From The Brooklyn Paper to a date with Angelina Jolie — that’s the JG Jones story.
A former layout man and editorial cartoonist for “Brooklyn’s real newspaper,” Jones is the steady hand behind the hot new movie, “Wanted,” the Jolie-starring action flick that’s based on a comic book Jones created with writer Mark Millar.
And he owes at least some of his success to his two years as a paste-up man, cartoonist and jack-of-all-trades at The Brooklyn Paper.
“There’s no question that creating on deadline is the best experience,” Jones told The Brooklyn Paper via phone from his West Orange, N.J. home. “It’s the same thing in comic books. Just like at The Paper, we have some very long nights.”
Back in his glory days at The Paper’s old headquarters at 26 Court St., Jones worked part-time while he pursued his larger dream: to be a painter.
Ah, but that dream, like so many other dreams that newspaper people cling to like battered childhood dolls, never quite worked out.
But the reality turned out to be better, he said.
After his Brooklyn Paper days, Jones ran into Jonathan Larsen, another former Brooklyn Paper staffer, who introduced him into the modern comic book, now called “graphic novels.”
“I was always into comic books as a kid,” Jones said, “but these were so different — darker and with much better art.”
Larsen and Jones collaborated and took their finished product to a comic book convention at the Javits Center — and Jones got a job on the spot (don’t worry for Larsen; he’s Keith Olbermann’s producer on MSNBC — another Brooklyn Paper success story).
Comic book after comic book, deadline after deadline, Jones built a portfolio and a following. He’s best known for illustrating “Villains United” and for doing all 52 covers in the yearlong “52 Series,” both for DC Comics. He’s also done plenty of work for Marvel Comics.
Given the grind of company work, Jones said he eagerly accepted Millar’s invitation to do a new book by themselves. The goal was to sell the book after the fact and keep the profits. The book was “Wanted.” The rest is history — the movie enjoyed a $51.1-million opening weekend.
“I was amazed that it even got made [into a movie],” Jones said. “And there I was at the premiere [last month], walking the red carpet. It’s such silliness. I’m not into the whole celebrity culture thing.”
One person who isn’t surprised by Jones’s success was his boss way back when, Brooklyn Paper Publisher Ed Weintrob.
“The stuff he did for us was brilliant, particularly Ickus, which he developed on his own,” said Weintrob.
Jones said that he “loved working at The Paper — even with all the insanity. Nothing prepared me better for the 12-hour days of doing comic books than those 12-hour days at The Brooklyn Paper.”