Interview: Palmiotti, Gray & Niles Discuss CREATOR OWNED HEROES

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I’m going to drop 5 names now that will get you drooling: Palmiotti. Gray. Niles. Noto. Mellon. What do these five heavyweights have in common? Creator Owned Heroes, the new anthology style book coming from Image Comics in June. The book will start with two primary stories, Triggergirl 6 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Phil Noto and American Muscle by Steve Niles and Kevin Mellon. Jimmy, Justin and Steve took time out of their busy schedules to discuss their individual stories and what readers can expect from Creator Owned Heroes.

Aaron Long: Let’s start at the beginning, can you discuss how Creator Owned Heroes came to be?

Jimmy Palmiotti: The book and idea for the book came from having conversations between us about how new ideas re sold, what each of us thinks of the market and then a long look at the audience each of us brings to a project. We wanted to do something a bit more aggressive than a mini series and played around with the idea of a monthly book that featured a different format. We all took a bigger look at what characters and projects we wanted to showcase and then talked to image about what they think of the idea. It all came together and what you see is the collaboration of a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

Steve Niles: COH came out of a long-running conversation with Jimmy and Justin about creator-owned books and new ways we can get material out there. Jimmy and Justin are extremely prolitfic and I try to keep up, but there are fewer and few options for us out there. We thought combining our efforts in a double-feature book would be a great start.

Justin Gray: For me I was sitting in on the concept and excited by the potential for creating something new and interesting.

AL: Straight from the architect’s mouths…Can you describe the two stories that will be appearing in the book: American Muscle and Triggergirl 6?

JP: Triggergirl 6 is an idea that Justin and I were bouncing around for quite a while that we were custom making for Phil Noto to illustrate. It’s a mixture of all the things that Phil is amazing at wrapped around a science fiction premise that is sexy and aggressive in its ideas. We created a world of the future where everything seems worked out pretty well, but as the story unfolds, nothing is what it seems. Triggergirl is an assassin created in a lab that is sent on a mission …one so dangerous that 5 other Trigger girls have failed before her. This 4-part story is an interesting take on a lot of the books and films we absorbed in the 70’s growing up. I don’t want to give too much away, because it’s more about the journey and less about the reveal.

JG: The opportunity to work with new ideas is something that interests us and we have a catalogue of them that we felt strongly about. Obviously TriggerGirl 6 is one of them that we felt most passionate about.

SN: American Muscle is an idea I’ve had for a while. Actually, finally enough, the first artist I worked with was Phil, so it’s funny how things work out. America Muscle is the story of a small group of rebels who have escaped from what’s left of the american city after the world has ended. They have lived their entire lives within walls and have never seen the outside world. American Muscle chronicles their adventures.

AL: Can you discuss what went into the decision to put both of these stories in a single book and what additional content will be in Creator Owned Heroes?

JP: More bang for your buck and the idea that most comics are read too quickly for the price. We wanted to give the fans a juicy book on a monthly basis that not only delivered the comics they expect from us, but also had interviews and articles that related to us, and the world of creating your own character. We thought it was a fun idea.

JG: Consolidation of talent and the idea of community are things that help fuel comics to begin with. This felt like a great opportunity to offer a book that could carry more than one idea at a time.

SN: What Jimmy said, plus a way for us to tell more stories with a wider range of teams. Now every time we have a new story we don’t have to go find a pub and figure out how many issues. We put stories in COH and they might run 3 issues, or 9. It’s just a great way to get more fun stuff out.

AL: Will American Muscle and Triggergirl 6 be joined by other stories at some point down the road?

JP: Yes, the next stories are being worked on as we speak by different teams of artists. Since this is a monthly, it all has to be done in advance.

JG: We’re already deep into the second story.

SN: Yes. Art is already being produced for my second story. This one will run 2 issues.

AL: Any final words for Comicosity’s readers about Creator Owned Heroes?

JP: Please make sure you pre-order the book with your local retailers and discuss the book when it hits…all creator owned titles have their own grass roots nature about them and we depend on that to spread the word. Let us know what you think on twitter and facebook and expect some really cool stuff each month.

JG: Please be willing to try new things and help support people publishing independently

SN: Pre-order. Pre-order. Pre-order. I cant stress how important this is for creator-owned books. We need readers help so they can help retailers decide what to buy. We are committed to do a year of COH so anything fan and retailers can do to help this grassroots effort would be huge. I urge fans and retailers to become involved too. Send us letters, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a new world out there so we have to try everything.

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