Two-time Eisner-award-winning writer Mike Baron, best known for his work on The Punisher, tells a story ripped from today’s headlines that humanizes two unsung, villainized police officers, in Thin Blue Line. Mike was nice enough to stop by First Comics News and tell our readers about this project.
First Comics News: What made you decide that your next project should be a cop drama after doing superheroes and sci-fi?
Mike Baron: I always say I don’t choose my subjects, my subjects choose me. Like Florida Man, last summer’s riots were unavoidable on social media. The narrative being shoved down our throats by the left, “defund the police,” is a call for suicide. Civilization cannot exist without laws. You’re either for the rule of law or you’re not. I know the police. Most of them are dedicated, public servants. I don’t understand how any rational person can call for the abolition of the police. All you have to do is look at the crime stats in any big blue city to see the results. And they ain’t pretty. I have always ripped stories from the headlines. In Punisher. In Nexus. This is the stuff of good drama. I felt I could write a compelling, entertaining story around it. And I did.
1st: Who is Valeria Baca?
Mike: Single mom who wanted to be a cop her whole life. Her great-grandfather was Elfego Baca, the legendary lawman. Disney made a series about him. Many police make that decision early in life for the same reason some people go into charity or medicine. They want to be a positive force in their communities.
1st: As a cop and a single mother, who is watching the kids at home?
Mike: Her sister Lucia. Sometimes her mom, although her mom isn’t in this book.
1st: Who is Bob Mack?
Mike: Bob is Valeria’s partner.
Mike: Mutual respect and friends.
1st: What is the nature of the police shooting in this story?
Mike: The police shooting remains off-camera. We don’t know the details of the shooting. Neither do the rioters. It may be justified. It may not.
1st: How did Bob & Valeria get assigned to the Mayor’s detail?
1st: What causes the city to erupt?
Mike: The police shooting.
1st: How does this affect the mayor?
Mike: Poor mayor doesn’t know whether to shit or go blind. Like many soulless politicians, he went into politics to get rich and enjoy perks unavailable to the hoi polloi. He never thought he’d be put on the spot like this, with a portion of his constituency screaming for blood. Fancies himself a progressive.
Mike: He sure does.
1st: Why is Joe Arnold the right artist for this project?
Mike: I’ve known Joe for many years. He was among the small group of comic creators I regularly hosted at my house. Gabe Eltaeb was another. Joe was always drawing.
1st: Did you pick Joe Arnold because he is a police officer?
1st: You had a lot of experience with street-level stories in The Punisher, how does a Punisher story compare to the Thin Blue Line?
Mike: Thin Blue Line is realistic in a way the Punisher could never be. This is a story that could happen.
1st: Why crowdfund instead of seeking an established publisher?
Mike: We approached numerous publishers with this project. None would touch it.
Mike: The book is completely penciled and inked, colored and lettered.
1st: Thin Blue Line will be on sale Mar 27, 2024, and is in Previews Today. Have your retailer add it to your pull list today.