PI Jane Cover On occasion inspiration can derive from some of the most unlikeliest of sources imaginable. An spoken word, here. A wave of the hand, there. A click of the finger, up above. Buffy the Vampire Slayer', down below. Honest to God, Buffy can be inspiring too. She was one of the inspirations that inspired my creative pals, Greg and Lauren, to create there smashing webcomic, 'P.I. Jane'. Here, check out this interview we had only the other day, whilst being inspired by monkey-related porn.

P.I. Jane On Amazon

PI Jane Art 1) In your own words how would you describe your web-comic, pi-jane.com?   GREG: Hollywood always likes it when you compare it to something the exec has heard of. That said, I'd say P.I. Jane is like Veronica Mars by way of The Middleman. But really, it's just a snarky 20-something lady p.i. series with copious amounts of pop culture.

LAUREN: Greg covered it pretty well here, I usually tell people that it's a grown-up Nancy Drew with a heavy dose of pop culture.

2) What are your own origins? And when did you know that you wanted to be ‘a creator’?   GREF: 'm born / raised in Chicago. I was floundering at DePaul University in a computer graphics / animation major that required WAY too much math (and I don't do math well). I took a year off, wherein I didn't do much besides watching TV. But I got REALLY into it. I saw an episode of Buffy at like 3:30am ("The Zeppo," I believe) and was hooked. I wanted to be Joss Whedon. I enrolled at Columbia College Chicago and got a degree in Television Writing and Producing. Strange to think that a show called 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' would change my life, but here we are.

The comic thing kinda just happened. Lauren and I began writing together (we met in the dorm at Depaul; we were neighbors) and it was just sorta suggested. And now I love comics and love creating them. The process is simultaneously dishwater-dull and thrilling.

LAUREN: My origin story is a lot like Greg's. Born and raised in Chicago, floundered at DePaul, inspired by Joss Whedon. I wish it was more interesting, I wish I had been bitten by a radioactive screenwriting spider, but the simple truth is that I just always knew I wanted to be a storyteller. As a kid, I was terrible at sports, and made a lot of friends at school by telling them stories on the playground. Some I made up, others were embellished versions of the Poltergeist, Watcher in the Woods and The Princess Bride. Thank goodness my parents had HBO.

Top Gear
3) What inspired you, Greg, and Tony, to create pi-Jane? Plus how does this collaboration work in practice?   GREG: Lauren had the idea that was the nucleus of Jane, which we developed as a TV pilot. We wrote it and ended up submitting it to the BBC, who at the time accepted open submissions world-wide (now, just UK folk). We got good feedback and reworked it to be more American-friendly, as we tailored it to a British audience (there was a Top Gear teaser!) and submitted it to Scriptapalooza, where it was a semi-finalist.

During all that, we thought, "let's do this as a comic book." We met with several artists and eventually via a mutual friend, got connected with Tony, who we hit it off with right away. He suggested a webcomic while we figured things out and got our comic sea legs. Then it just kinda took off for us, creatively.

LAUREN: I was definitely inspired by those International Correspondence Course Infomercials (remember those?) with Sally Struthers. I wanted to send away for a course and become a private investigator when I was young. I thought it would be glamorous, I thought I would instantly become one of Charlie's Angel's or Agent 99. But, as I grew up, I came to realize that the reality would be much, much different. Jane is pretty much me...if I had followed through with this ridiculous plan. 

Greg and I meet once a week to talk about writing projects. I'll usually come up with the outline and the hammer out the first draft. He'll write the second draft and pass it back. If it's a comic project, usually I'll contact the artist that works best with the style and coordinate deadlines with them, do one more pass and then send it back to Greg as the final draft for lettering.

Aubrey Plaza
4) Who would you cast in a pi-jane movie and why?   GREG: We initially had Aubrey Plaza in mind when developing Jane. We probably just saw Scott Pilgrim or one of her other shows/movies. But I'd be pretty happy with Natalie Morales or Anna Kendrick in the Jane role.

LAUREN: Yeah, I think Jane would be a good role for a more alternative actress. This is definitely not a part for your typical leading lady. You need someone young, someone who can handle stunts, and someone who can bring the funny and the angst. I agree with Aubrey Plaza, Natalie Morales and Anna Kendrick. I'd throw in Alison Pill into the mix as well.

5) What was the first comic book you have ever read? And do you still read mainstream comics.   GREG: Ever? Probably some crappy Bat- or Superman book. When I was younger, I read Spawn (by which I mean I looked at the colorful pictures). Now, I read TONS of comics, more just stories told graphically than superhero books, but I'm gradually working some of those in, too. I read a lot of Dark Horse and IDW and Image books, it seems. Vertigo, too.

LAUREN: Oh man, I wish I could remember. But, I've been obsessed with Supergirl since I was 4 years old, so I'm willing to bet it was one of her books. I collect Supergirl comics, old and new. I'm particularly fond of the Bronze Age books, when Supergirl lived in Chicago and sported that awful red headband. My current pull list is pretty long, I read a good portion of the new 52 including Batgirl, Batwoman, Justice League Dark, and Supergirl. I'm really into Bryan Q. Miller's Smallville, and I love Danger Club, Unwritten, Saga, America's Got Powers, Young Avengers, Angel & Faith, Atomic Robo, Mind The Gap, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Who. Damn...I'm probably forgetting a few books.

I See Monsters
6) If your lead character was a singleton looking for a date, who would this date be, and why would they want to date this person?   GREG: It may sound weird, but I'd love to date a girl like Jane. I like the media-savvy, snarky (sometimes vulgar) women. I suppose it's a gimme that we have the same/similar interests (and more importantly, disinterests), since I do co-write it...

LAUREN: Well, Jane has a potential love interest in her future. So, stay tuned to the comic to find the answer to this question!

7) During your time as creators, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   GREG: Indie comics is a tough beast. It's not cheap. I hate(d) working for free for various jobs, so I don't think we should ask artists / colorists / printers to work for free. Worse when I was unemployed, but at least now I have a day job to fund my many (comic-related) schemes. Ironically, it's also the BEST time to be an indie creator, with technology and the Internet what it's become. Of course, it's that much harder to stand out, so you need a strong product with strong characters.

LAUREN: I think working as a writing team has certainly helped. We keep each other writing. Push one another to make deadlines. Encourage each other. Listen to each other bitch. It keeps us going.

8) Do you have any other projects on the horizon?   LAUREN: So many! We have an all-ages book called 'I See Monsters' coming out this fall. And we have 3 books in the art phase, getting ready to be released next year. First up will be 'P.I. Jane: The Science of Sleepwalking', which is a collected version of the webcomic. 'I'm Not OmniGirl', which is a longer version of my Womanthology story with illustrator Megan Brennan. And an illustrated 'Pride and Prejudice: Choose Your Own Adventure' book with Hannah Chapman on art. We're also working on a children's book and a pilot, so we're keeping busy.

Wow! Thanks for that, Lauren, Greg, much appreciated, pals. Now I hope that you can find the time dear reader to check out their great webcomic, pi-jane.com.

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