P.I. Jane is a story about a young woman who is a “temp-by-day, detective-by-night and well, sometimes by day too.”
Co-created by Greg Sorkin and Lauren Burke, the comic takes you on a pop culture adventure filled with delightful references from such movies as 500 Days of Summer to pop culture websites as Pop Candy and Gawker.
The story opens with an amusing reference to the scene in 500 Days of Summer where Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) aligns his expectations with reality only to find they donʻt coincide at all. In this case, Jane goes on a date with someone who seems to be an attractive, successful, and intelligent man who hangs on her every word; in reality, this man is an overweight, nerdy individual who has terrible manners yet anticipates a goodnight kiss at the end.
With commentary to assist in filling in those confusing gaps — especially helpful for younger readers — the comic is an easy read filled with humorous nods to Splenda versus Equal, Mission Impossible, and Doctor Who, just to name a few.
The print edition of P.I. Jane almost didnʻt come to fruition until the team came together to discuss their long-term goals for the project.
“P.I. Jane came from an idea of Lauren’s that was originally pitched as a TV pilot then it was re-imagined as a comic book. We developed the project and wrote the first four issues,” describes Sorkin. “We adapted that into a TV pilot that we submitted to the BBC.”
Though the crew is still awaiting word on when their comic will be adapted to television, they anticipate working on such a project in the future.
When discussing the formation of the team behind P.I. Jane, Sorkin responds, “We needed an artist and through a mutual friend, we met Tony [Antonio Maldonado]. We kicked around the idea of a webcomic to build an audience for the comic books and kinda ran with it. We then rewrote the BBC pilot as an Americanized version.”
An interesting aspect of the comic is seeing not only the commentary but also the pencil and ink drafts that are included at the bottom of many of the panels. Seeing the works in progress gives an intriguing birdʻs eye view into Maldonadoʻs world as the artist. The commentary is not only amusing but also offers a look at the thought processes that Sorkin and Burke went through in order to arrive at the final product.
Overall I find the comic to be impressive; it achieves its goal of combining pop culture with a grand dose of humor, which is not difficult to do, though it is tough to do well. Sorkin and Burke have found a way to not overdo it while Maldonadoʻs appealing artwork brings everything full circle.
So whatʻs in the future for Sorkin and his crew? ”This is Lauren and I’s first graphic novel series, but we have another one we’re writing this year, completely unrelated to [P.I. Jane],” he says. “Tony was working on two webcomics when we met him and has worked with a bunch of companies over the years.”
With P.I. Jane now under their belts, itʻs safe to say they can leave the temp jobs up to our protagonist instead.