Mike Baron Gets a Charge out of "The Detonator" this November

Wed, October 6th, 2004 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

"The Detonator" #3 "The Detonator" #2
This November, get ready for things to explode over at Image Comics. That's when the new series "The Detonator" debuts. As writer Mike Baron puts it quite simply, "The Detonator" is about "A guy who blows things up."

Of course, nothing's quite that simple. CBR News caught up with Baron to learn more about the series. "The Detonator" stars Frank Grace, a munitions expert who's found himself in the middle of something bigger than he could have imagined.

"Frank was a mining engineer fresh out of college, in love with the romance of the West, went to work for Grindcorps, which was trying to rejuvenate a gold mine," Baron told CBR News. "20 Step Vipers own Grindcorps, which is just an enormous insurance scam. They knew there wasn't any gold. They staged a 'cave-in' to collect the insurance."

At this point, Baron's well ahead on the series, already having plotted the fifith issue, but first, let's find out some more about the story covering the first four issues.

"The Detonator" #1 "The Detonator" #1, Page 1
So, Frank Grace goes to work for Grindcorps. When the company messes with the charge Frank sets inside the mine, bringing the mountain down upon Frank, the company thinks they're in the clear and collect on the massive insurance policy. They didn't count on Frank's resourcefulness as he emerges from the mountain weeks later, gets a bit of plastic surgery done and is ready to take on those who would have him killed.

"The first story arc covers four issues--a bit long for my tastes, but things happen," admitted Baron. "There's no padding. Frank returns to Montana and tries to resume a normal life. That lasts about twenty-four hours. Manglebaum sneaks across the Canadian border and hits Frank where he lives. Lily Ling, the Chinese woman who helped Frank escape, is there, too. Once she crossed the Triad, she could no longer remain in China so Frank used some of his casino winnings to pay Lily and her father's fare to the US.

"Sling Blade follows Manglebaum. Sling Blade fights Manglebaum. Manglebaum is kind of hard to kill, but he can be killed."

Clearly, Frank has his hands full with men looking to dispatch him quickly. Now, his life is irrevocably changed. He's crossed a line in getting his revenge and knows there's no going back to a normal, civilian life.

"The Detonator" #1, Page 2 "The Detonator" #1, Page 3
"He's like a samurai who should have died, but didn't -- he's living on borrowed time," said Baron. "It doesn't matter what he does. He decides to strike according to his own personal code of honor. He decides to strike crooked politicians. That's a big no-no. We prefer our politicians to be defeated by votes, not bullets."

Which brings us to the fifth issue in the series, which will be the first stand-alone story.

"[The story] is going to attract a lot of attention and get me in a lot of trouble," said Baron. "It's a story I wanted to do with Punisher but, they wouldn't let me. 'What? Punisher assassinates the President? Are you insane?'"

The lead character is named after a blues guitarist in a band called The Detonators. The real life Frank Grace doesn't know he's been made the star of an upcoming comic book.

"Frank doesn't know, and probably wouldn't care. If he did know, he'd be pleased. So all you mischievous elves, feel free to send Frank a cop of the comic," said Baron.

"The Detonator" #1, Page 4 "The Detonator" #1, Page 5
Baron is joined on this title by penciller Mel Rubi and inker Barbara Kaalberg. Baron and Rubi worked together at Dark Horse Comics on their "Kiss" comic. When that comic was cancelled, the duo worked together on "Faro Korbit" for AP Comics in England, a trade paperback of which is out soon. "It's stunning. It's our take on Dr. Strange," said Baron. Finally, Rubi is inked by Baron's old friend and neighrbor Barbara Kaalberg.

Baron's done a great deal of research into munitions, relying on another neighbor to help him with the specifics of such a job.

"My neighbor here in Colorado is a retired munitions expert for a mining company," said Baron. "Mr. Reid knows explosives. He shares his knowledge with me. He told me how they do a shaped charge, an explosion that directs its force on a particular vector, as opposed to just ballooning. It has to do with the shape of the hole they carve in the rock, as well as the type of explosive.

"There's a big difference between movie explosions and comic explosions. Movie explosions are kinetic--they're moving. They're exciting. Comic book explosions are static, no matter how bril the drawing. Nevertheless, we have included one full-page explosion in the fourth issue. There are plenty of blow-ups, but the expanding ball of gas itself is not the story. It's the people."

 
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