PR: What Not to Do: Share Too Much of Your Business

Zombie Tramp

A company whose works I’ve recommended in the past sent out this press release recently.

The popular Danger Zone series becomes Action Lab Entertainment’s first company funded series.

Dan Mendoza’s grindhouse revenge series, Zombie Tramp, started it’s undead rise as a critically acclaimed independent title that recently saw new life at Action Lab Entertainment’s mature readers Danger Zone imprint.

The Story follows Janey Bell, Hollywood’s most popular high-priced call girl, who through the machinations of her transvestite madam and a crooked LAPD sheriff was bitten by a zombie and imbued with strange new powers, has been called an instant classic.

Now with two fan favorite volumes of the creator-owned work nearly complete, Action Lab: Danger Zone is proud to announce that starting with a special introductory Free Comic Book Day issue, Zombie Tramp will be going to the next level as the first Action Lab funded series. Zombie Tramp will also become the companies second ongoing monthly series, joining Jeremy Dale’s smash hit all ages fantasy series, Skyward.

Zombie Tramp

Action Lab, which primarily works with creator owned and creator-generated material, will be financing the production of Zombie Tramp, and relaunching the series with the May FCBD issue, and brand new number one of the ongoing series to follow that up starting in July.

Series creator Dan Mendoza will continue to write the series, while being joined by co-writer and editor, Jason Martin (Night of the 80’s Undead, Super Real), and future superstar artist TMChu. As we find our titular zombie-powered former call girl on the road, learning her budding abilities thanks to the newly acquired “book of the dead”. Janey starts out in Sin City, taking on the local sex trade and the elusive mastermind who controls Las Vegas from the shadows. The series will feature covers and interiors by talented newcomer TMChu, including nude variant covers, and variant covers by series creator Dan Mendoza.

I’ll ignore the typos (please, people, learn to use “its” properly), missing hyphens and apostrophes, and mismatched verbs, and I’ll avoid pointing out that even the covers that aren’t “nude variants” aren’t something I’m comfortable running on this site. (Seriously, the FCBD issue cover isn’t family-friendly, which I thought they were supposed to be.) My bigger point is this: Why would we care who’s paying for what, so long as the creators are receiving adequate compensation?

This only makes me think, “oh, so the rest of your books are all self-funded?” which may or may not be true, but the question is raised by the existence of this press release. I’m sure we’re supposed to see this as a statement of faith in the title — and who wouldn’t see commercial potential in a comic that combines hookers and zombies? — but it’s the kind of backhanded praise that inadvertently makes the rest of the publisher’s line look worse (because clearly, the publisher didn’t have enough faith in them to fund them, only this one). I suppose there’s an argument to be made that customers want to know this kind of thing, since a self-funded series is marginally more likely to run out of money and quit appearing on shelves, but the same could be argued for small publishers.

Ultimately, it comes back to the question: What does a publisher offer to a comic creator? If they’re not providing some kind of funding, more marketing than a creator can do on her own, and other business services, why are they a better choice than going it alone?

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