Action Lab Entertainment made its initial entry into the comic book industry in 2011. The indie publisher quickly gained recognition for their all-ages offerings, especially the fantasy adventure series Princeless and the NFL-licensed Rush Zone. As they continued to produce all-ages material, they also were interested in titles and IPs which were intended for the mature readers out there. So the mad scientists at Action Lab decided to expand their library (and options) by creating an imprint for the more adult-themed comics. In 2013, a Kickstarter was run to create Action Lab: Danger Zone and the response was fantastic! The new line of books were to be comprised of a wide spectrum of genre-vexing and boundary-blasting creator-owned titles.
Initially the imprint kicked off with six titles and has grown to a massive catalog with over fifty titles in the past five years. This month, Action Lab is celebrating the 5-year achievement and PopCultHQ wanted to spotlight the publishing company for attaining the magnificent milestone. We spoke with publisher Jason Martin about the early beginnings of Danger Zone and the evolution it’s experienced growing to a successful imprint. We’re also giving you a look at their titles (with synopsis!) to get you in the know regarding their vast library.
Jason Martin: Yeah, we’ve been fortunate to have an amazing run of creator-owned titles come through the imprint to date, and have turned Zombie Tramp into its own licensed franchise. The core Action Lab group that was there at the start is primarily still in place (myself, Bryan Seaton our CEO, Shawn Gabborin our EIC, and Shawn Pryor and Dave Dwonch have shifted roles but are still on board), but we’ve had numerous talented individuals come and go too along the way, helping make these books a reality for the many talented creators.
PopCultHQ: Zombie Tramp, which has endured the test of time and is essentially (imho) your tentpole character/series, has become synonymous with the Danger Zone brand. Vampblade, and then later DollFace and Black Betty, being integrated into the “Zombie Tramp Universe” has really rounded out the easily-identifiable badass babes at the imprint. How important is it for Danger Zone to maintain and grow this universe in the years ahead?
PopCultHQ: From its inception, Danger Zone has been hailed as the home to boundary-pushing, genre-redefining, quality creator-owned comic books with no limits. How true is that statement today? What are the imprint’s plans as it looks to continue to grow and evolve, and what, if anything, is different now than it was in 2013?
Jason Martin: We do have some returning titles on the near horizon. There is a Brigands sequel from Ram V (Paradiso), Ruin of Thieves starting this May. We’ll also have Voracious volume three from Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr later this year, as well as sequels to a couple of last years big hits for us; Spencer & Locke and Misbegotten down the line from that.
Meet the newest member of Zombie Tramp universe! Black Betty has made a living killing the unkillable. She has taken down monsters of every shape and size with a style all her own. But when a man’s daughter is kidnapped by a local legend, Betty steps in to save her… for a price! If you need it dead (and you’ve got the cash!), Betty’s your girl!
Bo Plushy Gangsta
Are the legends of Bo, the “teddy bear” gangsta, true? And, did we just say teddy bear gangsta?!? You’re about to find out– when Bo’s girls get nabbed by a rival gang boss, the fearsome plushy gangsta is forced into action! Bo Plushy is Scarface meets Ted, with over-the-top video game style gang boss battles.
Cougar and Cub
The courageous Cougar and the cunning Cub are Megaville’s ferocious feline fighters, tussling with an outrageous rogues gallery and prowling the city for crime all the time. But when a slow night on the job turns into a saucy encounter in the sack, the age old question will finally be answered… WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SUPERHERO HAS SEX WITH THEIR SIDEKICK?
In a futuristic world where supernatural beings live among humans in peace, Jack Crimson finds his life as a werewolf frustrating and wants nothing more than a cure. Desperate to free himself from this curse, he makes a series of decisions leading him down a path that will change his life forever. Pearl City is full of vampires, zombies, werewolves, and more. Learn more about this mysterious world and follow Jack on an epic journey.
Danger Doll Squad
Danger Zone has three popular monthly titles each starring different deadly ladies, and now for the first time, all three girls come together in one book! Danger Doll Squad zero is the fuse that ignites the explosive upcoming series featuring; Zombie Tramp, Vampblade, and DollFace! An all new crossover featuring our three most popular characters in one special event with covers by three different artists (each with a risqué variant as well)!
In the town of Boston, a witch-hunter lurks among the shadows, but this witch-hunter is like none you’ve ever seen. She is Lila, a 17th century soul that has been transported into present time and into the body of a life size, ball jointed doll, created by a couple of MIT students trying to use technology and a 3D printer to create the perfect women. Join in this super-sized debut issue and learn how she came to be known as DollFace, the ball jointed witch hunter.
After Jason and his team of programmers get stuck in their virtual reality game, Dungeon Lords, they must find a way back to the real world. Unbeknownst to them, the fantasy characters they inhabit have taken control of their bodies–and now wizards and warriors run free in Las Vegas!
Tom Ferris lives in a world of costumes and wonder. Figures streaking across the sky, hurling themselves over rooftops at night. They are everywhere. They are common. But Tom doesn’t notice that world anymore. His world is made up of spreadsheets, phone bills, software, coffee, collared shirts. When a coworker takes an interest in Tom, a chain of events begins to unfold…
Gabriel Ehmm has awoken to a world where zombie “little people” rise from graves, someone calling himself “Saint Peter” offers bargains, and his pet kitten can now “talk.” Connected by blood and straddling the afterlife, Gabe and Mr. Whispers (the aformentioned talking cat) begin a universe-spanning adventure in the first issue of this mind-bending and genre-blending new series.
Ehmm Theory: Everything In Small Doses
Time-jumping assassin monkeys, an evil military super-force, and paranormal ex-lovers plague Gabriel Ehmm and his blood-bound talking feline Mr. Whispers in this eye-smashing, brain-messer of a sequel entitled ‘Everything and Small Doses.’
Moments after scientists create a time machine, terrorists steal and weaponize the device, sending bombs into the future. Las Vegas evaporates in flame as the terrorists reveal their future target: Washington DC. Now, the FBI must find the terrorists before the capital becomes a Ghost Town. The clock is ticking.
There is a new designer drug on the streets, and it’s called Confection! It’s so powerful that it has to be baked into a culinary treat, and the abandoned Betty’s Bakery has been taken over by a gang of drug dealers! But by using a leftover box of seasoning containing the remaining ashes of Millard Findlemeyer, the gang has unwittingly unleashed that cookie of doom: GINGERDEAD MAN!
Gingerdead Man Meets Evil Bong
The soul of a serial killer in the body of a cookie! It’s the Gingerdead Man, and this time he’s facing off against Eebee the Evil Bong, a cursed artifact who wants to cast his crunchy body into the magical realm of BongWorld! Bloodshed and blunts collide for the hardest you’ll ever laugh at being scared! Collects the entire gruesome af-fair!
Framed for the murder of a mob boss’s daughter, “Gravedigger” McCrae is on the run in a South Florida paradise, pursued by a relentless crew of killers. His pursuers think tracking him down will be easy, but Digger McCrae is particularly dangerous prey. Gravedigger is a master class in hard-boiled comic action!
Why is a nun barging into a seedy Tokyo karaoke bar in the middle of the night to find a sleazy naked man smoking meth? Because that man is Jesus, and Sister Maria needs him to help her and Satan stop humanity’s mythological gods from f***ing up the earth.
After recklessly killing tons of gods in HOLY F*CK, Jesus is back, again, and chilling with Satan in domestic bliss. And their best bud, Sister Maria, is managing a local homeless shelter. Sounds great, right? Not for Hercules! The “Muscles from Mt. Olympus” is pissed and he wants revenge. Plus… what shocking news does Satan have for his macho messiah?
For centuries, a secret world government has employed the INFINITE SEVEN, the world’s greatest assassins to do their dirty work. The only way to become one of their members is to prove your worth by killing one of their members. But what happens when Anthony Zane, a teenage boy from the suburbs does just that? Action hero archetypes are reimagined in what is sure to be the blockbuster series of the year!
Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land
Take some time for an adventure to a magical world with two cute bunnies… two foul mouthed, drug using, butt-naked bunnies that go on adorably offensive, insultingly hilarious adventures!!! Your journey into off color fun begins here, with this mix of Adventure Time and underground comix!!!
Itty Bitty Bunnies: Tales From the Crib
It’s time for another round of tasteless tales from Rainbow Pixie Candy Land’s resident raunchy rabbits, Phil and Tyrone. Please join them as they kill their liver, take in a puppet show, do unspeakable things to a frog prince, and trip hard with Willy Nellson! No, really.
It’s Game of Thrones with cardboard homes as this wild new series brings an inner city’s hidden world to life in contemporary fantasy style! First Coast City’s homeless suffer under the thumb of tyrant, Philip the Ax. As the seeds for a violent coup begin to sprout, it falls to benevolent vagabond Simon to try to stave off war and bring peace back to the alleys. Then: Simon takes control of the underground homeless “kingdom,” and the Ax’s thumbless victims start a phalanges-deficient support group. Now: Son, the young outsider caught up in the local drama, discovers another clue about his father only to have his search derailed when demons from the past come back to threaten the kingdom.
“First Do No Harm” Chapter 1 Health care for super villains! Criminal mastermind Malady has recruited a team of down on their luck physicians to provide medical aid for the world’s worst bad guys. Led by the brilliant Ethan Sharp, the blackmailed doctors struggle to uphold their own ethical codes (or lack thereof) in violent and confusing battlefields. And when one doctor goes rogue, the rest learn a terrifying lesson from Malady.
What if Marilyn Monroe fell in love with Jesus of Nazareth and tried to save him from the cross? There is a world in which this scenario is not that far-fetched: the world of MISBEGOTTEN–a post-apocalyptic saga about hot clones, holy relics, and a priest sent on a mission to spoil the most accurate passion play ever.
Night of the 80’s Undead
It’s 1986, and Russia’s last-ditch Cold War effort is to strike at our American excess lifestyle with bio-engineered Colombian cocaine. What happens when two girls out for a good time cross paths with a huge celebrity party hyped up on commie zombie blow? Radical undead action, man! Totally!
A sequel to the acclaimed Full Moon space western that introduced the world to “cowboys and aliens!” The backwater planet Oblivion has fallen on hard times, but everything’s about to get harder for Marshall Zack Stone with the arrival of Lyz Azorr, the daughter of notorious outlaw, RED EYE!
Charles Band’s long-running cult classic horror film series makes its way to the comic page! When a group of friends sets out to use the abandoned Bodega Bay Inn as a party spot, they find out first-hand that the bizarre local folklore is more truth than fantasy as an army of twisted autonomous Puppets have their way with the trespassing teens! The Puppets are back, and they’re out for blood!
Scum of the Earth
Laura and True are a pair of rednecks travelling the South, leaving a trail of mayhem and murder in their wake… could be the only thing able stop them be something not of this world?!? Scum of the Earth is a crazy grindhouse road movie and sci-fi manhunt mash-up that will keep you guessing, and fiending for more!
Sleigher is the most recent (and reluctant) heir of the centuries old lineage to bear the title of “Santa Claus.” He’d rather slam back bourbon than glasses of milk, and blast metal instead of carols. But when evil rears its head before he’s delivered a single present, maybe he’s found his true calling—dishing out a holiday ass whoopin’!!!
When awkward high school teen Jasper Dixon conceals an injury sustained during a hunting excursion with his family, his infected wolf bite combined with the hormonal changes of puberty triggers a disturbing physical transformation. Now he’s forced to confront his Deep South upbringing and monsters far worse than what he’s become!
It’s 1985 and the Multiverse is in Crisis. Luckily for Griffin Griffins, a mysterious man known only as The Gatekeeper is gathering Griffins from parallel Earths to live under one roof. But can Griffin survive living with four versions of himself? Containing a slew of bonus material, including the previously unreleased “unaired” pilot (three pages of which are featured below!), Space-Time Condo Season One is a must have for fans of sitcoms like Friends, Arrested Development and Seinfeld, as well af fans of DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Spencer & Locke
When his grade-school sweetheart is found dead, there’s only one friend Detective Locke can trust to help solve her murder — his childhood imaginary panther, Spencer. But when they face a vicious crime syndicate and memories from Locke’s traumatic youth, can this unlikely pair survive long enough to find the truth.
Take a small town with a dark secret, a young man with a new home, and a paranoid cop and you’ve got Stillwater, a brand new horror tale sure to shake you to your core! Glimpse inside the madness of a pond and a creature beyond explanation.
Subculture, Vol. 1
10-Page Preview! Everything SubCulture in one book! Join Jason, Arthur, Noel and the entire Kingdom Comix crew as they live — and enjoy — the geek life in this funny and poignant look at fanboy (and fangirl) culture. This 336-page tome collects the critically-acclaimed four-issue mini-series plus all 501 webcomics published between 2008 and 2012. Also includes dozens of strips from guest artists, pinups, and behind-the-scenes features.
Michelle survived being attacked by the vampire Radu, defeated him on more than one occasion, and has been living with the fallout for years. Her life forever changed since she was infected by him, she has adjusted to her existence as a creature of the night. Now, though, the unthinkable has happened. Radu has resurfaced… only now there appears to be FIVE incarnations of the fiendish vampire.
After the death of his mother, Christian moves with his single father to the sleepy coastal town of Shell Bay. Upon being bullied at his new school, he’s quickly befriended by the group of “weird” kids. But what Christian doesn’t know is that their playful occult shenanigans may actually be rituals that damn his soul!
Marcus Greenberg has a very particular set of skills, as a former Navy S.E.A.L., he does the dirty work of our nation’s superheroes, keeping his clients out of the papers and off of death row. With the help of his assistant Russell, a reformed shape-shifting supervillain, Greenberg is the go-to-guy for making super-sins disappear. He is, The Consultant.
The Final Plague
The Final Plague has begun, and with it mankind’s final hours. Can a rural Iowan family survive the initial onslaught of crazed, rabid animals, presumably the product of a mutated super-virus? Or will they succumb to the plague that threatens to end all life as we know it? From the creator of Top Shelf’s BB Wolf and the 3 LPs.
The Harcourt Legacy
Rich occultist Edward Harcourt lies on his deathbed. After a lifetime of searching for true magic, Edward thinks he’s found some answers, and he wants to pass them along to his grandniece, a gloomy teenager named Violet. But that may be a problem for Edward’s sister Edwina, who has her own plans for his legacy.
A group of college kids on a desert-baked road trip take a Native American drug that unlocks their deepest fears. Now, if a teenager and his grandfather from the local reservation can’t find them in time, they’re going to have to face their own personal terrors, or be consumed by them! The Trip is an Indian drug fueled ride into horror!!
The death of a childhood friend sparks a series of events that lead Addison from teenage field hockey player to a murderer of criminals. There’s no lack of targets for her in a city built on corruption, but payback doesn’t come for free. Addison’s reality begins to blur in the pursuit of vengeance and justice is used as justification to become a monster.
Based on the cult film, Trancers is the story of decorated Police Trooper Jack Deth who has travelled from the year 2247 to 1985 Los Angles on a one-way mission to capture a fugitive with the power to transform ordinary people into psychotic killing machines.
When a young comic shop employee is transformed by mystical blades into a walking talking (and slicing & dicing) 90s comic book bad girl, she must quickly learn how to survive the new grotesque world the blades reveal. Now, other-dimensional parasites hidden all around us resembling the “space vampires” from the 90s comic, Vampblade, are all too real, and out for her blood!
JURASSIC PARK MEETS TOP CHEF! Haunted by the death of his sister, Chef Nate Willner has lost his desire to cook. Forced to move back to his hometown in Utah and work at a coffee shop, Nate’s life is quickly becoming a dead end. But when he unexpectedly inherits a time travel suit that takes him to the age of dinosaurs, Nate’s passion for cooking is reignited!
The series relaunch previewed in the recent issue 0 continues here. Join creator Dan Mendoza for the all new adventures of the cult hit series featuring his undead anti-hero, Zombie Tramp, now brought to life by the amazing talents of new superstar artist, TMChu. It’s kinky supernatural fun as Zombie Tramp hits the road, starting in… Sin City of course!
Zombie Tramp vs. Vampblade
In a story too big to contain in the pages of her regular monthly series, fan-favorite undead anti-heroine Zombie Tramp breaks out into an all-new limited series that pits her against a new larger-than-life supernatural foe… Vampblade! Can Zombie Tramp hold her own against this new interdimensional weapon-wielding comic book bad girl brought to life, or has she met her sexy/crazy/cool match? Let the hair pulling and blood spilling begin!
Zombie Tramp: Origins
The impossible to find, long out of print original series, in full color for the first time! Revisit the powerful origin story that launched a modern cult classic as high priced Hollywood call girl, Janey Belle, gets set on her fateful path to become… Zombie Tramp! This is a remastered reprinting of the first series that was never before released in single issues to the direct market. Features a new cover by series creator Dan Mendoza, as well as all new SEXY, and GORY variants (each with risqué variants), plus a “replica” variant (featuring a recreation of the rare first issue cover), and a blank sketch variant! The definitive collector edition!
We at PopCultHQ would like to thank Jason Martin for taking the time for this spotlight interview. We’d also like to give an extra special thanks to all the Action Lab creators we’ve had the privilege in working with over the years. Congratulations on an amazing five year run and excited for what the next five have in store from the mad scientists at the Action Lab! Be sure to follow Action Lab Entertainment and Action Lab: Danger Zone online to stay in thr loop with all the incredible titles they’re putting out! (links below)