One of my favorite comic book small presses is Action Lab (Princeless, Skyward) and their mature readers imprint Danger Zone (Ehmm Theory, Double Jumpers). I thought it would be fun to talk to Danger Zone's president Jason Martin, but it was harder to track him down then Waldo in a candy cane factory, but I did it! We talk about the comic he wrote, Night of the 80's Undead, and growing up in the 80's. So put on your Vans or leg warmers and turn up your boombox!
Sharon: Could you tell our readers a little about yourself, Action Lab: Danger Zone and your comic Night of the 80's Undead?Jason: I run the new mature readers imprint for Action Lab Entertainment, Action Lab: Danger Zone. Danger Zone is a very cool lineup of creator-owned books all featuring imaginative genre-vexing concepts.
Night of the 80’s Undead is my book which I write and color, with artwork by Bill McKay. It’s a three issue series, with issue 1 out, and issue 2 that’s just come out (on 10/9).
And just like the title suggests, it’s the story of a Russian zombie virus contaminated Colombian cocaine supply, that’s unleashed on a big Hollywood party circa 1986, and a group of teens who crash the party only to find they must now survive the escalating coke zombie carnage!!!
Sharon: When did you get the idea to have a zombie comic set in the 80’s?
Jason: In early 2011… I had exhibited at a convention in Seattle called ZomBcon, and had also recently published a comic, Zombie Tramp, and those two things convinced me it was silly to resist doing my own zombie comic book. I’m a big zombie/horror/genre fan, but thought the market was oversaturated with zombie concepts… I saw the light, was blessed by Romero, course corrected, and then quickly came upon the idea of 80’s icons as zombies!
Sharon: How did you hook up with the artist Bill McKay? Does he share your love of all things 80’s or did you have to teach him?
Jason: After coming up with the concept, I quickly also shaped a plot, and in the meantime I’d met Bill via DeviantArt and we’d been talking about collaborating… then, upon developing 80’s Undead, it was the perfect fit for his talents. Also, to your point, we’re both generation X, about the same age, so we were raised in the 80’s, and it’s all natural life experience/nostalgia on both our parts. I won’t say which one of us had a raging coke habit, or slaughtered the “undead” with automatic weaponry though…
panels from issue #2
Jason: The movies!!! Blockbusters, VHS horror, sci-fi, action, it was a golden era for pop culture film! No wait, video games!! No, no, personal computers!!!! Wait… old school rap!
As far as the flipside? I dunno, again in geek terms… probably the loss of the newsstand market for comics… we’re still trying to get mainstream readers back into the fold! (Sorry, I know things just got a bit dark there)
Sharon: If you could live the life of an 80’s celebrity who would it be?
Jason: Burt Reynolds! The Trans Am, the mustache, haingin’ out with Dom DeLuise?!?! Come on!
Fun Burt Reynolds trivia, did you know, he used to pull nose hair to turn on the waterworks for scenes that required crying? …I mean, the man gave us so much.
|we will all take a moment to appreciate the 'stash|
Sharon: If you could go back in time and talk to your 80’s self, what would you tell him?
Jason: Buy stock in Apple, Starbucks, Marvel… keep a better eye on your pet dogs man… uh, don’t worry, new Coke is a gimmick… stuff like that.
Jason: Bill and I are finishing up issue 3 of 80’s Undead currently. Then I’ll have to carve out some time for a new project or two of my own… possibly a sequel?
As far as Danger Zone, we’ve got our first volumes wrapping up and coming out in trade paperbacks, and then some new series debuting. Some really exciting stuff like Zombie Tramp volume 2, Bo Plushy Gangsta, Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land. Lots of great stuff!
Sharon: Thanks for taking the time!
Jason: Thank you, those were some really fun questions!
About the author:
Publisher – Action Lab: Danger Zone
Creator – Night of the 80’s Undead, Super Real, Pulp Girls
Find everything 80’s Undead on my blog
An artist, creator, and publisher, Jason first broke into the industry in 2005 with his self-published comic, Super Real. From there he moved on to publish works by other creators, in addition to completing Super Real as a graphic novel, and has done freelance art for clients including Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network, and more.
“I’m incredibly excited to take my efforts at showcasing boundary pushing, genre redefining material that I began with my Super Real Graphics to an even larger audience with the backing of the talented folks at ALE,” exclaims Martin. “I’m as passionate for comics as a person can be, especially the creative and quirky ideas born from creators with a story to tell in this graphic medium, and truly love working with them to share their visions and mine.”
Say hi to artist Bill McKay