As Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti took the stage at Saturday's spotlight panel, the atmosphere at WonderCon was light-hearted. The husband-wife, artist-writer team talked about their final plans for "Power Girl," what's ahead, whether dual-income households are hurting comics, and which of them is slacking on the household chores.
First on the agenda were Conner and Palmiotti's final issues of DC Comics' "Power Girl." The pair, along with co-writer Justin Gray, recently announced they will leave the series after the 12th issue. Palmiotti promises that the "Power Girl" #12 will provide a satisfying payoff for fans of their run. "The 12th issue, it's kind of a fun issue because we revisit everything in the past 12 issues in one issue. The 12th issue is like the most chaos-ridden issue of all," he said. "Literally everything from every issue is in the 12th issue in one way or another, and I think all you guys will really get a kick out of what we're doing. Even Vartox is back."
Conner jokingly outlined her post-"Power Girl" plans as "napping," although she's currently working on covers for Marvel's "Black Cat." Conner and Palmiotti are also collaborating on a one-shot that may be published through Image in the vein of Garth Ennis' "The Pro." In addition to writing for "Jonah Hex," Palmiotti and Gray have announced "Random Acts of Violence" and "Time Bomb." The former follows a pair of comic book creators who have developed the ultimate horror character, only to have it wreak utter violence in their real lives. The latter centers on a team of time travelers sent back to the end of World War II to prevent the discovery of a underground city that will trigger a global apocalypse.
Much of the panel focused on Conner and Palmiotti's working relationship and how their home lives impact their creative projects. When a fan asked whether any aspects of their personal lives seep into their comics, Conner said, "Power Girl's cat is Frankie Palmiotti, may she rest her little kitty soul." Similarly, Power Girl's experiences hunting for an apartment and trying to get a job were based on real-life experiences. In one issue, Kara and Terra go shopping at an IKEA-like store because Conner adores IKEA while Palmiotti finds shopping there maddening. People from their lives have even been featured as characters: the owner of the comic book store is modeled on Conner's ex-husband, who owns a comic book store in real life.
The couple also discussed their lopsided workloads, with Palmiotti writing and Conner on the considerably more time-consuming art duties. Palmiotti suggested the industry's current emphasis on monthly comic books is taxing on artists and has resulted in lower quality art. "It's great to be John Romita, Jr., who can do two books a month and it looks amazing," said Palmiotti. "I mean, he's like a superhero to us."
"I guarantee you his wife takes care of every other aspect of his life," said Conner.
"Oh yeah," said Palmiotti. "She probably breathes for him."
Conner noted that having someone else taking care of the household can do wonders for an artist's productivity. "My mom and dad came to visit about a month ago, and the first week they came in, they cooked for me, they kind of cleaned up after me, and I got six pages done in four days and I was like, 'That's how it's done.'"
She continued, "It's funny because you see guys from the fifties and the sixties and it was a very traditional sort of household. The mom took care of cooking, cleaning, bills, all this. And the guys just went to work and did comic book pages and I think that was very common. But now everybody needs two-income households, and frankly most women don't want to clean up after the guys."
One member of the audience wondered whether Palmiotti, since his writing requires less time per page than Conner's art, could help out more around the house. Palmiotti assured the audience that he does a lot. "She just doesn't let me do dishes," he said. "She says it sounds like a war is going on."
Conner and Palmiotti may be putting "Power Girl" to bed, but could they team up on an issue of "Jonah Hex?" When asked the question, Palmiotti said, "You know, Amanda probably wouldn't want to draw all those horses."
"I can draw horses!" said Conner.
"You can draw horses? Would you want to do a 'Jonah Hex' issue?"
"Alright," he said. "There you go."