.
Tieri: Fine, but no Captain Jersey. I mean, we’ve gotta draw the line somewhere.
“Captain Brooklyn” #1 hits stores May 2012.