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Writer Joe Casey has built a career in the superhero business, co-creating heroes such as Marvel’s America Chavez and playing in the sandboxes of classic properties Superman and X-Men. After more than 25 years, Casey found himself having questions about his relationship with the genre.
“Did it still speak to me? Did it still hold the same kind of relevance as it did when I was just a fan? Was it just childhood nostalgia that I was having trouble letting go of?” Casey tells The Hollywood Reporter. “How many other readers of my generation were feeling this ambivalence to something that meant so much to us since we were kids?”
Those were the questions swirling when he sat down to write Junior Baker, a five-issue series due out from Image Comics in August. The series centers on Daniel “Dizzy” Baker, a gonzo online journalist who chases superhuman stories in a world that is trying to leave superheroes behind. When he stumbles on the ultimate story, he embarks on a personal vision quest in which past and future violently collide.
The book is a spiritual sequel to Casey’s Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker, a rather raunchy Image series about a retired superhero in the midst of a life full of sex and drugs when he is approached for a mission to kill imprisoned super-villains.
“For anyone who subjected themselves to the Butcher the Righteous Maker series, it’s pretty clear that Butcher wasn’t much of a family man. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have family. If not emotionally, then at least biologically,” says Casey of the connection. “Not to mention, there is a big component of this series that deals with fathers and sons and the modern mysteries behind those particular relationships.”
For the book, Casey teamed up with newcomer Ryan Quackenbush, whose art Casey discovered online.
“Given the level of complexity in his art, I knew I’d have to dig deep to come up with something that would really showcase his obvious talents,” says Casey, Casey a founding partner of Man of Action Entertainment, which is behind BEN 10, Big Hero 6 and Netflix series Sonic Prime.
Casey began writing in the early days of the pandemic, and says the book likely involved the most pre-production he’s ever done on a creator-owned series. After writing scripts, he worked closely with Quackenbush to “to make sure the storytelling was spot-on.”
Adds Casey of the book: “In the end, I think it’s some of my most personal writing and the art is worth the price of admission alone.”
Read on for a preview of the book, which features a 30-page issue No. 1.
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