The criminals are on the streets, and it’s up to one lone policeman to take them down… with an eternal beatdown.
That’s the story today in San Francisco’s Moscone Center South in day two of WonderCon. Writer Joe Casey has announced a new-one shot coming out from Image entitled Officer Downe. Illustrated by his Nixon’s Pals collaborator Chris Burnham, this standalone special focuses on a lone law officer versus the criminal underworld: hyper-violence style. This so-called “lone Badass With A Badge” is up against at eclectic assortment of criminals with evocative names like Headcase Harry, the Fortune 500 and Zen Master Flash. Combining the action from his work on various Avengers titles with the irreverence of Automatic Kafka and Gødland, Officer Downe looks to be a far-from-subtle one-shot bursting at the seams.
Newsarama caught up with Joe Casey to find out more about Officer Downe which is scheduled for release on July 14, 2010.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about Officer Downe, Joe?
Joe Casey: I think Officer Downe taps into that subconscious urge we all have to be protected from the darker elements of human existence. Someone's gotta pin on a badge and go out and fight for us. Someone's gotta enforce the law. Like it says in the solicitation... Officer Downe is much more than man... he is policeman!
Nrama: You’ve always had a knack for names, and this has it all. In addition to Officer Downe, you’ve got Headcase Harry someone called the Fortune 500, and a “Zen Master Flash”. Can you tell us about these characters and the world they inhabit?
Casey: When I name characters, it usually happens when I'm locked in some kind of fever dream state. It's hard to explain. But, y'know, coming up with good names for fictional characters is just one of those things I like to have fun with. And having fun is half the battle (or is knowing half the battle...? I always get those two mixed up...). Actually, no one in comics will match the name-creating power of Howard Chaykin (mananacillin, anyone?), but we still try. In this book, the criminal underworld is chock full of colorful characters. Personally, I predict Zen Master Flash will become a cult favorite just like Basil Cronus did in GØdland.
Nrama: I see a real sense of verve in these pages and in the solicits. What are you channeling here?
Casey: Well, I'm just providing raw material for Chris Burnham to go to town on. People who follow my work already know I can be a twisted motherfucker. Luckily, Burnham can match me twist for twist.
Nrama: When artwork from this first hit the ‘net, people were salivating over the immense detail – calling to mind Geoff Darrow or Jose Ryp. I’ve seen Chris Burnham’s art on Nixon’s Pals, but this seems … different. What can you tell us about the work Chris is turning out here?
Casey: The man is out of his tree. When we first talked about doing this a few short months ago, he alluded to taking a step forward in his art. As usual, I didn't take him seriously. Then the first few pages came in and my jaw hit the floor. And then they just... kept... coming. Seriously, he's broken through a major wall on this. The industry at large will shudder at his greatness.
Nrama: This is solicited as a one-shot, which seems ideal for this kind of… how shall I say… “balls to the wall” approach I’m seeing here. Why the one-shot, and not a miniseries or something?
Casey: I'm a big fan of the one-shot format. It's like a pure pop blast of whatever's in your head at that moment. One of the most influential books of the last decade -- on me as a comicbook creator -- was Mignola's Amazing Screw-On Head. It was just this fantastic hit of comicbook heroin that really gave all of us something to aspire to, when working in that format. So I guess Officer Downe is an attempt to wrestle that particular format to the ground. Our problem is, we couldn't fit it into 22 pages like Mignola was able to... ours had to be 48.
Nrama: You’re here at WonderCon this weekend with the entire Man of Action crew. Will you be hitting any other cons this year?
Casey: Like you said, I'm here at WonderCon this weekend, along with the rest of the Man of Action crew. Then we do it all again at San Diego in July. And probably New York in October. It's the MOA Tour of the Americas and it's coming to your town soon!