[Interview] Jason Sterr & Daniel Mainé of Action Lab: Danger Zone’s Upcoming Miniseries ‘THE CONSULTANT’

Attention superheroes of the world! If you need your darkest secrets hidden, a sin buried, a story killed, or just need a witness to “disappear,” Marcus Greenberg has got you covered…for a price. He is The Consultant and he does the dirty work so you won’t have to worry about it.

THE CONSULTANT is a new monthly title coming to Action Lab Entertainment‘s Danger Zone imprint this December. According to writer Jason Sterr, the four-issue miniseries will show readers, “…their suspension of disbelief and tie it to the reality of just how truly awful someone with the powers of a god, and the ego to match, would act in this day and age.

THE CONSULTANT #1

Writer: Jason Sterr 

Artist: Daniel Mainé 
Cover Artist: Simon Fraser

In Shops: Dec 06, 2017
32 pgs./ M / FC

SRP: $3.99

Marcus Greenberg has a very particular set of skills, as a former Navy S.E.A.L., he does the dirty work of our nation’s superheroes, keeping his clients out of the papers and off of death row. With the help of his assistant Russell, a reformed shape-shifting supervillain, Greenberg is the go-to-guy for making super-sins disappear. He is The Consultant.


PopCultHQ had the opportunity to chat with Jason Sterr & Daniel Mainé, the writer and artist, respectively, to discuss this unique foray into the superhero genre. So hear from the creators themselves about this exciting and intense new miniseries…THE CONSULTANT!

PopCultHQ’s Creator Spotlight:
Jason Sterr & Daniel Mainé of THE CONSULTANT

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PopCultHQ: Based off the preview for THE CONSULTANT, it looks like Marcus Greenberg is not afraid to do the ugly things necessary to cover other people’s sins (for payment, of course). How dark can we expect this series to get?
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Jason Sterr: Oh, totally a Fargo kind of dark.  Throw in a little bit of Sterling Archer and you’re pretty much on point as far as the tone of the book goes.  I mean, it is a Danger Zone series.  We have a pretty high standard in terms of body count that we need to live up to, right?
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Daniel Mainé: We will see different kind of heroes, selfish and darker. And in some ways, even when they will remind you to some specific heroes,they are more like “sinister squadron” style, they have the power and they are not afraid to use it.And about Greenberg, he is not just the “guy to call,” he is the guy who is going straight to the objective no matter the cost. He is a human in a world of gods, but gods need his help and that puts him in an interesting situation in this story. Did he bite too much or will he be triumphant? You shall see 🙂
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PopCultHQ:  Will we see Marcus deal with the moral or ethical ramifications that come with his line of work, or possibly another struggle that makes him self-reflect on his choices?
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Jason Sterr: The beautiful thing about a character like Marcus is that there is no ethical fallout from his choices; at least not for him.  He’s free to do anything to anyone, as long as the check clears.  The only concern he has is not getting caught.   Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a psychopath, he’ knows right from wrong; he literally just doesn’t care.  If there is a Jiminy Cricket in the story, its Russell.  But when your conscious is the guy that you pay to torture people, I don’t think personal growth is all that high on your list of priorities.  But that’s the fun of it!
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PopCultHQ: Daniel, what attracted you to this project and how did you come to team with Jason Sterr?
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Daniel Mainé: Jason reached me on DeviantArt. He told me a little bit about the project and it was, at first, a five-page commission, then ten pages, then a cover and finally he offered me to draw the full miniseries. At this point I was really interested in the project so I joined the team. This is funny because some people think that they have enough social nets, or some of them like DeviantArt are a waste of time. I really dont believe that there is something like too much publicity for your work, and this project opportunity is a good example about that.
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PopCultHQ:  Jason, in a release, you mention the series will show “just how truly awful someone with the powers of a god, and the ego to match, would act in this day and age.” What can you tell us about his “powers” and how his ego came to be? 
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Jason Sterr: If I had to put a name to Marcus’s “power” it would be “compartmentalization”.  He has the ability to walk into whatever clusterf**k of a situation he is called to and put everything into a prioritized list of what needs to be dealt with and in what order.  I imagined the kind of guy who can sit across the table from someone who’s just gone through the most heart-wrenching moment of their lives and he can block out the human instinct to comfort them and instead focus only on just how ugly their face is when they cry.  It’s not exclusively a militaristic trait, but its definitely something we’re all taught to do.  Marcus is just the far reaching extreme of that skill.
PopCultHQ: In the same release, you stated that the idea had been floating around in your head since your last deployment. I see that Marcus is a former Navy S.E.A.L. Are there any parts of your experiences in the service that make its way into THE CONSULTANT in one way or another?
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Jason Sterr: Absolutely!  My entire military career has made it’s way into the book.  I’ve been in the Air force for going on ten years now, and it has absolutely screwed with the way I look at superhero comics; namely in the fact I don’t see good people trying to do good things anymore.  I see tragically messed up, scarred, and guilt-ridden characters who are put on a pedestal that no one can live up to. The Consultant’s superhero characters, Marcus’s clients, have figured that out and basically have decided “Nope. No thanks. You keep the truth and justice bit.  I’m just gonna have fun with this for a minute.”
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PopCultHQ: The artwork is powerfully striking and bold, which looks to only add to the title’s essence. How did you come to team with Daniel Mainé for this project? How was Francesca Zambon chosen for color art and Greg Sorkin for his lettering?
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Jason Sterr: Daniel’s amazing, right?!  He’s incredible.  If you like what he did on The Consultant, you’ve got to see his Red Agent and Robyn Hood material!  I can’t even begin to describe how lucky we were to find him.  I wish I could take all the credit, but one of my editors, Ben Williams, actually found Daniel.  We were looking at some portfolios from Dare2Draw, and the Kubert School, the Academy of Visual Arts and then out of the blue Ben emails me Daniel’s Thor sample pages.  We didn’t even speak with another artist after that.  We doubled down on Daniel and he continued to blow us away with each page that he cranked out.  Fantastic artist and just a great dude.  Francesca came highly recommended from Daniel.  Truthfully, I would’ve hired anyone he threw at me, but when I saw her stuff it was a done deal.  Greg Sorkin we flat out lucked into.  He was able to squeeze us in between issues of his own book – P.I. Jane – and the guy made every issue sing.  He was an absolute godsend.  He kept every issue on point and flowing.  I can’t say enough about the team that we managed to assemble.  I was amazingly lucky to have them all.
PopCultHQ: Daniel, with regards to the artwork, what are you most excited about showing off visually from Daniel’s story?
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Daniel Mainé: Well, that would be a question Jason should answer, hehehe. But in my point of view, I have really enjoyed every part of the story and the opportunity to draw some cool action scenes, like the one with the archer or the sub tunnels fight. I also enjoyed designing some of the characters, not the main heroes (which they were already designed), but the villains and the sparrow character as an example. It was really funny.
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PopCultHQ: From the preview pages alone, you have a remarkable grasp of depicting such raw emotion from the characters. What has been the most challenging aspect of working on this title?
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Daniel Mainé: Overall, making Jason’s vision of the book a real thing. I wanted to show something that people would enjoy but it was important to show something that would match with what Jason would have in his mind when he wrote the story. Also I try to give them a different pesonality, body language and for that I [imagined] an actor or a movie character to make them act a litle bit like them, try to offer something different for each character. Also, my previous artwork were something more cartoony, so I have been trying to work in a more comic book classic anatomy style.
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PopCultHQ: Forgive me if I’m incorrect (Diamond Previews have not been the most reliable this year), but I see THE CONSULTANT is a four-issue miniseries. Will it be released monthly? Are there any plans to include any of Action Lab’s superhero roster (Stray, Midnight Tiger, etc.) into the series?
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Jason Sterr: You’ve got it right – it is four issue mini that ships monthly.  I would love to work with Action Lab’s entire lineup, but for right now, The Consultant is self-contained.  I’m currently working on a second volume of Marcus’s story, but how awesome would it be to pair him with the Actionverse!  That would be a blast!  Keep putting that out there – maybe we’ll be able to convince the powers-that-be and work something out!
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PopCultHQ: In your words, what can fans expect when they pick up an issue of THE CONSULTANT, either from an artistic standpoint or an overall package?

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Daniel Mainé: Overall the grey personality of the characters, the bad or not fully bad or good characters are saints, that kind of story makes more human of heroes or villains. And overall that Greenberg is a badass you will hate and love at the same time. You will find cool characters, action scenes, and a lot of fun in The Consultant.

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Special thanks to Jason and Daniel for taking the time to be interviewed by PopCultHQ. Be sure to pick up THE CONSULTANT when it arrives at online retailers and local comic shops on Wednesday, December 6th. And to stay up on the latest, be sure to follow the creative team online!


Writer – Jason Sterr

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Artist – Daniel Mainé

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Publisher – Action Lab: Danger Zone

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About Jason Bennett 3495 Articles
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's chief editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. One with the Force. Browncoats Unite! So say we all! Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett