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[Interview] Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con 2017: Dan Mendoza

PopCultHQ was on-hand to cover this year’s Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con. While temps outside were around 118 degrees each day, it was plenty comfortable inside with the refreshing Las Vegas Convention Center’s A/C and the cool guests who appeared for the event. We were fortunate to get to speak with one of the creators from Action Lab: Danger Zone that was appearing in Sin City, Zombie Tramp & Dollface‘s Dan Mendoza!

We spoke with Dan about possible upcoming holiday special in the works for Zombie Tramp and Dollface, upcoming releases such as Zombie Tramp: Origins, the first Dollface trade, and Danger Doll Squad, his plans for a solo project, and the “Death of Zombie Tramp”!

PopCultHQ Interview:
Dan Mendoza

Creator Dan Mendoza @ Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con 2017

PopCultHQ: Let’s talk about your baby, Zombie Tramp. Now 35 or 36 issues in?

Dan Mendoza: Yeah, I just got finished drawing 37 three days ago.

PopCultHQ: Awesome! And the Volume 11 trade coming soon? Are we close?

Dan: 11 is on its way to the printers.

PopCultHQ: Can we expect any more holiday issues coming from you? Whether with Zombie Tramp or Dollface?

Dan: [Right now] What Action Lab is doing is pushing Danger Doll Squad, we’re looking for some more artists to get stuff done. But what I think what we’re doing now with us expanding with Dollface and we have Vampblade is we’re going to “share” the holidays, so it’s not just Zombie Tramp holidays. Maybe we’ll do a Dollface Christmas or something. Try to keep the Halloween one to Zombie Tramp. I think we’ll split it up like that but it’s all up to Action Lab. I like doing the holiday ones. Yeah, I like them.

PopCultHQ: Yeah they’re such great one-shots! With the upcoming release of the Dollface trade, you guys decided to change the content rating. How did that come about? Was that based off feedback from fans?

Dan: It’s kind of feedback from fans but it’s also just going to shows and just recognizing what kind of people are attracted to Dollface. It was kind of like in the beginning I was doing Dollface, doing character designs and doing this more anime, gothic lolita kinda-looking thing and I’m telling Bryan [Seaton], “Look, you see this? If we do this and cosplayers get into it, I mean there’s going to be a lot of girls into it because it’s so cute.” Then we started seeing that it really did happen. We’re kind of noticing that when a younger girl, like a teenage girl, sixteen or whatever, they like it because it’s cute and they pick it up and look at it, and as soon as they see there’s any nudity, they put it down. In this society, you know, violence is better than nudity, and that’s just the way it is. So we decided to censor out, in volume one, all of the nudity. There really wasn’t all that much, maybe four pages. So I did some minimal cover-ups but going forward there’s probably going to be no nudity in the books. If there is, I’ll edit them for the trades.

PopCultHQ: But this is strictly for Dollface?

Dan: Yes, strictly for Dollface, for the fanbase. We’re keeping it Teen+ because we’re noticing that we are getting those ages, sixteen and up and of female readers.

PopCultHQ: But it is staying under the Danger Zone label? 

Dan: Definitely. The Danger Zone logo, I think is Teen+ and up. Action Lab, which is all-ages, goes up to Teen. So we’re under Danger Zone.

PopCultHQ: Okay cool. You also have Zombie Tramp: Origins coming out.

ZOMBIE TRAMP: ORIGINS – Cover G by Dan Mendoza

Dan: Yeah, Zombie Tramp: Origins. We’ve been wanting to do it for a while and we’re finally getting it done. We’re taking all the single issues I did back in the day , it was three issues before we did our own trade. But it was just black and gray with a little bit of color. So  we decided, “Let’s re-release it” and re-letter it, because my lettering wasn’t the best, and get someone to color it so it’ll be a full-color reprint.

PopCultHQ: So kind of up-to-date?

Dan: Yeah, up-to-date. Same drawings but colored. It looks really nice. Issue one just went to the printers and it looks really nice!

PopCultHQ: So will Origins be a monthly ongoing or a quarterly release?

Dan: I want to say it’s going to be every month. It might be every other month.

PopCultHQ: I wasn’t sure on how much you wanted to bring back.

Dan: I think we’re going to go with just the first three, which is the Origins book, and then after that see if we want to do a volume two, because volume two was all black and gray as well.

PopCultHQ: That’s great! Are there any plans to expand the Zombie Tramp universe?

Dan: Yeah, we got another character coming up that’s going to be [a part of] Halloween ComicFest. It’s not my character, just like Vampblade’s not my character. Shawn Gabborin, who’s the writer of Puppet Master, he has a character called Black Betty and we’re going to introduce her at Halloween ComicFest. We’ll see how that takes off. But yeah, she’s being introduced into the Zombie Tramp universe.

PopCultHQ: So she’ll start off in a different series and then spin-off?

Dan: Yeah, there’ll be a different series on her. So as we get into the next year, I’m starting up this giant, long arc called “Death of Zombie Tramp” and we’re going to start seeing Black Betty here and there, and I think going well into her own series, but definitely Black Betty will be a part of that whole universe.

PopCultHQ: Now will this (“Death of Zombie Tramp”) be a crossover event? Spread across multiple titles?

Dan: Yeah it will. I’m not sure, it’s Action Lab’s call, but I don’t really like that too much. You know when Marvel or DC are like, “It’s a crossover!” and you have to buy twenty books to figure it out. Predominantly it’s going to be all Zombie Tramp books that this goes down in. So I think the other books? I don’t think it’s going to do that.

PopCultHQ: So more like special appearances and stuff like that?

Dan: Yeah I think we’re going to keep it mostly Zombie Tramp books, because I can’t stand that. [laughs]

Danger Doll Squad #0 – Cover A

PopCultHQ: Hey that’s okay! 

Dan: You know, it all started with me in the 90’s when I use to collect Silver Surfer and I liked Ron Lim‘s stuff and when they started that first one, that Infinity Gauntlet? Man, I was buying all these books and I was thinking, “I don’t have that much money!” I was just a kid, you know…I only had so much lunch money to spend.

PopCultHQ: Okay let’s talk about your solo, upcoming project!

Dan: Yeah, I’m starting up a solo project. Just for fun. You know, everything’s good with Action Lab. Some people think because I’m starting a solo project that I’m quitting Action Lab.

PopCultHQ: No, no, not at all. I work with indie creators all the time and I understand how it is.

Dan: Yeah, it’s just once in a while you just want to do your own thing and not have to worry about the deadline, or not have to worry about any of the politics of it, so I got an idea of another book I wanted to try. I’m going to start kicking that off this summer. So this summer, you’re going to see me release characters as I get them done and then a full-on Kickstarter, probably in October.

PopCultHQ: Oh a Kickstarter? Awesome! Are you just slated as the artist or will you be writing?

Dan: I’ll do everything in this book. I’ll probably not color it. I’ll have someone else color it. I’m not very fast at coloring.

PopCultHQ: So are you planning on self-publishing it then?

Dan: My plans are to try and self-publish and learn all the aspects of that side of the industry. Just getting it put on the shelf all by myself, you know and figure that out. If I hit a couple of bumps where that’s not working out, I’ll probably have to contract with another publisher. Not necessarily Action Lab, but I would just pitch it and see.

PopCultHQ: Are there any other appearance coming up where people can find you and meet you?

Dan: Yeah, San Diego Comic Con, of course.

PopCultHQ: Will you be with Action Lab or have your own booth?

Dan: I’ll be at the Action Lab booth (#2006). San Diego is just so crazy. The best thing to do is do the Action Lab booth and I just show up. I don’t bring anything. Just my pencil and markers.

 

PopCultHQ: Anything else you’d like to have fans be on the lookout for?

Danger Doll Squad #0 – Cover E

Dan: Yeah, Danger Zone Squad. It’s going to be a miniseries. If it does well, we’ll move on with more. That involves Zombie Tramp, Vampblade, and Dollface all together, they’re forced to work together. It’s established in the books now that no one really wants to deal with Zombie Tramp. She’s more monster than human now. It’s very uncomfortable to be around her. So we’re going to force them together, but we’re going to do it like a mash-up of Charlie’s Angels and Tron.

PopCultHQ: Oh wow!

Dan: Yeah! So look forward to that, it’s going to be cool. Jason Martin is writing it. I’m doing consultation on the storylines and things like that.

PopCultHQ: But it’s going to be great seeing each of their personalities all together…

Dan: Yeah, yeah! It’s going to be cool. And Ivan from Dollface is the main, key element in that whole series. It’s so funny because everyone loves Ivan and he’s just this little spermy-looking ghost, but we’re even considering giving Ivan his own one-shot. Everyone loves him. And a one-shot of Ivan? I can draw that in like five seconds! [laughs] So I’m good with that!

~~~~~

Special thanks to Dan Mendoza for making the time to speak with us.
Be sure to follow Dan online with Zombie Tramp (links below)
and check out Zombie Tramp and Dollface,
both ongoings out now from Action Lab: Danger Zone!

<#Cosplay Photos: Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (June 23rd-25th) – Part 1>
<#Cosplay Photos: Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (June 23rd-25th) – Part 2>
<#Cosplay Photos: Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con (June 23rd-25th) – Part 3>


 

 

 

 

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Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett
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