5 Questions With Joe Casey About Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker

Years after the hardcover release, fans can finally get their hands on a bonus-content-rich trade paperback of Image's acclaimed Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker from writer Joe Casey and artist Mike Huddleston, published through the Man of Action imprint.

Butcher Baker was the preeminent all-American superhero. Now he’s…getting laid. A lot. But one last mission could signal his return to glory, and now he’s back on the blacktop! It’s a balls-out, pimp-slappin', surreal super-epic.

BB cover
(Photo: Image Comics/Man of Action)

You can get a copy at your local comic shop or order a digital copy online.

Casey joined ComicBook.com for a quick speed-dating rundown of what to expect from the newly-released trade paperback.

Butcher Baker was a cult hit that ended in a big and public way. Was it gratifying to be able to come to terms with that ending and provide a nice edition for the audience to put on the bookshelf?

Well, we always knew it was going to be eight issues and done. In fact, the whole thing was written before the first issue was even published. We just never marketed it that way so readers couldn't telegraph the ending.

Now that we're years beyond when it was first released, I don't think much about whatever drama occurred at the end of it. We're certainly not the only series that had an issue (or two) ship later than planned. So having the book come out in single issues was one type of reading experience.

Having it out in a new trade paperback collection will provide another kind of experience. Different, but equally valid.

With books like Shirtless Bear Hunter on the stands, this book feels almost a little ahead of the curve in the way the characters were so earnest with the high concept but the tone and feel fo the book was clearly having fun. What was it like to try and craft a story like that month in and month out?

More often than not, that's just how I like to tell certain stories. I like for the emotional stakes to feel real for the reader, but the main idea behind Butcher Baker as a reading experience was that it was one, big roller coaster ride. it was meant to shake your brains. On that level, it seemed to have worked. Maybe things have caught up with it enough so that anyone reading it in collected form won't have their heads explode from the sheer impact of inputting the entire story all in one, big chunk.

Huddleston's style is key to giving this book the psychadelic feel that helped it connect with its audience. What was that partnership like in the early going? How did you find each other?

I think BUTCHER BAKER is Huddleston's best work. We'd previously worked on a short anthology piece -- also reprinted in the new TPB -- but I always knew he had a lot more in him. Part of the construction of the book was to give him a platform to go nuts. I was definitely pushing him... sometimes beyond his limits... but sometimes you get good work that way.

This idea -- "one last time" -- is something that comes up a lot ingenre fiction. With a title as subversive as Butcher Baker is part of the appeal that the high concept has a trope you can play with baked right into it?

Partly, yeah. The whole "final mission" trope works because the stakes are really obvious. It's a last chance-scenario on whatever levels you want to explore as a creator. In BUTCHER BAKER, it's a meditation on a cracked lens-view of manhood and how that cliche -- and, let's face it, the two-fisted, overly-macho, patriotic super-hetero hero *is* a big, fat cliche -- relates to the nature of our existence in the Universe. If it does at all... and I tend to think it does.

I gotta ask: now that the trade is real, is there any chance we'll ever see more of this world?

There's always a chance. I never say never, especially when it comes to work that I own. Although I don't think I could ever do a *direct* sequel, mainly because of how the story ended. Having said that, there's more than one way to sequelize something, if you're willing to put the time and effort into it.