You remember writer Joe Casey from his work on Marvel Comics’ “Deathlok.” You admire him for the highly acclaimed (and much-lamented) Wildstorm books “Wildcats 3.0” and “Automatic Kafka.” You followed him to the moon and beyond in his Image book “GØDLAND.” Most importantly, you cheered him and/or cursed him in “The Basement Tapes,” his former weekly column with fellow scribe Matt Fraction, right here at CBR. Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Image Comics announced one of Casey’s next projects, “Nixon’s Pals.”
“Nixon Cooper might be the only sane man in an insane world,” says Casey, of the title character in his new, darkly funny Image Comics graphic novel, “Nixon’s Pals.”
“And when that insanity creeps into his home — that is, when he finds a crook mounting his wife in his own bedroom — he ends up questioning what is ‘sane’ and what is ‘insane.'”
Readers should keep in mind that Nixon is said crook’s parole officer. Adding further insult to injury, that crook is a supervillain. It is the discovery of his wife’s super-cheating that propels Casey’s new hero on what the writer describes as a twisted journey of self-examination, careening through a world of characters with names like Dr. Hugo Blivion, Dynomoxie, and Maxfield Reactor.
“It’s the Everyman vs. the Overmen,” said Casey.
Joining Casey on Mr. Cooper’s Wild Ride is newcomer Chris Burnham.
“[Chris’] style hit me really hard and I knew immediately that I wanted to work with him. Aside from being one of those artists that make you wonder why he’s not already working full-time in this industry, he’s got an enthusiasm to work that I really admire. He doesn’t just *talk* about being a comic book artist … he sits his ass down and cranks out pages.”
(Readers can check out Burnham’s work in an upcoming issue of “Elephantmen.”)
Joe Casey has built a career on his clever twists of established genres, but the world of “Nixon’s Pals” is particularly wicked. The writer’s pitted a decent civil servant against a community of evildoers bent on ruining his day (not to mention his marriage), but what might be more intriguing is the unfamiliarity of the concept itself.
“Well, y’know … it’s what I do. I come up with these kooky ideas and hope that I’m the one who came up with them first. Unexplored territory is my bread and butter.”
While “Nixon’s Pals” is a complete story in one graphic novel, the idea would certainly seem to have legs.
“Ultimately,” Casey said, “I think we’ll be leaving it up to readers to decide if we could or should continue Nixon Cooper’s adventures. Comic books can be extremely democratic in that way.”
What the idea was not designed for, however, is a film option.
“One thing I’ve never done, is create a comic book strictly to sell to ‘Hollywood.’ Hell, ‘sell out’ is more like it. I like comic books because they’re comic books. I like to create comic books that are comic books and [I’m] proud of it. If I want to write a movie, I’ll write a movie. If I want to create a TV show, I’ll create one … There’s a purity to making comic books out of love that I have no intention of losing. It means too much to me as a creative endeavor.”
Andy Khouri, who some have also described as the only sane man in an insane world, contributed to this report.