Injustice: Gods Among Us is now available with new DLC arriving on May 7. We recently discussed with writer Jimmy Palmiotti the game’s dark storyline and the rising popularity of superheroes in media.
AMANDA DYAR: You have worked on several amazing projects which include Jonah Hex, Daredevil, Deadpool, and Ghost Rider to name a few. How did you get started in comics, and what are you most proud of today?
JIMMY PALMIOTTI: I went to the High School of Art & Design in NYC and then after eight years in advertising decided I wanted to change my path and went back to my first love–comic books. I started doing backgrounds for a buddy, Mark Texeria, while drawing and inking some black and white indie books. Eventually I got some decent jobs at Marvel Comics and a few years later met and teamed up to self-publish with Joe Quesada and created EVeNT COMICS. We published a few titles, including Ash, Painkiller Jane, Kid Death, and so on. After that we were hired to create and run Marvel Knights for Marvel Comics. That went on a few years, and all the while I was slowly switching over to writing. I have been doing that, publishing, and editing ever since.
I guess what I am most proud of are the creator-owned titles I have created and co- created along the way. That and my long run on Jonah Hex with my writing partner and friend Justin Gray. The creator-owned titles have given me a second career in screenwriting, video games, TV, and film that I never would have had if I only worked for DC and Marvel Comics.
AMANDA: What are some of your influences or inspirations? And what does your creative process entail when bringing the idea to the page?
JIMMY: The world around me is my inspiration, the amazing work of others, and a constant flow of entertainment that I indulge in. My parents did a great job supporting me, and my girl, Amanda Conner, has me believing I can do just about anything I set my mind to. My creative process is a simple one…find an idea I like and develop it, talk it out, twist and turn it, and when ready, get down to business to make it happen. Comics are easy in this respect because all you need is a couple of talented people to run with a project.
AMANDA: The Batwing #19 comic released last month with big changes. Tell us about what we can expect from Batwing and his new high-tech look.
JIMMY: There is a new BATWING in town named Luke Fox, and he is the son of Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne’s business manager and creator of all those cool bat toys. Justin and I are having a blast creating not only a new suit and character, but throwing him into the bat books in what we think is a unique position. This is a character that is directly tied to Bruce Wayne’s life, and we are going to take advantage of it in every way. The first year plans are to develop the core character so a reader can relate and care about him. Issue 20 we dig right in and run from there. We plan on taking the character over the top and integrating the character into all the other bat books. As far as the high-tech look, his father developed the suit, and we are going to have Luke refining it as the story develops. He has a lot in common with his father that way.
AMANDA: The Injustice: Gods Among Us video game also released in April and received tons of praise from critics and gamers alike. Tell us how you got involved with developing the original storyline for the game and what challenges you faced.
JIMMY: Justin and I got the call from Ames Kirshen at Warner Brothers to see if we were interested in consulting on the project. We have worked with NetherRealm before on the Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe game a few years before, and it was a great experience. We heard the idea of the game and were all in. Ed Boon and his crew already had a story outline pretty well worked out so we just had to go in and make sure it would all work with the characters they picked and make sure the story would work on a number of levels. We had a few meetings, offered some changes and other suggestions, and went from there. Overall the experience was a great one because everyone had so much passion going into this project.
AMANDA: Some of DC’s characters were originally played around with in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. What successes were taken from this and applied to Injustice?
That’s more of a question for the crew at NetherRealm. What I do know is that Ed [Boon, Creative Director] wanted his crew to push the characters harder and focus the moves more on each character’s unique superpowers–which you see right away when you play the game. When working on a couple of projects like this, you are always tying to outdo your last project, and they did an amazing job doing just that.
AMANDA: Injustice has a very interesting storyline with Superman going crazy, taking over the world, and becoming one of the bad guys. What were some of the main reasons for taking the story in this new, darker direction?
JIMMY: The direction was also an interesting way to set up the idea that you can become a hero and battle another hero as well as a bad guy. The game is story-driven all the way, and to do something light and silly would not have been very “on character” with the characters picked for the gameplay. I think it’s a bit dark, and, even more than that, a lot of fun and madness.
AMANDA: Movies/games based on comics and superheroes are becoming more and more popular in today’s culture. Why do you think this is?
JIMMY: It is because all those 30- to 40-year-olds running companies now grew up with reading comics and are in a position to make these characters that were part of their younger lives become mainstream properties. People have always loved superheroes, but now it has become a whole new genre of film and TV, and I couldn’t be happier. I think the people creating the material finally took it more serious and started writing them for adults to gain a bigger audience. Bottom line is there is an audience willing to pay, and that is what drives most media.
AMANDA: What direction do you see fighting games taking in the future?
JIMMY: Becoming more and more creative with the mechanics of the fight and also having more of a story to drive the player deeper and deeper into the world created. The only limit is the imagination at this point. World building is the key.
AMANDA: Do you have any other projects that you are currently working on that you would like to mention?
JIMMY: There is always All-Star Western and Batwing at DC Comics, What if Avengers vs. X-Men at Marvel, and our new Kickstarter happening next week called Weapon of God, which is about the Pope’s assassin. Outside of comics, New West is in development at New Regency films, and you will be hearing news about Painkiller Jane any day now.
Injustice: Gods Among Us is now available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. To learn more, visit the official Injustice: Gods Among Us website, and make sure to “follow” Jimmy Palmiotti on Twitter and “like” Jimmy Palmiotti on Facebook.
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