Action Lab Entertainment stormed San Diego Comic-Con 2013 with their first ever panel and announced not only a number of its upcoming new releases for late 2013 and into 2014, but also its launching of the “Return of the Hero”—a number of titles intended at pushing the boundaries of what a superhero story can be.
At the Saturday evening panel, the Action Lab’s top staff showed the audience a presentation featuring highlights of its future projects. The publisher also brought out many creators from its growing stable of creator-owned talent, including name talent from comics, toys, and other media, to share about their exciting new works!
For all-ages readers, the Eisner-nominated Princeless returns, beginning with an encore release of the original mini-series followed immediately by two new four-issue story arcs. The first issue of the Princeless Encore Edition will be priced at an introductory-friendly $1.00, and will release in November, with future releases arriving in stores monthly.
Previewed next was Vamplets, based on the toy line created by Gayle Middleton, who played a large role in the redesign of My Little Pony and The Littlest Pet Shop. These oversized 48-page hardcovers, released two or three times a year, tell the story of a human girl who gets talked into running the Nightmare Nursery for little monsters. The first hardcover launches in October.
Eisner Award-winner Lea Hernandez’s The Garlicks, also an all-ages “little monster” tale, gets a similar oversized hardcover treatment. The Garlicks is about a non-traditional vampire family and the daughter who wants to draw graphic novels, and debuts in January.
Action Lab also announced the launching of a number of superhero-related books, and used the theme “Return of the Hero” to connect them. The idea behind the ‘return of the hero’ is that the publisher wants to put a new spin on the superhero title—they want to give readers the genre in a way they have never seen before.
The Return of the Hero begins with the launch of Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger, a 48-page oversized hardcover graphic novel that tells the tale of a ten-year old girl with amazing powers including, apparently, the ability to stay ten years old forever. Other titles include: Jack Hammer, a superhero who doesn’t quite cut the mustard and thus becomes a private investigator who deals with superhero crimes; The First Hero, morality tale where a man becomes a hero in a world filled with villains; and the launch, in December, of volume 2 of Fracture, about a hero with multiple identities, some of which he can’t control.
Action Lab also previewed plans for its mature readers line, Danger Zone. Phase Two of the Danger Zone line begins with a new volume of the popular Zombie Tramp by Dan Mendoza. Zombie Tramp moved to Action Lab from its prior life at Super Real Graphics when SRG’s Jason Martin joined Action Lab to lead its Danger Zone brand. Zombie Tramp V2 #1 releases in October.
Danger Zone also showed off Bo Plushy Gangsta, a tale of a gang boss who becomes the victim of a voodoo curse and is turned into a cuddly teddy bear, but retains his lethal personality. Created by a Russian video game artist, Bo’s wild concept is equally matched by its amazing visuals, and will hit shelves starting in January 2014.
One title that the panel audience seemed to embrace instantly was the quirky Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candy Land, by Australian cartoonist Dean Rankine, touted by Action Lab as “the foulest comic you will ever read.” Danger Zone president Jason Martin explained, “It’s basically Adventure Time by way of Freak Brothers!” It is scheduled for early 2014 release.
Other 2014 Danger Zone titles include Scum of the Earth, advertised as “southern-friend grindhouse with a twist”, and Crimson Society, featuring a man, infected with lycanthropy, in a near-future world that puts a new spin on monster archetypes.