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WAITING FOR TOMMY: JIMMY PALMIOTTI
By Richard Johnston

Back for second helpings? Last time Waiting For Tommy spoke to Jimmy Palmiotti, he was knee deep in 21 Down and The Resistance. He's been giving interviews about his next Justin Gray collaboration for DC, The Monolith. But there were a few golem-shaped niggles I wanted ironed out.

RICHARD JOHNSTON: Monolith. A golem brought to life on the streets of New York with an innate sense of justice. Is this a way to do superhero comics with a whole set of new told, devices and trappings as opposed to the classic secret identity/costumes/failings of humanity?

JIMMY PALMIOTTI: I personally think both can work, given the right treatment. With the monolith, Justin and I wanted to explore the gray line between good and evil and what repercussions a character's actions would have in different environments. Growing up reading comics, especially American comics, we are drilled the same themes over and over to the point of exhaustion. The old super powered good guy fighting super powered bad guy thing has been dissected a million times, over and over with mixed results. Brilliant books like Watchmen and Dark Knight continue to show us that although these themes are universal, you have to go somewhere else to really try something fresh. With the Monolith, Justin and I dive into NY history and classic themes and try to flush out something we think is innovative for the reader, but at the same time continue to give them what they always seem to be yearning for a basic superhero.

 

21 DOWN #1 - SIGNED VERSION

RICHARD: So what's basic about him? What is the core of the superhero for you, in Monolith? And how does that differ from the traditional portrayal?

JIMMY: His approach to a situation and his decision-making are at their most basic as far as execution goes. He sees and feels things differently from the humans around him and at times has difficulty in understanding the ramifications of his actions. In this, he differs from the traditional thought process of a moralizing hero who was raised within a normal societal structure. Common human emotions like remorse and empathy are alien to him and the questions are will he or does he need to understand? An interesting aspect is that the moral base he's learning from comes from two characters - Alice and Tilt -- that have a less than moral background.

RICHARD: The book Kavalier And Clay painted the golem as a modern-day alternative to a superhero in New York. DC's Ragman had similar traits. What is it that joins the superhero and the golem so tightly?

JIMMY: The Golem as an idea in fiction, deals with creating something comparable to human but superhuman as well. Chabon drew reference from Jewish folklore to insinuate that Siegel and Shuster used that, combined with the view immigrants had of America prior to and during WWII. A golem, like superheroes, existed as a defender of the people. Superheroes are a natural evolution of that idea. It's the sense of right from wrong that ties both characters ideals together.

RICHARD: A post-modern treatment of the golem in fiction can mirror the act of creating the story in the creation of the golem. If fiction is anything, it's life brought forth from nothing. Does The Monolith get meta-textual on our ass? Or is that one step too far and should be left to the likes of Mr Morrison?

JIMMY: First of all if you look at the work we have done this past year, particularly The Resistance, which some critics mistakenly referred to as Morrison Lite, you'll see that there is nearly always a subtext operating under the surface. However we prefer to deal with individual human interaction and the influence of society rather than making deliberate attempts at constructing reality from fiction. Our agenda is different when working on a book like this and frankly it seems that few people actually understand where Grant's influences originate. Regardless of that, we're looking to produce an interesting and entertaining read without trying to alter the reader's perceptions in an overt manner.

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 Continued Here...

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