Or – “The Power Of Marketing In Action!”

Over the last few years, the comic book industry has become much more about promotion, about that killer idea, about promotion and perception of a book as much as the book itself.  The recent promotional blitz for Morning Glories hooked me early, and brought me onto that title from day one with clever and attractive teasers (in more than one sense of the word.)  When they followed those with the bizarre, endearingly vulgar promos that heralded this book, I was sure that we were looking at something special.  Whether that something is a monster hit or a massive misfire wasn’t clear… until NOW.

Butcher Baker #1
Writer: Joe Casey
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Colorist: Mike Huddleston
Graphic Design: Sonia Harris
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, on Butcher Baker – The Righteous Maker: Once the world’s greatest superhuman, Butcher Baker has receded into a life of debauchery and dissipation, while the world has changed around him.  But unbeknownst to the Butcher, various outside forces are conspiring to return him to active duty.  Is there still room in the modern world for a red-white-and-blue two-fisted superhero?

T&A meets TNT!

So, let’s start with the cover:  There’s a weird dichotomy going on there, with a combination of superhero costume, Chippendale’s dancer and a weird tinge of Jesus metaphor (though that part may just be me.)  This book is the first one in my memory to list a Graphic Designer alongside the writer and artist, but it’s clear why she’s up there:  This book looks GOOD.  The cover is evocative, and attention-getting, and the first few pages pull no punches in their description of Butcher’s debauched lifestyle, with female flesh ALL OVER the place, in a style that our own Jack Trigger will love.  As almost seen in the highly-redacted and censored preview editions, Butcher is given an offer of one last case by what seems to be Jay Leno and former V.P. Dick Cheney, and decides to take to the highways one last time in search of a way to cap off his life as a superhero.  The dialogue is fascinating, and Butcher’s Chris Claremont-style internal monologue is an utter scream to read…

Dynamite In One Hand, A Neutron Bomb In The Other

Things quickly get out of hand, in the Billy Hicks from St. Elmo’s Fire way, as Butcher sets out on his mission, running afoul of a lawman who (intentionally, I think) reminds me of Jackie Gleason as Buford T. Justice.  This movie reference is one of many little touches that show the influence of previous works without seeming like a ripoff of any, and this book really does have a little something for everybody.  I love the snappy/snippy dialogue, while Stephen should enjoy bits reminiscent of Big Trouble in Little China, and Rodrigo can dig the off-beat character design and cool machinery and equipment on display.  Heck, I think even Otter Disaster will be interested, what with the book’s promise of gunplay, dark humor, breasteses and what could end up being a searing take on the superhero motif.  This issue does what a #1 issue should always do:  Spur me to put the rest of the series on my pull list.

The Verdict: You Should Be Looking Forward To This…

Image has been on a roll lately, with many unusual but deserving projects getting to print in an atmosphere where even well-known characters and books are going under.  For my money, Butcher Baker is a fine addition to Image’s menagerie of non-standard titles, joining books like Morning Glories, Proof, Chew and The Walking Dead in my monthly “must-read” stack.  I will say that you should be aware that strong language, adult situations, and what-have-you are on parade, so I would encourage those with sensitive natures or memberships in the Church of Latter Day Saints to consider their decision deeply, but for those with the constitution should certainly partake of at least this issue.  Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker has many influences, remixing a laundry list of delightful things into a wonderfully surprising whole, earning a damn fine 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, “This’n’ll knock your dick in the dirt.”

Rating: ★★★★½

(Butcher Baker – The Righteous Maker #1 goes on sale March 30th, 2o11.)

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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1 Comment

  1. March 6, 2011 at 7:30 am — Reply

    Wow! I think I will have to pick this up when I go to the LCS. Maybe it won’t be for me, but it’s worth a shot, and such high praise, what could it hurt?

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