Written by Joe Casey
Illustrated by Mike Huddleston
In March 2011, Image is unleashing an all-new series written by showman Joe Casey (OFFICER DOWNE, GÃ˜DLAND) and drawn with dynamic intensity by Mike Huddleston (The Coffin). The name of this surreal homage to uber violence? BUTCHER BAKER, THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER.
“This one ain’t for the faint of heart,” declares Casey. “BUTCHER BAKER is a sleazy, mature readers superhero book about a semi-retired ‘patriotic’ superhero who gets the call for one last adventure. It’s everything you want a superhero comicbook to be. It’s simultaneously iconic and subversive and a whole lot of fun.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun working on a book before,” says Huddleston. “Joe has created a ridiculously ultra-violent and over-sexed world unlike anything anyone has read before. It’s intense!”
That’s right folks – this is a mega review of the first two issues of the new Image Comics series from the minds of writer Joe Casey and artist Mike Huddleston. The first is out in stores right now, but I am here to tell you (without spoilers) why this new series is a must buy for comic fans out there.
Take a look after the cut for some thoughts on the first two issues.
Joe Casey is not the type of guy who you would describe as reserved or as someone known for holding back. Whether it is with his opinions about any number of subjects within the industry or in books like Officer Downe, the guy has given us unflinching takes on everything he has to offer.
And with Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker, Casey and artist Mike Huddleston are telling an ode to the audacious. The set-up is this – Butcher Baker is the world’s greatest superhero, albeit a retired one. After spending his life defeating and embarrassing his opponents (laid out using spoofs of iconic comic imagery – particularly impressive in Huddleston’s take on the first Captain America cover), the dude has gone back to relax in his den of sin with many luscious ladies to accompany him (as Casey said to me in an interview, if you were a retired superhero wouldn’t you want to fuck all day?) before the odd pairing of Dick Cheney and Jay Leno come to get the man out of retirement. This leads to a no-holds barred pair of issues in which Baker faces off against his greatest enemies (sort of) including the Alan Moore lookalike Jihad Jones and a sheriff looking for revenge against Baker for embarrassing him on the open road, all the while being inventively brought to life by Huddleston.
While not someone I was familiar with to begin with, Huddleston has serious chops and an eye for original and dynamic style. In particular, the sections that Huddleston depicts Baker driving in his mammoth semi Liberty Belle are gorgeous. With everything rendered in pencil with no color save the red, white and blue aspects of the pages, these pages leap at you as a feast your eyes.
Casey’s scripts are at once fearless and funny, original and odd. The book has a vibe that is entirely it’s own, with the story of America’s greatest hero being steeped in a counter-culture musk that permeates through every aspect of the book. Look at Baker himself – here is a guy who served his time and quit so he could bed ladies all day and night, an ideal that seems natural to an alpha male of his sort but something no other writer has confronted in the world of superheroes. Even the idea that he drives a semi everywhere fits this, as semis have long had a backroads/sketchy vibe to them while also being an existing component of Americana (Smokey and the Bandit, anyone?). He’s at once an American icon and rebel, and the juxtaposition within the character gives the book a truly subversive feel.
Those just looking for a good time are also in for a treat. This book is vulgar and badass while also being a hell of a lot of fun. If you’re easily offended, keep your sensitive nature away from this book. If you get your kicks from good ol’ fashioned sex and violence, I present Butcher Baker to you as your new favorite comic. Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker through two issues is a highly entertaining romp that gives readers a bit to chew on while also being a visual tour de force. Casey and Huddleston deserve an audience for this badass beast of a book. When the first issue arrives this Wednesday I expect you all to pick it up, and I also expect you to pre-order issue #2.
Final Verdict: 9.0 – Buy