[San Diego Comic-Con '12] Tim Bradstreet and Thomas Jane Talk ‘The Punisher’ and More

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Reports by JTMosh out of the San Diego Comic-Con: There’s a lot to do at Comic-Con. From panels, screenings, checking out the floor and gawking at cosplayers, it’s pretty much impossible to do even a fraction you want to. But every year, no matter what, I always make it a point to go check out the RAW Publishing booth.

It’s small, not flashy, and usually tucked away. But it’s there where RAW head honchos, Tom Jane (The Punisher, *61, Stander) and Tim Bradstreet, hang out for a good chunk of the week. Selling and signing books, interacting with fans, and generally just being cool dudes.

This year at Comic-Con I had the awesome chance to sit down and chat with Tom and Tim about their current and upcoming projects, as well as a super-secret panel that’s happening this Saturday. Check it out!

BD: You’ve got something secret going here at Comic-Con, some kind of big top secret project. I know you can’t exactly tell me what it is until Saturday, but can you give me some kind of hint at what we may be seeing at the panel?

Jane: Well, we’ve got a lot of crap going on at our panel, 7:30 on Saturday night in Room 26ab. We are unveiling a Bad Planet video game that we’re crowd-funding through Kickstarter with a company called Red Fly studios. We’re really excited about this third-person, gory shooter that we’re doing, based on our Bad Planet series.

Bradstreet is unveiling a new Punisher skull, designed by Tim. Friends of Frank are more than welcome to come down. In fact, the more the merrier, I want them to come because they’re going to have a fantastic time.

I’m also directing a western this fall starring Nick Nolte. I’m going to show some director’s testimony and show clips from old westerns, to give people the flavor and feel of the film.

We’ll also be showing a secret short film starring Ron Perlman and myself. It’ll be the world premiere of this film. And we are beyond excited by the way the film turned out. We can’t wait for Saturday night to give fans the opportunity to see this thing for the first time, unadulterated, without any previous knowledge of what it is. There’s very few chances you get in today’s world to show people something that they haven’t heard anything about, right? So that’s what this is about.

So no, I’m not going to tell you a goddamned thing. You idiot. You fucker.

BD: *Laughs* Hearing that, I love the original Bad Planet graphic novel. And I’m actually a big video game guy. So can we talk about what platform for this game, or is that still unannounced?

Bradstreet: That remains to be seen. It’s going to be downloadable, it’ll be on Steam. And we hope on others as well.

Jane:Yeah, it’ll be on Steam, Mac and PC. Downloadable, so I think it’s that kind of thing. I think it’s a computer game, right?

BD: Let’s talk about the actual Bad Planet graphic novel. It’s been awhile since the first one, which ended on a cliffhanger. What’s going on in the bad Planet universe?

Bradstreet: Well, you’ve got to pick up Volume 2, right?

Jane: Yeah, you’ve got to pick up Volume 2, buddy. We’ve been working for the past year and half on Bad Planet Volume 2, which will be the next 6 issues in the series. I recruited Bruce Jones, writer of Alien Worlds, The Hulk and Twisted Tales. Bruce is one of my favorite writers and I approached him about this and he signed on. Bruce and I came up with the story for Part 2, which has always been planned. Bad Planet was always supposed to end on a cliffhanger and I’ve always had the basic outline of what Volume 2 would be. But Bruce helped me flesh it out and come up with a great story. I hired an artist out of the U.K. named Gregory Staples. You can see that Greg is right up there with Jim Daley and Tim Bradstreet. Greg inked the book and penciled and did everything himself. And we are super excited about Bad Planet Volume 2. We have a Comic-Con exclusive black and white issue. These are going to be available in color on Comixology really soon. And, of course, we’re going to put them out as color trade paperbacks also. Right now, just for Comic-Con fans, you can read Issues 1 and 2 of Bad Planet Volume 2.

Bradstreet: And you can get Greg Staples to sign it and Thomas Jane.

Jane: Yeah. We’ll be here 2-3 Saturday and Sunday. You should definitely come by. We’re really fuckin’ excited about this year. We’ve been working the past couple of years on projects. And this year everything’s kind of come to fruition, or at least some of our stuff. We still have other stuff that’s growing in the background. But at least some of our stuff has come to fruition this year.

Bradstreet: Yeah, you can see some of that stuff on Saturday night, 7:30 at our panel.

Jane: You guys are a horror site, right?

BD: Yeah.

Jane: Well then you guys will really like Dark Country. You horror fans should really check out Thomas Ott. I’m sure a lot of you already have. He’s got a lot of great books on Fantagraphics. Thomas is famous for this dark, lurid style of art that’s a scratchboard technique. He actually starts with a black sheet and he scratches into the sheet to create this look. Tim Bradstreet designed this book. This is based on the short story that I adapted into the screenplay to do Dark Country the film. So the story itself is different from the movie. Cause this is based on the short story.

BD: So it’s not a straight adaptation of your film?

Jane:That’s right. It’s not a straight adaptation.

Bradstreet: It’s a different animal.

Jane: And the short story is included right after the graphic novel. So you get to read the short story. And then, Bradstreet put together in the back a whole production diary. We’ve got the art of Dark Country. We’ve got character designs, story boards, and film to screen stuff. I storyboarded every scene in the movie. Something I’ll probably never do again. But David Alcott did a fantastic job. And you can see from the film that I was very faithful to the storyboards, maybe a little too faithful, actually. But it made for some great art, man. Then, of course, there are the different posters that we came up with. Bernie Wrightson who did character design, all those are in here. And you see character design to film, Bradstreet’s production art. Timmy production designed the film, for those that don’t know. They really knocked it out of the park.

Bradstreet: It’s jam packed, dude. And it’s cheap!

Jane: It’s even got 3D photos in the back. Get a pair of red and green glasses and check out Ray Zone’s stuff. I wrote a little thing that goes in the back, and Ray Zone wrote a little essay about 3D.

Bradstreet: It’s about as packed as a book can be.

Jane: Oh! And in case you have your DVD, there’s a nice little sleeve in the book, perfectly sized to fit your DVD.

Bradstreet: This can be your entire Dark Country collection.

BD: Earlier, Tom was walking about a new Punisher skull that Tim had designed. Is that going to be used in the books, or is that something that you just did for fun?

Bradstreet: You know, it’s something I felt compelled to do. Even though I don’t do the covers anymore, I still feel tied to the character. I can’t get away from him.

BD: Well, you two are pretty much going to be tied to that character forever.

Bradstreet: Yeah, yeah. We just never say die, you know?

Jane: We want to show our love for the character, really, and also the fans that love the character. Not only am I in love for the character, I also have a soft spot for the guys who love the character. You know, there were Punisher fans way before I knew who The Punisher was. There’s a certain kind of Punisher fan that I really love.

BD: Speaking on that, I first became fans of both of you guys because of The Punisher, through your covers, Tim, and because of the film. With The Avengers and the Marvel movie universe blowing up so big right now, how long until we Tom Jane starring in a “Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe” adaptation?

Bradstreet: *laughs*

Jane: That would be fun. So what does he do, go off and kill all the superheroes?

BD: Oh yeah, one by one. He traps all the X-Men on the moon and launches a nuclear bomb at it.

Jane: And that’s a one shot?

BD: Yeah, a one shot.

Jane: I love that. I haven’t read it but I’ve heard of it.

BD: It’s ridiculous but it’s one of my favorite Punisher stories.

Jane: Well that would be awesome. I love that idea.

Bradstreet: It’s classic.

BD: He kills Doctor Doom by smashing him in the face with a sledgehammer repeatedly, which is awesome.

Bradstreet: *laughs* That’s brutal, right?

Jane:They must have had fun writing that.

BD: All right, one more thing before my time is up here. You guys are kind of the rebels of Comic-Con, very rarely do you see actual celebrities hanging out a booth interacting with fans. What kind of connection do you feel with Comic-Con, personally?

Jane: Yeah, that’s good. I’ll answer that first part and Tim can take the second. There’s a certain element of bullshit associated with Hollywood where we try to distance ourselves from people to make us hard to get. Because people want what they can’t have, it’s part of human nature. But I like it here. I like it in the real world. I don’t want to be the fool on the hill. I like keeping my feet on the ground, my bare feet on the ground. Being here, hanging out on the floor, creating books, it just says to me that we just want to have a good time and connect with people. I’m not really interested in creating a smoke screen that makes you into something that you want to be and all that horseshit. We’ve got great books to sell; we’re not going to sell them sitting at home.

Bradstreet: Yeah, we have to get out there and we have to promote our books, because, as an independent publisher, no one else is going to do that for us, obviously. So it’s in our best interest, if we want to raise the visibility of that stuff, to get out there. You know, Comic-Con is the Mecca. I’ve been coming here for 22 years, in a row.

Jane: Timmy’s a guest this year! A guest of the Con!

Bradstreet: Yeah! I feel like I finally made it.

Jane: He’s the king of the Con this year! They put him up in the Hard Rock, gave him a suite.

Bradstreet:Not under my own name.

Jane: Yeah, he’s not under his own name. So don’t even think about it.

Bradstreet: I’m under “Mark Hamill.”

Jane: He’s really not. He’s under something else but we’re not going to tell you.

BD: I’m super excited to see what you guys are going to be showing. One of my favorite Comic-Con things is the Tom Jane insanity that happens on late nights.

Bradstreet:That never happens.

BD: Several years ago I was at the “Give ‘em Hell Malone” screening and that was one of my favorite Comic-Con memories. So I have to say you guys are awesome for doing this every year, thanks for talking to me and I hope the Con goes well for you guys.

Bradstreet: Awesome, man. Thanks a lot.

Jane:You too, man. Have a blast.