THIN BLUE LINE: Mike Baron's Police-Focused Graphic Novel Ships Next Month; Won't Be Available At Comic Shops

Thin Blue Line, a police-focused graphic novel from veteran comic writer Mike Baron, will ship in mid-June. However, deemed too controversial by most publishers, it will not be available in comic shops.

Eisner-winning writer Mike Baron's Thin Blue Line is expected to ship in mid-June; however, the police-focused graphic novel will not be available at comic book shops. Mike Baron is a well-known veteran of the comic book industry having written The Flash, Nexus, Star Wars, and The Punisher for Marvel Comics, but his latest self-published comic was passed up by every publisher it was submitted to for what they deemed to be a controversial subject matter.

Thin Blue Line tells the story of two police officers assigned to guard the mayor amid riots that begin over a police shooting. According to Baron, multiple publishers responded "that making street cops heroes did not align with their business model."

Policing has become a hot-button issue in the United States in recent years as multiple incidents involving officers killing unarmed people of color have become national headlines. The most notable being the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American who was murdered during an arrest after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, knelt on his neck for over nine minutes. Footage of the incident led to a series of protests and civil unrest across the country against police brutality and racism. Some have even called for cities and states to defund the police. 

Promotion of Thin Blue Line was banned from the /r/Comics sub-reddit for alleged "misinformation and racism." Facebook had also reportedly banned ads for the graphic novel presumably based on it being a "social issue." While the comic is seemingly inspired by the Black Lives Matter riots of 2020 — even featuring a female officer pinning down a black man — Baron defends that "it's just a thrilling action drama" similar to his previous works.

“It’s not polemic, and definitely isn’t a cop recruitment book," Baron defended. "It’s just a thrilling action drama, similar in many ways to elements my fans may recall from the five years I wrote The Punisher, which were grittier and more realistic than most mainstream superhero comics.”

Joseph Arnold, the book's penciller, is an active-duty police officer who had personal reasons for wanting to illustrate Thin Blue Line. Not only does his personal experience lend credibility to the story, but it also offers a unique, alternative aspect of the subject that's often overlooked in most media.

“I was eager to show another side of policing,” Arnold explained. “The story emphasizes family, interpersonal dynamics, and shows police officers from many different backgrounds. I've put my heart into every page, and hope it has a positive impact on policing.”

While many publishers passed on Thin Blue Line, Baron was able to raise the needed funds to self-publish the comic. And he's giving a portion of his profits back to law enforcement. Baron and his team will be donating to three police-related programs: Adopt a Cop, The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and the National Fallen Officer Foundation. The team is also hoping that the campaign brings awareness to National Police Week, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and takes place this week.

If you're interested in Thin Blue Line, you can grab a copy at The graphic novel is currently at the printer with a few hundred copies still available before the crowdfunding campaign closes in mid-June.

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