Comics writer and musician Joe Casey is bringing his two dual passions together - with a Drop D tuning - in the upcoming Image Comics miniseries New Lieutenants of Metal. Scheduled to launch July 4, the four-issue miniseries reunites Casey with his two-time collaborator Ulises Farinas for a heavy metal supergroup that's also an elite paramilitary strikeforce.
In essence: they are headbangers, but they bang other people's heads as much as they do thier own.
Casey spoke with Newsarama about New Lieutenants of Metal as well as the musical inspirations which helped fuel it.
Newsarama: Okay Joe, New Lieutenants of Metal seems like the A-Team meets hard rock 'n' roll. Who are these metalhead heroes?
Joe Casey: They are exactly that... an elite strike force of head-bangin' heroes ready to mete out harsh justice whenever and wherever necessary. They're a new brand of superhero, perfect for our times.
Nrama: Now, you actually included a small playlist for this issue. Why did you pick these songs in particular?
Casey: Have you heard those songs? From top to bottom, they evoke a certain emotion that goes perfectly with the stories we're telling. I would suggest playing them quite loud as you read the comic book. And, as they say, if it's too loud...you're too old.
Nrama: So will there be an entire soundtrack by the end of the miniseries?
Casey: Well, I can guarantee that all of the songs suggested in the various playlists would make one helluva metal soundtrack. But listen at your own risk... that much metal could end up melting your brain. And we want you around reading every issue of New Lieutenants we put out there.
Nrama: Of all the animals in creation, why did you feel like a panda would be a good fit for Spike?
Casey: Panda bears are unique mammals who are also one of the fiercest species in the animal kingdom. ‘Nuff said.
Nrama: With your connections in animation and video games, do you have any plans on doing something multimedia with New Lieutenants?
Casey: Everyone keeps asking me that, about this project in particular. Maybe it's because of Ulises' art style. But I make comic books to be comic books and that's it.
I'm never making them with an eye towards translating them into some other medium. I mean, who would've thought that Officer Downe would've ended up as a live action feature film? Not me, I'll tell you that. Besides, comic books are the best storytelling medium ever invented. There are no other aspirations that could possibly top it.
Nrama: How did you and artist Ulises Farinas come together for this?
Casey: Ulises and I have known each other for awhile now. We worked together on the "Agents of Change" strip in Dark Horse's Catalyst Comix anthology and we dug the collaboration... so we just rolled on into this project as soon as we were both able.
Nrama: Lastly, what was the one metal album you had growing up that you felt defined that moment in time for you at that age?
Casey: Good question.
Probably Iron Maiden's double album, Live After Death. Not that it was my favorite. I wasn't even all that big of a Maiden fan. But something about that record captured a moment that, to me, was the perfect crystallization of the metal ideal at that time. It was epic and low down at the same time. It had real ambition, but never stepped too far out of its lane. And it was live and raw, which is what the best metal should be. That's what we want our series to feel like.