He is a man of action. Literally. See, he's the owner/partner for Man of Action Entertainment. So that means he lives between his kicks, careers, and caffeine. Comics, however, are always high on his list of priorities, so when Lion Forge offered him the chance to crank out Kino, he seized the opportunity. In this exclusive interview, veteran writer Joe Casey comments on his Kino Volume 1: Escape from the Abyss series, which debuts May 8, 2018.
Vince Brusio: So what was the catalyst for Joe Casey to create Kino Volume 1: Escape from the Abyss? Is this an idea that you’ve played around with for a while, or did it come relatively overnight? Has the concept morphed over time, or was it actually just a matter of finding the time so you could make the book happen because you’re so involved with Man of Action Entertainment?
Joe Casey: I'll always make time to write comic books. Even when I'm way too busy to do it, I still do it. Whether it's creator-owned or work-for-hire, I love comic books way too much not to make them when the opportunity arises. If memory serves, Kino started out as a character that the Lion Forge owners had already dreamed up named "Kinetic." When I took on the gig, I altered it to "Kino" — which really stands for Kinetic Impulse Neoterrestrial Operative — and came up with his power set and supporting cast. This one has been gestating for a few years now, but I used that time to go deep in developing the book.
Vince Brusio: Tell us who’s who in this story. Besides Kino himself, who are the supporting characters, and how much of a role do they play in helping or hurting Kino as he tries to stay one step ahead of Britain’s MI6?
Joe Casey: I would say the main "co-star" of the series is an intense, capable MI6 agent named Devlin Gilmour. He takes on the mission to find the missing British astronaut that anyone who read the FCBD one-shot will remember. So we follow his story almost as closely as Kino's. The series' main antagonist is a rogue scientist/social engineer named Aturo Assante. This guy's got a specific vision of the world he wants to live in, and he's going to make it happen whether anyone likes it or not. And Kino plays a primary role in his plans.
Vince Brusio: You’ve written about atypical superheroes before. Bounce comes to mind, to name one example. So is Kino in that same vein of hero? The guy who saves the day, but if you knew who he was you would never think of him as the good guy?
Joe Casey: I can't give too much away, because to fully answer that question would give up a major storytelling conceit of the series that gives KINO its unique flavor. The character is, in fact, in the mold of a certain archetype of comic book hero, and we fully explore that within the book. But we do it in such a way that feeds into the story itself (as opposed to being simply meta-commentary on this type of hero).
Vince Brusio: Describe your working relationship with artist Jefte Palo. How do you communicate to him what he’s to put on canvas? Are you very specific in your script about things like perspective and body language, or do you give him more liberty to be the book’s camera eye?
Joe Casey: I wrote the first arc before I even knew who the artist would be, so I just went for it and wrote full-script. In a situation like that, I write so any artist could work from it. Everything's there. Having said that, I was thrilled when Jefte took the gig because I'm such a fan of his art and I knew he'd bring a lot to the party. What I've seen so far looks really great.
Vince Brusio: How does Kino fit into the growing Catalyst Prime universe? Is he off the grid from the beginning of this story? Or is he already “in the fold” from the moment we finish the first issue?
Joe Casey: Based on his backstory alone, Kino is a prime mover and shaker in this new superhero universe. Again, it you read the FCBD one-shot, you'll know that he is, in fact, "off the grid" in a big bad way from the very first issue. Getting him back "on" the grid is one of the main story engines going forward. Believe me, it won't be easy... but I think readers will get a big kick out of the way things progress. Let's just say that we confront a lot of comic book history with this series.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.