Hooked On Painkillers: Palmiotti Talks "Painkiller Jane"

The stars certainly appear to be aligned for Painkiller Jane, the indestructible vigilante Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti created more than ten years ago in their little indie comic, "22 Brides." The character then starred in her own Event Comics mini-series, which was collected and reissued last year by Dynamite Entertainment, who followed up with their own original mini-series. Jane was the subject of a successful SciFi Channel made-for-television movie in 2005, which became the de-facto pilot for this year's "Painkiller Jane" television series starting Kristanna Loken. If that weren't enough, also launching this summer is an all-new original "Painkiller Jane" comics series from Dynamite, who've decided to reward longtime fans and treat new readers to a $0.25 cent priced introductory issue #0 in April.

Dynamite's "Painkiller Jane" #0 reunites the original Event Comics creative team of Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti on story, Palmiotti on script, and Lee Moder on artwork. CBR News spoke with co-creator/scripter Jimmy Palmiotti about Jane's special issue, her history, and what her fans can expect in the near future.

"['Painkiller Jane' #0] is the beginning of a bigger story that is going to see Jane go through a ton of emotional roller coaster rides," Palmiotti told CBR News. "Joe and I thought it would be a good time to broaden the cast of supporting characters a bit, and this new character is really a reflection of the times we are living in."

That new character is The Infidel, a villain Palmiotti promised will fit right into Jane's dark and gloomy world, but about whom the writer revealed little else. "Anything I give away now will ruin the appearance and beats of the character. She is a mystery and has to stay that way till the book is actually in the reader's hands."

Returning in the new "Painkiller Jane" series is Maureen, Jane's best friend and former police academy classmate, and of course Doctor Seth, whose presence is a necessity due to Jane's need for constant medical care. Palmotti indicated that the new series explores further the friendship between Jane Maureen as well as spotlights the feelings Doctor Seth has for his long-suffering patient. "Down the road we will probably bring back a character or two from the past like Joe Fonti or maybe some of the 22 brides," Palmiotti said. "The story dictates the cast participation."

Since her debut back in 1996, Painkiller Jane has turned up in some unexpected places. The Punisher, Hellboy and the Darkness are just some of the characters Jane's crossed-over with. Now she's crossing over into the land of live action television, and in fairly different form. Quesada & Palmiotti's vigilante Painkiller Jane is a former undercover police officer who received her powers after a mysterious accident. In the SciFi TV series, Jane is an on-the-run government agent who's exposed to a high-tech bio-weapon and operates in a sort of team of outlaws. In addition to her indestructibility, the TV Jane is also faster, stronger and smarter than her comics counterpart. One might think that the discrepancies between the two versions would cause confusion among fans, but Palmiotti doesn't think so. In fact, he's even writing an episode of the show!

"[The differences] would matter if [SciFi] got the heart of the character wrong, which they didn't at all since [Joe Quesada and I] are involved with the show. The only real difference between the two is that this Jane is part of a team who has a common enemy that they're trying to overcome.

"Once I met Kristanna Loken and spent some time with her, I knew we found the perfect Painkiller Jane. She really is fantastic in the role. The show is more like the comic than most people are going to expect."

"Painkiller Jane" #0 will be available with covers by Lee Moder and Ron Adrian, as well as retailer incentives including a 1/100 RRP edition and a 1/1000 "sneak peak" edition featuring a top secret look at cover art from issue #1. Dynamite is planning to release PKJ #0 in time for Free Comic Book Day, so Direct Market retailers can take advantage of that promotion and the special price to introduce new readers to Painkiller Jane.

Palmiotti hinted at the focuses of upcoming "Painkiller Jane" stories, including the subject of Jane's sexuality and her relationship with the people around her. Where previous series have seen Jane largely as a killing machine bent on destruction, the new Dynamite series seeks to get into her head and try to understand her motivations, frustrations, and, as Palmiotti noted, Jane's needs as a woman. "It's probably my favorite part of the character that I write besides the action scenes, and I think the fans are going to see some material they never anticipated."

Now discuss this story in CBR's Independent Comics Forum.

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