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Paul Jenkins Talks The Darkness/Pitt

by  in Comic News Comment
Paul Jenkins Talks The Darkness/Pitt
The Darkness/Pitt
“The Darkness/Pitt” #1 on sale this week

Dale Keown’s Pitt has been off of comic book shelves for years, at least in his own starring capacity. This week, however, Pitt is finally stepping out of the darkness and into… well, the Darkness.

This week sees the release of “The Darkness/Pitt” #1 written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by Dale Keown, the creative duo that previously teamed up on the second volume of Top Cow’s “The Darkness.” For fans of both characters, particularly Pitt, the release of this project is no less elusive than the Holy Grail itself – after all, the three-issue series was originally announced almost five years ago. CBR News spoke with Jenkins about the late arrival of “The Darkness/Pitt,” what the plot entails, and how a certain youngster tied the whole story together.

When “The Darkness/Pitt” finally comes out after all these years, the wait should be worth it for fans of Jackie Estacado, Pitt and Dale Keown’s artwork. “Dale just knocked this stuff out of the park,” Jenkins told CBR. “He’s so good.”

In “The Darkness/Pitt,” the part-alien, part-human Pitt and his half-brother Timmy come to New York City to investigate the outbreak of an alien infection, not dissimilar to some other very real pandemics. “They’re a virus, just like the Swine Flu and Avian Flu,” Jenkins explained. “At the time I started writing it, the Avian Flu was really big news, had just been discovered and talked about where people thought, ‘Uh-oh, we might be in severe trouble. We might have some real problems.'”

But the viral outbreak is only one piece of the puzzle – it’s when the gargantuan Pitt and the menacing Estacado finally collide with young Tim at the epicenter of the encounter that the fun really begins. “Pitt and Tim kind of go searching for the source of this thing and they run smack into Jackie,” said the writer. “Pitt runs into his neighborhood. Jackie’s the head of the mob at this time, and all he wants is a nice afternoon at a restaurant when the infected attack. He has no idea where it came from. The police come and ask what he did, and he says he didn’t do anything. So they’ve created kind of a big problem for [Jackie], and in come Pitt and Tim to sort of solve the problem. Jackie knows they’re on his turf and asks what they’re doing on his turf. At that point, it’s kind of like this interchanging dynamic between [Jackie and Pitt] trying to get rid of the infected and trying to win Tim’s affections.”

In fact, the miniseries may as well be titled “The Darkness/Pitt/Tim.” From Jenkins’ perspective, the young child became the most interesting character in the story, if not the very crux of it. “It wasn’t Pitt that interested me, it was Pitt and Tim. Pitt’s an interesting character in connection to Tim, and Tim is interesting in connection to Pitt. And what really interested me was the dynamic between Jackie, Pitt and Tim,” Jenkins described. “That was why it was an interesting story. Tim’s a kid, right? He sees things in kid terms, but with adult responsibilities because of his crazy brain. So the way I wrote him, Tim is kind of a funny kid. He would say, ‘Oh! I’ve got a crazy brain! Look, I can make people’s heads explode!’ And Pitt was a bit more serious: ‘Come on, Tim, let’s get serious. Stay in school, kid.’ He’s a big brother figure. Then Jackie is the big fuck up brother. The first time Jackie meets Tim, Tim goes, ‘Oh, are you in the mafia?’ Jackie looks at him and thinks that’s awesome. He says, ‘I’m a legitimate business man!’ He cracks up. Tim asks for a cigarette, and Jackie gives him one. Then Pitt takes it out of his hands and says no.

Pages from “The Darkness/Pitt” #1

“So, there’s this dynamic between them that I thought was a nice way of telling the story: Pitt’s really responsible but needs to lighten up, Jackie’s not responsible enough and he needs to learn a bit from Pitt, and ultimately you throw Tim in the mix who looks at all of them and makes his own decisions anyway.”

Given his insight and affection for the brotherly dynamic between Tim and Pitt, it doesn’t seem unreasonable that Jenkins would want to continue exploring the characters in further titles. The writer said that while he’d be glad to tell more stories with the two of them, he’s as excited by them as he is by any other comic book character. “I think I was recently asked which character I really want to write, and I just didn’t know,” he admitted. “I can’t even tell you. All characters! I’m really writing interesting stories about me, or things that I understand, or things that I want to do. I’d like to write every character eventually, whether it’s Pitt, Tim or Spider-Man. Give me Pitt and Tim and give me their relationship, and I think I could write some interesting stories. They seem like really interesting characters. And I feel that way about so many characters in comics, and I’m very happy to challenge myself with Pitt, Tim and the Darkness.”

“It’s been a little bit of a ride,” Jenkins said of the five-year delay in bringing “The Darkness/Pitt” to print. “It’s been, like, forever! The [first script] was created on July 14, 2004. Three issues of a comic book in five years.”

However, the writer wouldn’t comment on the exact reasons why “The Darkness/Pitt” has been delayed – “There’s not really any point in speculating on my part,” he argued – but what Jenkins would discuss was the origin of the comic, which unsurprisingly spawned out of his collaboration with Keown on “The Darkness.”

Pages from “The Darkness/Pitt” #1

“At the time, I was winding down on writing ‘The Darkness’ regularly and still doing ‘Darkness’ with Dale,” Jenkins recalled. “Dale and I had a pretty successful run on the character; it certainly helped to redefine it and bring it back to where I felt it needed to be. [The premise] was really simple: here’s a guy who is a mobster, and he’s an orphan, so he replaces the family that he’s lost with the dysfunctional family that he has. I thought that was kind of cool and we got to tell kind of cool mob stories. But one of the things that was tough for Dale was that he was really nervous about doing Pitt. A lot of the other Image creators seemed to have kind of done some characters that they created and brought back. Erik Larsen’s drawn ‘Savage Dragon’ forever, right? Jim Lee’s done a lot of work, Todd McFarlane – they’ve all done a lot of stuff, and I think the person with the smallest output of those guys was maybe Dale.

“I think Dale just thought, ‘I want to bring Pitt back, but I’m not really sure [how to] write it. I’d like to toss the keys to the castle in your direction if you were up for doing it,'” Jenkins continued. “And I said, ‘Yeah man! I’m not nervous about any of that kind of shit. I think I like Pitt and I certainly love the kid – I think Tim is a really funny character – and I’ve got an idea for something that I think would work out.’ So I ran it by him, he liked it, and he said let’s get going. In a sense, it was, ‘Don’t worry man! This will be fun.'”

For now, Jenkins is satisfied enough that “The Darkness/Pitt” is finally hitting shelves this week. “I’m excited to see it,” he said. “I’m happy to see it. I think it’s taken too long. It’s been a little bit ludicrous since it’s been five years. But when it comes out, I think it’ll be a fun story just like any other fun story. It’s a time-lost character and it’s a fun comic story. I’m as excited about that as I am about anything else that I do. They’re all fun comic book stories.”

“The Darkness/Pitt” #1 of 3 comes out this Wednesday courtesy of Paul Jenkins, Dale Keown and Top Cow Productions.

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