CCI, Day 3: Joe Casey unleashed on "Charlatan Ball"

Saturday at Comic-Con International, Image Comics announced the release of a new ongoing title by unrepentant genre-groper Joe Casey, hitting shelves in October, the same month as his new Image graphic novel, "Nixon's Pals."

Chuck Amok (named, presumably, after the famous autobiography by animation legend Chuck Jones) is a failed stage magician who finds himself snatched out of his reality to represent humanity in a contest that could be called Magic Kombat. Joining Chuck is his pet rabbit Caesar, who is equally unsuited to do cross-dimensional battle for life-or-death stakes.

"Throw in mind-blowing concepts like the mystery of Elementality, the Gang of Four Gods, and the secret art of Calculingus, and you'll find there's a lot to absorb," Casey said. Chuck will serve as readers' usher, unwittingly guiding them through worlds they've never seen before, and realities that Joe Casey hasn't even imagined yet. But he tells us he will. "Some of these characters are absolutely indescribable. If readers think 'G�DLAND' can get a little wacky at times, they ain't seen nothing yet."

Casey explained that "Charlatan Ball" is the end result of a process begun all the way back with his work on Marvel's "Deathlok," wherein the writer has over the years learned how to open his mind and truly set his imagination free.

"It's allowing my own subconscious to spill out onto the page ... it'll be about cramming all of that energy into each and every issue. Hell, into each and every panel."

Filling those panels with art will be artist Andy Suriano, an animator at Warner Broters. Suriano had been looking to get back into comics work, and when Casey saw his cartoony yet beautiful work, he knew he'd found another immense talent with whom to conspire.

"Like me," Casey explained, "Andy's big on the surreal side of comic books. Kirby's more over-the-top work, Ditko's 'Dr. Strange,' etc., not to mention work by a few European artists I'd never heard of."

"Charlatan Ball" is the kind of series that allows creators like Joe Casey and Andy Suriano to, in Casey's words, unleash.

"That's just about the best way I can put it... we're gonna' unleash." Facilitating all this unleashery is the publisher that's released all of the writer's most recent and highly acclaimed work, San Francisco's Image Comics.

"I've said it before and I'll say it again," Casey declared. "Image Comics has the best publishing deal for creators, period. Complete and total ownership and prime real estate in Previews. There's nothing better at any publisher anywhere."

The creation and success of "G�DLAND" with artist Tom Scioli invigorated Casey, who promises more creator-owned work in the near future.

"Finding the right artistic collaborators is usually the biggest hurdle, but I've been really lucky lately and now the fun can begin."

Andy Khouri contributed to this story, and wants no part of any leashes.

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