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Dan Mendoza and Action Lab Entertainment Settle a Lawsuit as Creators Speak Out About the Publisher

Zombie Tramp is one of the longest running comic series published by Action Lab Entertainment and its “Danger Zone” imprint. The series original launched by Dan Mendoza and was self-published from 2009 to 2011 before Action Lab began publishing it in 2013. But, not all was good behind the scenes. Mendoza filed a lawsuit against the publisher in April 2020 over the use of the character.

A joint statement has been released that the litigation has been withdrawn and the parties have settled. Under the agreement, Action Lab Entertainment will finish and release a final seven-issue run of the Zombie Tramp comic book issues it has been producing. That should end by next summer.

Dan Mendoza and Action Lab Entertainment, Inc. announced today that they have reached an agreement to respectfully part ways on the production of Zombie Tramp, and to place the Zombie Tramp character and story back into its original creator’s hands for the future.

Mendoza stated:

This is a meaningful agreement between me and Action Lab Entertainment, Inc. which allows Zombie Tramp fans to Get Back to the source of what Zombie Tramp was about from its inception — Creepy, Grindhouse Horror with a slice of sexy, with the original Leading Lady that Fans Love — Janey Belle; all written and drawn by me once again. I am happy that Zombie Tramp will be coming home to join all of my new characters at my self-published Label, Still ILL Princess Studios. I’m proud of the work we created at Action Lab, but happy to have Zombie Tramp return to my individual and full creative control.

Bryan Seaton, Action Lab Co-Founder stated about the settlement:

We are pleased to reach this agreement with Dan Mendoza. It will allow Zombie Tramp fans to continue to follow Zombie Tramp’s adventures as the title returns to Dan and moves forward, which is how the book and character began. Action Lab is looking forward to giving Zombie Tramp fans a great final hurrah with our final issues, and I would also point out that the original origin story and the entire 84-issue run of Action Lab’s Zombie Tramp will continue to be available in print through Diamond and comic retailers, and digitally through Amazon and Comixology. We are pleased to have worked with Dan on the Action Lab Zombie Tramp title and look forward to seeing how he will carry the character forward.

While Mendoza and Action Lab have indicated they are happy with the conclusion, things are looking rough for the comic publisher. In recent weeks creators have become very vocal about the publisher and deals that have their comics being held by the publisher and difficult to regain the rights.

Stories about Action Lab sitting on comics, not releasing print editions, not paying creators, demanding cash payments for unsold stock to regain rights, the stories are the same over and over.

Creators have repeated stories about Action Lab claiming comics were not profitable so no payments were sent, overprinting comics leaving large stacks sitting in warehouses still, lack of promotion, missed deadlines, cancelations, and other unprofessional behavior.

We’ve reached out to Action Lab multiple times with no response. Creators who would like to discuss specifics can contact us here.

Underrated: Voracious: Appetite For Destruction

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Voracious: Feeding Time.


Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru have a new comic coming out in 2021, By The Horns. Because of the fact that these three have created one of my all time favourite series, I’m going to revisit the three volumes over the next couple of months. You can find the first column on Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives here, and the second on Feeding Time here.

Published by Action Lab, Voracious: Appetite for Destruction is written by Markisan Naso and drawn and lettered by Jason Muhr, with the co-creators being joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru. The series can usually grab your attention with the shortest of descriptions: “time travelling chef makes dinosaur sandwiches.”

It sounds awesome, right? Well, that’s because it is. But there’s a lot more to the series, including dinosaur cops, giant monsters and a strangely relatable dilemma throughout the series.

The first trade introduced the concept of time travel and dinosaur hunting, the second volume introduced us to dinosaur cops and an entirely new world as we learn that our hero wasn’t time travelling but hopping dimensions. The third brings everything together as we add a giant flying monster into the mix as the story hurtles to a remarkable conclusion.

Again, it sounds like it shouldn’t work as a story progression, but the comic never feels as though it’s out of hand; Markisan Naso has an excellent grasp on pacing and weaving the tale through some genuinely heart warming and wrenching scenes that continuously serve to keep the more science fiction aspects of the story feeling as though they’re perfectly natural occurrences.

Whereas the last trade effectively established the time travelling dimension hopping chef Nate as the villain in the story, Naso never quite lets you dislike the character; his action were and remain entirely sympathetic, and his desire to do the right thing even as he acknowledges his mistakes echoes across the page. Of course, the right thing in this case is stopping a significantly enlarged dinosaur as it rampages through Nate’s hometown of Black Fossil, a small desert town with a single cop who just happens to hold a massive dislike for our hero. Familial ties are a massive part of the entire story, but especially volume three as the shit hits the fan in ever increasing ways you see certain characters’ bonds deepen as they try not to fall apart.

I’ve yet to mention the artwork; Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru step up their game from the last volume, and there are some great silent panels as Naso literally lets the pictures tell a thousand words in conversation and character development. Although the high octane scenes are brilliant, it’s the subtle moments when the art shines brightest; the gradual fading of Gus’ memories, the pastel infused flashbacks and those previously mentioned silent conversations help elevate this volume into must read territory.

Voracious is one of the few series where I own both the floppy issues and the trades as, like I said in the last two columns:

“I put my money where my mouth is because Voracious is a wonderful breath of fresh air in an industry that has been choking on relaunches and rehashes; the five issues that make up Feeding Time are some of the highest scored comics that I have reviewed for Graphic Policy.

If you’re tired of reading about superheroes fighting each other and you want a story to take you across the emotional spectrum without the use of glowing rings then you need look no further. While the comic is about a time traveling, dinosaur hunting chef, it’s also a powerful look into what makes us who we are and how. It’s a story about mistakes and loss, and most importantly coping with those things.

If you want more Voracious, then you can check out the episode of GP Radio where we talked all about the dinosaur sandwiches with both Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr. The new book, by the same team, will be launching February 28th.


Unless the comics industry ceases to exist this week, Underrated will return next week.

Underrated: Voracious: Feeding Time

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Voracious: Feeding Time.


Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru have a new comic coming out in 2021, By The Horns. Because of the fact that these three have created one of my all time favourite series, I’m going to revisit the three volumes over the next couple of months. You can find the first column on Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives here.

Published by Action Lab, Voracious: Feeding Time is written by Markisan Naso and drawn and lettered by Jason Muhr, with the co-creators being joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru. The first volume can usually grab your attention with the shortest of descriptions: “time travelling chef makes dinosaur sandwiches.”

It sounds awesome, right? Well, that’s because it is. But it’s also so much more than just that elevator pitch. The second volume is better than the first, but it also takes a left turn when the dinosaur cops Owen and Gus are introduced. You see while Nate may have been travelling back in time to hunt dinosaurs, our assumption was always that they’d be wiped out by an asteroid so no biggie, right? Only Nate hadn’t just been bouncing back in time, but rather into an alternate dimension/timeline where dinosaurs would evolve into intelligent beings.

As you can imagine, hunting the dinosaurs that would eventually evolve is having a disastrous effect on the future of that world as people disappear and are forgotten as their ancestors are turned into burgers and steaks.

It’s a stunning reversal in the story when you realize that Nate, the sympathetic lead of the first volume is also an accidentally diabolical villain in this volume. Or he would be if Naso wasn’t able to continue weaving a tale where you want Gus and Owen to stop the man responsible for Gus’ wife’s disappearance but you also want to make sure that Nate’s business doesn’t go under.

Voracious: Feeding Time has one of my favourite comics within it (issue three) – the entire volume is brilliant, but it certainly peaks around the third issue with the combination of art and writing reaching a height that Voracious hadn’t yet seen. This was the issue when I realized the creative team were destined to write some fantastic comics together. Voracious: Feeding Time is an absolute joy to explore as we witness the series transition from the first volume’s fun to a deep treatise about memory and the importance of cherishing those in your life.

Voracious is one of the few series where I own both the floppy issues and the trades as, like I said in the last column:

“I put my money where my mouth is because Voracious is a wonderful breath of fresh air in an industry that has been choking on relaunches and rehashes; the five issues that make up Feeding Time are some of the highest scored comics that I have reviewed for Graphic Policy.

If you’re tired of reading about superheroes fighting each other and you want a story to take you across the emotional spectrum without the use of glowing rings then you need look no further. While the comic is about a time traveling, dinosaur hunting chef, it’s also a powerful look into what makes us who we are and how. It’s a story about mistakes and loss, and most importantly coping with those things.

If you want more Voracious, then you can check out the episode of GP Radio where we talked all about the dinosaur sandwiches with both Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr. The new book, by the same team, will be launching February 28th.


Unless the comics industry ceases to exist this week, Underrated will return next week.

Underrated: Voracious: Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Voracious: Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives.


Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabucaru have a new comic coming out in 2021, By The Horns. Because of the fact that these three have created one of my all time favourite series, I’m going to revisit the three volumes over the next couple of months starting with the one that kicked it all off: Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives.

This is an older column from 2017, but seeing as how I stand by what I wrote then, I’m rerunning it.

This week I wanted to take a look at a series that I think epitomizes what this column is about: a great comic book series or story that too few people have read. Published by Action Lab, Voracious is written by Markisan Naso and drawn by Jason Muhr, with the co-creators being joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru, and can usually grab your attention with the shortest of descriptions: “time travelling chef makes dinosaur sandwiches.”

It sounds awesome, right? Well, that’s because it is.

In an ideal world, that’s really all you would need to rush out and buy the two trade paper back collections (Diners, Dinosaurs & Dives and Feeding Time), but it can be tough to buy two trades wholly on those words – I get that. I really do. Look, it’s no secret that Voracious is one of my favourite series to come out in the last couple of years (you can find the reviews for most of the comics in the two miniseries under this search),  and it’s one of the few that I’ll buy in floppy form after reading the review copies – and it’s the only one that I also buy the TPBs as well.

You see, I put my money where my mouth is because Voracious is a wonderful breath of fresh air in an industry that has been choking on relaunches and rehashes; the five issues that make up Feeding Time are some of the highest scored comics that I have reviewed for Graphic Policy. Voracious does have an awesome elevator pitch, but that’s not what draws me into the series (though it certainly helped).

After only nine comics (technically ten, but the first issue was a double sized comic) Markisan Naso has become one of Those writers who has earned my complete and utter trust; I will probably buy anything that he puts out from this point on. Aside from having an excellent music taste, Naso has an ability to give a unique voice to his characters that when combined with Jason Muhr’s artistic ability allows you to understand all you need to know about a character within a page or two at most. Yes, there are deeper layers to the people you’re watching navigate their lives on the page, and they’re expertly revealed as the series progresses in a way that you’re never really subjected to an-out-of-left-field moment that takes you out of the story because of a character’s actions because of how well developed they are; you won’t be shocked at the actions of the people in the comic because it all seems so in character for them once you understand their motivations.

As with any well written story featuring time travel you hope the visuals measure up to the intricacies of the story, and oh boy do they ever.Voracious_02-8

Jason Muhr is a brilliant visual story teller; there are so many brilliant double page spreads where his talents shine, and yet some of my favourite moments are the ones where Muhr focuses in on the emotions playing across the face of the character he is drawing; obviously I want to avoid significant spoilers so I’m not showing you as many pages from later issues, which is a disservice to both you and Muhr because as the series progressed he really found his groove.

If you’re tired of reading about superheroes fighting each other and you want a story to take you across the emotional spectrum without the use of glowing rings then you need look no further. While the comic is about a time traveling, dinosaur hunting chef, it’s also a powerful look into what makes us who we are and how. It’s a story about mistakes and loss, and most importantly coping with those things.

Voracious is the best comic you’ve never read, so change that. I haven’t heard a singe person I’ve made read the book complain in anyway. This story is what comics are all about; a masterpiece of visual story telling that couldn’t be told any other way even half as effectively as it is in comic form.

Now, excuse me while I go and read both trades again.

If you want more Voracious, then you can check out the episode of GP Radio where we talked all about the dinosaur sandwiches with both Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr.


Unless the comics industry ceases to exist this week, Underrated will return next week.

Preview: Jupiter Jet and the Forgotten Radio

Jupiter Jet and the Forgotten Radio

(W) Jason Inman, Ashley Victoria Robinson (A) Ben Matsuya (C) Elizabeth Kramer (CA) Jonboy Meyers
In Shops: Nov 25, 2020
SRP: $14.99

17-year-old superhero Jupiter Jet has kept Olympic Heights safe for the last year. Her flying skills are unmatched, and the city loves her. But she dreams of soaring across the solar system and liberating humanity from the clutches of The Praetors, the aliens that imprisoned them. Not even her little brother’s discovery of a long-forgotten radio can change her mind. When the mysterious Black Flyer arrives in orbit, Jupiter Jet finds out that her flying techniques may not be up to the task. Being a hero requires more than just a jetpack. Does Jupiter Jet have the courage to save her entire planet?

Jupiter Jet and the Forgotten Radio

Preview: Hiccups: Fun Stories

Hiccups: Fun Stories

Writer Name(s): Miguel Martinez-Joffre
Artist Name(s): Miguel Martinez-Joffre
52 pgs./E/FC
$9.99
Purchase

Hiccups Fun Stories is four hilarious adventures in one exciting comic book, making a collection as brisk and silly as a bout of hiccups. Readers of all ages will earn merit badges in space with Luna Destiny and the Moon Berets, solve ridiculous mysteries in the Old West with Sheriff Ratatan, rescue marvels of nature with Hip and Popo, and practice magic in middle school with Luz and Sado.

Hiccups: Fun Stories

Check Out Today’s New Digital Comic releases of Nearly 150 New Comics

Empyre #6

It’s new comic book day and comiXology has your hookup for your digital needs! There’s nearly 150 new digital comics for you to get right now. Check out the full list of comics here and get buying now or see what you can get by publisher below.

AAM-Markosia

Ablaze

Action Lab Entertainment

AfterShock

Antarctic Press

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Black Mask Studios

BOOM! Studios

Caliber Comics

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

DC Thomson

Devil’s Due Comics

Dynamite Entertainment

Harlequin

Hermes Press

Humanoids

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Kodansha

Marvel

Oni Press

Papercutz

Titan Comics

Valiant

Zenescope


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Revisit the world’s greatest horror-themed amusement park in Midnight Massacre!

All in print, all together, all for the first time! Action Lab: Danger Zone presents the complete collection of John and Ben Matsuya’s Midnight Massacre! This graphic novel is perfect if you’re a fan of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldShaun of the DeadCabin in the Woods, or Adventureland. An amusing horror story guaranteed to make you smile as much as gasp, Midnight Massacre will be available on September 23rd at a comic store near you! Midnight Massacre features art by Ben Matsuya with color assist by Aaron Daly and Erin Fekete, covers by Ben Matsuya, Jasen Smith, and Megan Huang, and edited by Shawn Gabborin and Nicole D’Andria.

Halloween is on the horizon for the visitors of Calico Adventure Park,  and the park’s executives have been hard at work preparing for their annual extravaganza, the park’s “Midnight Massacre”. But this year’s main event is going to be more horrifying, more visceral, more realistic, and more unexpected than any of the park’s visitors could ever realize. We’re not talking about employees in suits, folks. We’re talking monsters—the real deal. And when all hell breaks loose, it’s up to Amy Nicholson, a jaded games booth employee and her friends to save the park, the town, and maybe even the world.

So, join Amy Nicholson, jaded games employee, as she and her friends save the town, save the park, and save the world, one horrifying monstrosity at a time in the complete print collection of Midnight Massacre! Coming soon to a comic shop near you, order the graphic novel with Diamond item code JUL200967!

MIDNIGHT MASSACRE

Review: Leap M

Leap M

There are many different types of crime stories. Leap M, a new one-shot from Action Lab‘s Danger Zone imprint, is one of the most original I’ve come across in a long time. It has the mood of a noir story, the emotional charge of a revenge fantasy, and the futuristic edge of a science-fiction thriller. The premise of Leap M revolves around a brutal but efficient means of controlling prison populations. This method gives new meaning to the saying, “the only real prison is your mind.” Convicted prisoners are chemically aged to match however much time they’ve been sentenced to serve. Then a virtual reality chip is inserted into the prisoner’s skull. The chip simulates the full length of their sentence within their mind and then runs a rehabilitation program.

After being framed for a murder he did not commit, Wilbur submits to his punishment and is aged forty-five years while undergoing the rehabilitation program. Once he’s released from prison, Wilber sets out to get revenge on those who framed him. Once Wilbur has been introduced and the plot details established, the story moves forward at an enthralling pace. Writer Doug Wood makes the most out of every page as Wilber works to discover who framed him and then sets out to enact his revenge. There’s a lot of visual storytelling, which I always enjoy. Wood generally keeps the dialogue to a minimum. When there is text in a panel it is narration that adds to a scene instead of just explaining what the reader is already seeing on the page. The narration sets the tone and the dialogue and action follow it seamlessly.

Artist Matt Battaglia doesn’t use the most refined or detailed style, but his illustrations fit the tone of Leap M perfectly. His heavy lines and dark shadowing are well suited for a gritty revenge story. The colors used by Battaglia in this comic differ from those of classic noir works. Instead of black and white with the occasional pop of bright red or another accent color, Battaglia uses muted greens and blues. Accent colors are used to fill in the background of panels. There’s also a flashback that is presented in full color. In the flashback, Battaglia does a great job of capturing the ferocity and direness of a battlefield.

Leap M has everything I want out of a crime story. Action that gets your adrenaline pumping, high stakes that deliver palpable tension, and a conclusion that produces an emotional response. I must confess that I’m not usually the biggest fan of the comics Action Lab puts out. However, Leap M has truly converted me. From the writing to the page layouts to the art, this one-shot is a prime example of quality comic book storytelling. 

Story: Doug Wood Art: Matt Battaglia Letters: Justin “Lettersquids”
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology

Preview: Leap M

LEAP M

Writer Name(s): Doug Wood
Artist Name(s): Matt Battaglia (Pencils, inks, and colors) and Lettersquids (Letters)
Cover Artist Name(s): Matt Battaglia
28 pgs./M/FC $2.99
Digital Release

In the future, to eliminate the overcrowding prison population, The US Government has created the Leap Machine, which ages a convict to their age of sentencing within an hour. A young dishonorably discharged veteran is framed for a crime and sentenced to the Leap. Now with the clock running out, he seeks revenge on the person who stole his life.

A tight revenge thriller in the vein of Frank Miller’s Sin City with the sci-fi revenge-edge of Rian Johnson’s Looper.

Up-and-coming writer Doug Wood, artist Matt Battaglia (colorist on Micheal Moreci’s Roche Limit), letterer Justin “Lettersquids”, and editor Nicole D’Andria team to bring to life a brutal story of revenge and time stolen.

LEAP M
Almost American
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