10 Questions With Action Lab: Danger Zone’s Jason Martin

night of the 80s undead #1 coverWith San Diego Comic-Con kicking off this week, we got a chance to interview the writer of Night of the 80’s Undead, Jason Martin about the series, Action Lab, and his career in comics.

Martin was nice enough to be subjected to 10 Questions!

Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?

Jason Martin: I self-published my own comic, Super Real, an over-the-top mash-up of reality TV and comic book super-heroes, and then started publishing other books under my Super Real Graphics (SRG) imprint (such as Wolves of Odin, and Zombie Tramp).

GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?

JM: Yes, and yes. I started reading Marvel in the late 70’s with their Star Wars adaptations, and then got into the black & white indie comics of the early to mid-80’s. I stopped reading for about a decade and then got back into them in the mid-90’s, and haven’t stopped since. (I’m a junkie, it’s true!)

GP: How did you come to work with Action Lab on this project?

JM: I actually run their mature readers imprint, Danger Zone, which my Night of the 80’s Undead is a part of. Dave Dwonch, Action Lab’s creative director and I have worked together before, and things lined up for me to join him at Action Lab. He and I both really love working with other creators to help bring cool projects to the market (and our own books too).

GP: Where did the idea of Night of the 80s Undead come from?

JM: I was looking to create a zombie anthology, featuring Zombie Tramp stories and more, and wanted to create a short zombie story of my own. My idea to do something 80’s with zombies came later, but once it did, it quickly took on a life of it’s own…

GP:  Night of the 80s Undead has a lot of pop culture references, what’d you do to prep for the series and are you a general fan of pop culture?

JM: Watched too much TV, read too many comics, listened to massive amounts of music, and checked out as many cool movies as I could… for 40 years!

GP: The coloring of the series screams 80s with its pastel coloring. How much input did you have when it came to the art and coloring?

JM: Well, I’m an artist, but on this book I’m collaborating with Bill McKay for the art, he’s great. Since I’m pretty visual, my scripts tend to be fairly detailed, but Bill adds and changes things some (and tolerates my panel layout OCD). Also, I color the book, and asked Bill to let me do so straight from his pencils. I love pencil art, plus, his pencils are great, and they add a nice raw/rough element to the art. But yes, I’m using a pretty aggressive 80’s color scheme to help scorch the awesomeness into retinas.

GP:  The comics from the time were the beginning of the “gritty” period and when it blew up. Were there any thoughts on incorporating that time for comic books?

JM: No, I saw this as more an exploration of 80’s genre cinema (aka VHS movies), and 80’s Undead, while gory and dark, is all about fun and the joy of comics.

GP: There’s a lot of winks and nods as to what’s happened over the years to some of these celebrities, were there any jokes you didn’t use because they went too far?

JM: Nope. I try not to censor myself. If I offend folks with a comic book about raging cocaine fueled zombie celebrities, then perhaps I’m doing something right.

GP: What types of hurdles have you met creating comics, and any lessons learned you can share? What advice do you have for someone breaking into the entertainment industry?

JM: The biggest hurdle is just committing to do it. To create that book you’ve dreamed up. In this day, if you have a passion for comics and want to tell your own stories, there are so many options for you. Go for it!

GP: What can we expect from you next?

JM: Maybe some 80’s Undead sequels? But first, issue 2 and 3, then the trade paperback collection. Plus you can get the book digitally too. We’ve got lots of really cool books coming out now from Danger Zone, and more on the way. So hopefully I can get some more concepts of my own into the mix. I have no shortage of ideas and stories.