[Interview] Writer D.E. Schrader of Action Lab: Danger Zone’s BABY BADASS #1

D.E. Schrader

D.E. Schrader (left), Joey cosplayer, and Kristian Horn

The future ain’t pretty. It’s 2043, and the United States Under God is a dry, violent place filled with aggressive degenerates. ‘Born’ into this world is Baby Badass; a failed military experiment who escapes into the New West desert where he’s discovered by a sweet waitress who takes him in, not knowing that the slumbering bundle is actually a 33 year old half-formed hybrid clone of super-soldier Alphie Omega.

On the run from an evil entity called M.O.T.H.E.R. (Military Organization to Harness Evolutionary Resources), it’s Mad Max meets Idiocracy—a hilarious and disturbing journey into a dark future of fear, sex, violence, and the occasional diaper-change. BABY BADASS is a fun, colorful ride—an insane pop culture mashup with a truly unique superantihero. I mean really, where else can you see a “baby” eating a heart?

On Wednesday, February 14th, Action Lab Entertainment‘s Danger Zone imprint is launching an all-new series from writers D.E. Schrader and Kristian Horn with artist Tim Larsen entitled BABY BADASS. PopCultHQ had the privilege in discussing the project with co-creator/writer David Schrader to find out more about this wild, insanely fun new series.

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Baby Badass #1 – Cover A by Tim Larsen
Baby Badass #1 – Cover B by Dan Mendoza

BABY BADASS #1

Artist: Tim Larsen
Cover Artists:
Tim Larsen
(Cover A),
Dan Mendoza
 (Covers B-C)
Cover A – Regular Cover (unlimited)
Cover B – Dan Mendoza Variant (1500)
Cover C – Dan Mendoza Risque Variant (2000)
32 pgs./ M / FC
$3.99

Baby Badass didn’t ask to be born. He’s an escaped military experiment gone wrong; a swift, brutal, half-formed super-soldier clone hybrid killing machine — trapped inside the body of a baby. Together with Joey, a sweet, sexy waitress from the New West desert, they’re on the run from the evil M.O.T.H.E.R. in a dystopian disco future world gone mad.

Includes a regular and risqué cover by fan favorite Zombie Tramp and DollFace artist Dan Mendoza!

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What people are saying about Baby Badass:

“If you like comic books that are actually funny, a bit violent in the [vein] of
Milk & Cheese or you’re a fan of Adult Swim… then Baby Badass is the book for you.” – Comic Bastards


PopCultHQ Interview:

Writer D.E. Schrader
of Action Lab: Danger Zone’s BABY BADASS #1

PopCultHQ: A foul-mouthed, ill-tempered 33-year-old badass marine trapped in the body of a powerful baby, BABY BADASS shows itself as raw, unapologetic, and adult-themed. Everything we’ve come to expect from titles at Action Lab: Danger Zone. But there are also bits of humor peppered in, as well as some surprisingly touching, heartfelt, and poignant moments. How complex is the titular character? Am I somewhat accurate in perceiving this new series as a fun and badass story with heart?

D.E. Schrader: Jason, you are more than somewhat accurate – there is a lot of heart, and not just the ones that Baby Badass eats. The series is definitely not for kids, but older teens might also dig it as there’s a lot of humor and an over-the-top Adult Swim type of violence. Baby Badass (not his real name) is a tortured character, trapped in a body he doesn’t know or understand, and programmed to be a relentless, remorseless killing machine. He didn’t ask to be born — so along with Joey, the sweet and soulful waitress who finds him, he’s on a quest to find out who he is, where he came from, and if he’ll ever be able to fully control his bowels.

PopCultHQ:  One of the first things that caught my attention was that America has been reidentified (in the near-future of 2043) as the United States Under God. Does incorporating the “Under God” serve of some significance in the series? I suppose what I’m curious about is if this will be explored more or possibly effects of the new designation, or the “New West,” be witnessed in the series?

Schrader: Yeah, it’s part of the post-apocalyptic setting where religion just got folded into a basic sense of survival. After endless war, consolidated corporate control, and the effects of major geopolitical and galactic disasters, the remnants of the USA just decided to go all the way and claim that it’s officially “Under God,” but from a place of profound fear and misplaced paranoia. The New West is a desolate desert region where a lot of the “Reals” reside in pockets of harsh but habitable spaces, this includes the city of “Cinderville” which is revealed in issue 2. The setting has been described as being like Mad Max meets Idiocracy.

PopCultHQ: BABY BADASS is being hailed as “an insane pop culture mashup with a truly unique superantihero.” How did the character of Baby Badass take form? What were the important aspects you wanted this terrible toddler to embody without seeming too over-the-top?

Schrader: Way back in 2006, co-creator Kristian Horn and I had this idea about a baby kicking everybody’s ass, and I think just the visual aspect of it seemed… obviously absurd, but it made us laugh. It took on several forms, both the character and the comic itself – it was initially a web comic, an animated pitch, and finally a full-fledged comic book. We knew he needed to be powerful, possessing an origin story that touched on classic comic tropes with a few extra twists. We wanted him to be swift, strong, and shockingly violent, harboring specific vulnerabilities, with pithy quips and a quick wit, but an actual character you can care about who’s on this mad journey of self-discovery in a totally fucked-up near future.

PopCultHQ: You’ve already established an incredible foundation with the comic’s website and social media outlets. From the looks of things, it seems there are a number of developed characters planned which we’ve yet to encounter from issue one alone. How extensive is this world you’ve created?

Schrader: Part of that is because of how incredibly long it’s taken to bring this baby to life. It’s been twelve years since the idea, and even once we bought in talented artist Tim Larsen to draw the series in 2014, it’s been a year between each book. That’s given me a lot of time to world build and extrapolate backstory, so there’s quite a bit beyond the mini-series that hopefully will be explored in the second arc and whatever comes after.

PopCultHQ: Your comic was originally under the Hybräu Comics label and now has found at a home at Action Lab Entertainment under their Danger Zone imprint. How did BABY BADASS make its way to Action Lab? What  opportunities do you see having the title with this publisher?

Schrader: Hybräu is a small production company I co-founded with Matthew Friedberg, and I knew I wanted to print a physical comic with the first issue, so I decided to self-publish under that label — it was our first and probably last comic. I met Dan Mendoza (Zombie Tramp, Dollface) at the 2012 Wondercon when Kristian and I were there pushing our (eventually aborted) web comic. I was really inspired by what Dan was doing and how he grew Zombie Tramp from the ground up. I took note when Action Lab: Danger Zone began publishing it and made it ongoing. A few years later, I sent our first issue around to several companies and met the most enthusiasm with Jason Martin, a talented creator and independent publisher who was then just heading up the Danger Zone label. Jason seemed to really get the characters, the mythology that teased something bigger, and the overall potential. He has a really successful run going with Vampblade which also spoofs some of those 90’s vengeance-based comics, as does Baby Badass. Everyone at Action Lab has been great and they’ve been putting out some fantastic titles. We’ve met a lot of awesome creators and feel lucky to be a small part of their lineup.

PopCultHQ; What are the current plans for BABY BADASS? How many issues comprises of the first story arc? How often can fans expect to see BABY BADASS arrives on the comic racks?

Schrader: Right now we’re just going to promote the mini-series, which is only three issues– but they’re a jam-packed three issues! At one point, Kristian had read what I wrote for No. 2 & 3 and although he really liked it, he said that it was kind of like a fever dream. And I said, yeah, it is– it is a fever dream. Honestly, just making comics and actually having them published is a dream. I don’t know how people do it, and I have the utmost respect for the artists and writers who make a living in comics, as well as those who just do it on the side. None of it is easy. So yes, three issues and then a hefty TPB in May. The second arc has mostly been written and it’s absolutely as batshit crazy as you can imagine. We plan on going to as many cons this year as we can to help spread the word, and then launch Part Two of the series.

PopCultHQ: I’ve seen the pic of you with the Joey cosplayer. What additional promotion do you have planned for the title and its characters? Conventions, signing appearances? More cosplay?

Schrader: That was our initial launch at the Long Beach Comic Con back in 2015. We had a cosplay Joey and a Baby Badass life size doll. We will definitely bring back the Baby, and Joey may return, this time in her Cinderville threads. Joey’s character is actually the heart and soul of the book, and her transformation is really the key element of the story. We have several comic store signings in the Los Angeles area and will be going to quite a few cons throughout the year including WonderCon, Amazing Vegas, HeroesCon and many others.

PopCultHQ: What makes BABY BADASS a title fans should add to their pull list?

Schrader: There’s something for everyone; action, adventure, punishing violence, one-liners, politics, religion, punishing poop jokes, social commentary, the perils of AI futurism, and the downside of superhuman powers. All of it wrapped up in a fun, sexy package about a furious little bastard on the run from M.O.T.H.E.R. and the trusty, busty, virtuous girl who saves him.

PopCultHQ: What is your ultimate hope that fans take away from this comic?

Schrader: We want them to laugh, think a little, then laugh some more. We want them to root for our unlikely duo and noble team of loveable misfits, to see themselves in this ridiculous story that’s taken seriously, and to find hope in the midst of hopelessness. And then we want them to want more.

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A very special thanks to D.E. Schrader for taking the time to speak with PopCultHQ!

Check out BABY BADASS #1 when it arrives in local comic shops
and online retailers on Wednesday, February 14th!


Be sure to follow Baby Badass, David Schrader, and Action Lab: Danger Zone online!

BABY BADASS

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Writer – D.E. Schrader

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Publisher – Action Lab: Danger Zone

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About Jason Bennett 3654 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