This week’s featured geek is Mike Baron, an award winning comic writer and novelist, who recently came out with a new graphic novel about a young Hispanic single mother and full time police officer, titled Thin Blue Line.
1) Introduce yourself a bit:
I’m Mike Baron, a two-time Eisner winner, comic writer and novelist who broke into comics with Nexus, the science fiction superhero title which I co-created with Steve Rude. I have written The Punisher, The Flash, Deadman, Star Wars, Robotech, and many other titles. I have fifteen novels in print, and those novels range from horror, hard-boiled crime, and humor. I’m all over the place.
2) What do you geek out on?
I love live music and have been listening to bands all my life. I love soul, rhythm and blues, jazz, and power pop. This past summer, we sometimes saw four or five bands a week! The local music scene is crazy. (Mike used to be a music journalist at CREEM circa: 1974)
3) Give me a summary of Thin Blue Line – what’s it about?
Thin Blue Line follows two police officers, single mother Valeria Baca and her partner Bob Mack through a hot summer night as the city burns. Ignited by reports of a police shooting, Hagen, Illinois turns into a battlefield as anarchists mark off an “autonomous” zone, rival gangs attack one another, and opportunists race toward the fire like freelancers to an open bar.
Assigned to protect the mayor, Valeria and Bob find themselves on the run when anarchists storm city hall. In their harrowing drive to escape the kill zone, Valeria and Bob encounter gangs, thugs, and right-wing militia. Featuring a diverse cast of characters, Thin Blue Line unflinchingly examines the chaos engulfing American cities, as well as the personal lives of those who risk everything to preserve the rule of law. Thin Blue Line will keep you riveted from the first page to the last.
4) Who is the hero in this story?
Valeria Baca is a single mother who wanted to be a law enforcement officer since she was a little girl, listening to her parents and grandparents talk about her great, great grandfather Elfego Baca, a Mexican lawman who lived in the Southwest and a real person. Disney had a show about him. She joined the force in order to serve her community. She likes helping people.
5) If Thin Blue Line were made into a movie, who would be the best person to play the main character?
Diane Guerrero ( Orange Is the New Black)
6) Describe how you brought your characters to life in the illustrations
I start with a written outline. Writing a comic is an organic act. I create characters and situations which demand resolution and I ask myself, what happens next? That is the essential question in all fiction. The reader must care what happens next in order to turn the page. I create sympathetic characters with whom the reader can identify, as well as shit-heel bastards, all of it based on real life.
Joseph Arnold is the penciller, and I’ve known Joseph for many years. He’s a veteran of the 82nd Airborne and currently an active duty police officer. This project was perfect for him, and his experience on the front lines of policing really helped inform the story, and gave it an added layer of authenticity. Even though he works full time as a police officer, and is a happily married family man, he still got the work done faster than many pros I’ve worked with. We then brought in illustrator Jeff Slemons to handle the inks and finishing.
7) Did particular people inspire your characters?
No, I build them from the ground up, to fit the story’s requirements. I start with a sympathetic character.
8) Where can people get your graphic novel?
9) Do you have any upcoming events or appearances you’d like to mention?
I’ll be appearing at Rocky Mountain Con this coming weekend, November 6th & 7th 2021.