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Marvel's Punisher Writer Finds Success Portraying Cops As Heroes in New Comic
A New Graphic Novel Bucks Current Trend of "Woke" Comic Books
By: BIG Studios
"My job is to entertain the reader," Baron says. "they don't want to be lectured to."
Baron first made a name for himself at Marvel Comics back when the publisher was launching an ongoing title for The Punisher, which became so popular, he remained on the title for five years, a feat unheard of today. Baron also wrote several other notable comics including The Flash and Star Wars, and even found success with his own creations - Nexus, The Badger, and Florida Man, but Thin Blue Line was a different proposition.
"None of my previous publishers would touch it," Mike explains. "Given the current climate, I can't blame them. But Thin Blue Line doesn't gloss over the issues that cops deal with, so in many ways it's as gritty as my run on The Punisher, but way more thrilling."
Thin Blue Line's central character is a single mom named Valeria Baca, a patrol officer who serves her community while raising a daughter. That proves difficult when she's confronted with an ethics-challenged officer amidst unrest and violent protests taking over the streets in response to a police shooting.
"I rip my stories straight from the headlines," Mike continues. "Last summer's riots and demonstrations made me think about law enforcement in a new way, particularly cops who genuinely care."
Baron approached artist Joseph Arnold, a longtime friend, whose career as a full-time patrol officer added an additional level of credibility to the project.
"Joseph's experiences informed the story," Baron adds "he's out there on the front lines every day dealing with the same difficulties. I also brought in Jeff Slemons to handle the inks. It's turned out to be a beautiful book."
After completing the artwork, they spent several weeks trying to find a publisher willing to distribute it, but after multiple brush-offs the team launched the book on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website where Baron has previously found moderate success with some of his irregular publishing projects.
Policing has become a hot-button issue these days, but Baron says this story isn't political, but it does treat cops favorably. He demonstrates his support by including "back the blue" campaign goals designed to direct a portion of the proceeds to law enforcement support groups.