THE BOUNCE: Joe Casey's '20-Something Slacker Superhero'


Comics have no shortage when it comes to stories about teenagers and young adults dealing with the life of a superhero. But when's the last time you read a character like that who really felt like a hero in their 20s?

In the upcoming Image ongoing series The Bounce launching this May, Joe Casey and artist David Messina are tackling the life and times of one-such twenty-something superhero living in New York City. From his life in costume to his life out, The Bounce promises an unadulterated and honest look at what it might be like being a single man and a superhero.

Where previous heroes like Spider-Man and Invincible might have loosely covered how being a superhero can impact the already tumultuous life of a regular person in their 20s, The Bounce promises to delve into that head-on, from sex to drugs and maybe even some crime fighting. But just who, or what is The Bounce?

"Jasper Jenkins is the Bounce," Casey tells Newsarama. "But, like any good title, it has a bit of subtext to it that will become clearer as the series rolls on."

The Bounce is the second new series Casey has launched this year after Sex, and this series inadvertently works as a flipside to that. While Sex is about a superhero retiring to live a more normal life, The Bounce is about exploiting the role of being a superhero for your own personal life.

"That's not a bad way to describe it, actually. Because the series is just as much about Jasper's internal life as it is his external life," the writer explains. "In a way, the Bounce is Jasper's reaction to the world he sees around him. It's all gone to hell and this is his way of dealing with it."

Casey has described his titular hero in other interviews as a "slacker superhero" for the 21st century, and Casey is open to explain how he lives up to that description.

"Imagine a typical twenty-something hanging out in New York City with his friends," says the writer. "It's pretty much what you would expect, in terms of lifestyle. We kinda lay it all out on the very first page of issue #1."

When asked what a typical day is like for Jasper Jenkins in both the superhero and civilian realm, Casey isn't afraid to share what Bounce is up to.

"Wake up around noon, have a wank, eat some dry cereal, take a few hits off the nearest bong, watch cartoons, maybe hit the corner coffee shop to hang with his friends... and maybe if he hears about some shit going down, he throws on his costume and go check it out. Maybe hit a few clubs afterwards. "


In most superhero stories that cover their private lives, the issue of how the hero balances it is a key part of the concept. But for The Bounce, "balance" isn't something you should expect from a twenty-something superhero.

"I don't think "balance" is much of a consideration for Jasper right now," Casey points out. "He's at that age where he's just blasting through life, living day to day, and occasionally stopping to try and make sense of it all."

The obstacles that Jenkins has to face between being a hero and being a single man in New York is at the crux of The Bounce.

"The main thing Jasper discovers fairly quickly is that the kind of superhero he is doesn't quite fit into the world he lives in. Which is, for all intents and purposes, our world," Casey explains. "And superheroes in general simply wouldn't fit in our world. They're way too absurd. But, as a writer, I kinda like confronting that absurdity head-on and seeing what happens."

Ardent superhero fans know about the pitfalls of superheroes dating – Gwen Stacy comes to mind – but there’s bound to be benefits as well. Casey's well known as a fervent fan of superhero comics going back to his childhood, but when it comes to embracing that power fantasy of being a superhero himself, he's no Kick-Ass.

"No way," Casey says, bluntly. "My thoughts -- even at a young age -- were always geared towards making comic books, not living inside of one."

Although he won't be donning a superhero outfit of his own anytime soon, Casey does say that The Bounce is the type of comic he would've loved to read in his younger days.

"Tough question. But I think probably, yeah," Casey says. "Although, I was quite a bastard in my 20's, so I might've bought it and read it and simply told people that I hated it, just to be contrary (as you do in your 20's)."


In the early press for The Bounce, Casey said that The Bounce might illicit readers to think you be under the influence in the same way they did with your out-there ideas for Godland. When asked about fans' perception of Casey, and Casey's own perception of how fans see him, the writer opened up about himself.

"Okay, I'll admit, that was a bit of on-the-spot hyperbole. Sounds good when you're working a convention panel room. I think there are some readers out there who have a perception of me and my work... one that I've probably leaned into on certain occasions," admits the writer. "There's definitely a bit of psychedelia involved in the series, but it's more of the down-n-dirty variety, as opposed to the more Jack Kirby-esque variety that I've done a lot in the past."

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