Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Evil comes in all sizes — and now it comes to comics.
Action Lab Entertainment has drafted the cult horror movie franchise Puppet Master as the newest in its growing line of comics titles beginning March 2015. Licensed directly from creator Charles Brand, the Puppet Master comic series sees the menacing marionettes who have evolved from creepy villains to somewhat likeable anti-heroes looking to get a life of their own outside of their wooden bodies. Written by long-time fan (and Action Lab co-founder) Shawn Gabborin and illustrated by Michela Da Sacco, Puppet Master follows in the footsteps of the movie franchise’s ten films while aiming to be new reader friendly for those that haven’t seen the films (or haven’t seen them in some time).
ROBOT 6 spoke with Gabborin about the series, and Action Lab has provided us with a exclusive preview of the book in advance of its March 2015.
Ahead of New York Comic Con, Action Lab Entertainment has announced it will publish Katie Cook’s popular webcomic Gronk: A Monster’s Story.
Debuting in 2010, Gronk centers on a young monster who turns her back on monster-kind (primarily because she’s too adorable to scare anyone) and moves in with her human friend Dale and her pets Kitty and Harli.
A Harvey Award nominee, Cook is widely known for her work on licensed properties like Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings and IDW Publishing’s popular My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic comic series.
“I’ve been approached before about taking my self-published books to another publishing ‘level,'” Cook said in a statement, “but it’s ALE that, in the end, I trust to do it. It’s a team that is made up of some of the nicest people I’ve gotten to know in comics and they really are trying to put together something special. I am thrilled to put Gronk (and myself) in their lineup.”
Cook will exhibit as NYCC in Artists Alley (table C-1o), and will sign a limited-edition issue of Gronk Friday and Sunday at the Action Lab Entertainment booth (#3044).
Although Saturday at Comic-Con International was dominated by movies and television — led by Warner Bros. Pictures, Marvel Studios and Legendary Pictures — there was still room for plenty of comics news. First and foremost, the announcement of Marvel’s Star Wars plans.
That line, telling canonical stories set between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, launches in January with Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, followed in February by Star Wars: Darth Vader, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov, and in March by the miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia, by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.
“What’s great about this time period is that all the characters are kind of on the table,” Aaron told CBR News. “Of course this is still early on and these people have pretty much just met each and just come together. So they’re still finding their place within this group and sort of figuring out their relationships with each other. Then there’s the fact that when you look at the gap between Episode IV and Episode V there’s some pretty major beats that happen off screen. So this gives up the opportunity to grab those beats and lay them down as part of the same canon as the movies.”
Action Lab Entertainment, which publishes such titles as Princeless, Vamplets and Skyward, announced at Comic-Con International that it has acquired the license to the horror-movie franchise Puppet Master.
The comic series will be written and edited by Shawn Gabborin (Fracture, Snowed In), with franchise creator Charles Band selecting the roster of artists. No release date was given.
The film series debuted in 1989 with Puppet Master, the story of an elderly puppet maker named Andrew Toulon, who discovers an ancient Egyptian potion that he uses to bring his creations to life. Pursued by Nazis, Toulon hides the dolls and kills himself, only for the murderous marionettes to be revived 50 years later by a rogue psychic.
The original film spawned nine sequels and prequels, a four-issue comic, action figures and collectible cards.
Manga | While at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, I had a chance to study the French manga market and talk to some of the publishers. Manga represents more than one-third of the French comics market (last year, there were more new manga releases than BDs), and sales and production dipped for the first time last year. [Publishers Weekly]
Comics | Gary Cox rounds up reactions from refugees to the Australian government’s online comic that warns them not to try to enter the country without a visa. “The people who are coming here are not economic migrants, they’re coming to have a safer, peaceful life here,” says Ibrar Hassani. And an advocate for refugees pointed out that the images of refugees suffering in detention centers were evidence that the government is deliberately mistreating them. [SBS]
Action Lab Entertainment has announced a 2014 publishing slate that includes something darker from Princeless artist Mia Goodwin, rural horror from Jeremy Holt and Alex Diotto, and sci-fi action from James Patrick and Carlos Trigo.
The descriptions and cover art can be found below.
Conventions | Coast City Comicon returns this weekend to Portland, Maine, and Batman artist Chris Burnham, who will be a guest, drums up excitement by explaining the nuances of Batman’s nostrils to the local newspaper. Other guests include Mike Norton, Yanick Paquette, Rachel Deering, Ben Templesmith, Alex de Campi, JK Woodard and Lee Weeks. [Portland Press-Herald]
Publishing | Jamal Igle and Kelly Dale have been named marketing co-directors of Action Lab Entertainment, with Igle handling public relations and promotions and Dale coordinating retailer outreach. [ICv2.com]
Creators | Brian Heater interviews Paul Pope for the latest RIYL podcast. [BoingBoing]
Creators | Ed Piskor talks about his love of hip-hop and his latest graphic novel, Hip Hop Family Tree. [TribLive]
Here’s an announcement you don’t see very often — a price drop. Action Lab Entertainment, publishers of Princeless, NFL RushZone and the upcoming Molly Danger series, announced at C2E2 this weekend that they plan to drop prices on all their ongoing series later this year.
Starting with the titles in June’s Previews catalog, Action Lab’s ongoing, 32-page comics will drop from $3.99 to $2.99. The licensed NFL RushZone, which is 20 pages, will drop to $1.99 and come out twice monthly. This month sees the number of Action Lab’s ongoing titles almost double, as they launch several new mature readers comics under the Action Lab: Danger Zone imprint. These titles include Ehmm Theory, The Final Plague, Ghost Town and Night of the ’80s Undead.
Additionally, beginning with Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger in July, Action Lab will also offer “a number of 48 page oversized European style hardcovers at $19.99,” according to the press release.
At some point I heard Joe Grahn and Carl Yonder’s Pirate Eye described as “pirate noir,” and for me, the words suggested a mash-up of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Maltese Falcon. I figured it must take place in a fantasy world where fedoras and jazz lived side by side with cutlasses and lace. That would be fun concept, appropriate to the silly title, but I’m grateful to have been wrong about it.
Despite the pun, Pirate Eye is a comic that deserves to be taken seriously. It’s set in the real world during the historical age of piracy, and there’s nothing goofy about it. The main character Smitty is a former buccaneer who now uses his talents for good – or at least, legal – purposes. As he explains it, there’s not a lot of difference between seeking out treasure to take it from someone, and finding it on that person’s behalf. The big distinction is that Smitty gets paid for the latter instead of risking the gallows. Using that premise, Grahn and Yonder will be able to tell all sorts of noir-ish detective stories in the seedy streets of a Caribbean town.
Fresh off the success of the creator-owned series PrinceLess by Jeremy Whitley, the enterprising Pittsburgh-based publisher Action Lab Entertainment is expanding — by teaming up with the fellow indie publisher Super Real Graphics.
Action Lab announced Monday it’s merging with Super Real, and that the latter’s founder Jason Martin will come on board Action Lab to spearhead a new mature readers line called Danger Zone. Action Lab has been a quick riser in comics, with PrinceLess making a name for itself and garnering an Eisner nomination along the way, and industry veterans like Jamal Igle choosing the company to publish creator-owned work. But Action Lab has up until now been strictly focused on all-ages material, so this announcement of a mature readers line is a big jump for the small publisher.
According to the press release, Action Lab’s Danger Zone imprint already has several titles lined up, including a book by Tony Fleecs and Tone Rodriguez called American Gothic Chick.
As part of the merger with Super Real, that company’s titles such as Zombie Tramp and Super Real will be be re-issued and potentially expanded upon at Action Lab.
Seven months after announcing the end of his exclusive contract with DC Comics, fan-favorite artist Jamal Igle is venturing into his own all-ages adventure series he’s hoping to fund through Kickstarter.
Called Molly Danger, the four-volume hardcover story follows “the world’s most powerful 10-year-old girl,” who’s protected the city of Coopersville for the past 20 years, but longs for a real life with a real family. Things change when D.A.R.T. (The Danger Action Response Team), an organization created to assist and monitor Molly, recruits a new pilot named Austin Brigg,s who hopes to impress his stepson, a fan of Molly Danger.
“As the father of a young girl, I’ve found myself disheartened that there isn’t a female superhero character for my daughter to read that hasn’t been turned into a killer, or overtly sexualized,” Igle said in a press release. “A character that isn’t joined at the hip to a male hero or subservient to one.”
Igle, best known for his work on DC’s Supergirl and Firestorm, will kick off the 30-day Kickstarter campaign Aug. 1, with a fund-raising goal of $45,000. Action Lab Entertainment, which publishes Princeless, will handle release and distribution of Molly Danger. Igle’s also created a teaser trailer (below) and production blog.
Princeless, the all-ages comic about a princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued, led the 2012 Glyph Comics Awards, taking home honors for story of the year, best writer and best female character. The awards, which recognize “the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year,” were presented this weekend at the 11th annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia.
The winners are:
Story of the year: Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab Entertainment)
Best writer: Jeremy Whitley, Princeless (Action Lab Entertainment)
Best artist: Sara Pichelli, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Marvel)
Best cover: Chew #27, Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
Best male character: Miles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Man; Brian Michael Bendis, writer, Sara Pichelli, artist; inspired by the character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel)
Best female character: Adrienne, Princeless; created by Jeremy Whitley, writer, and M. Goodwin, artist (Action Lab Entertianment)
Rising star award for best self-publisher: Whit Taylor, Watermelon
Best comic strip or webcomic: Fungus Grotto, by Ms. Shatia Hamilton