Wednesday marked the release of the new Puppet Master series from Action Lab Entertainment. Puppet Master is based on the horror film series of the same name from Charles Band and production studio Full Moon Entertainment. Band’s film and Action Lab’s series focus on a group of puppets created by the mysterious Toulon and brought to life with an ancient Egyptian spell. Action Lab’s release marks the first Puppet Master comic since Eternity Comics’ mini-series in 1990. The new series is helmed by Action Lab founding member Shawn Gabborin, who you may remember from my earlier reviews of Snowed In and Victor Season.
I had an opportunity to talk with writer Shawn Gabborin this weekend at the fourth of his book signings. Gabborin was seated at a table inside New Dimension Comics when I walked in. After we shook hands and introduced ourselves, my first question for him was obvious. “Which is your favorite puppet in the series?” I asked.
Gabborin was quick to respond “Pinhead, definitely. It used to be blade when I was growing up, but now it’s definitely Pinhead.”He took out his phone and shared with me a picture of director Charles Band signing a Pinhead doll for him.
“I guess that means he approves,” I said.
“Oh yeah. Everything gets approved by him.” Shawn then explained how each piece of art, page of script, and the final product received the Charles Band seal of approval before moving to print. Band’s approval is very important to Action Lab and to Shawn in particular. “I’ve always wanted to do puppet master…It’s what made me a horror fan. That’s how we do things. We don’t pick up titles thinking ‘I can make money off of this’. We go for the licenses that we’re passionate about.”
Shawn then shared one of his strangest Puppet Master stories with me. “When my wife and I were living in our old apartment,” he said, “She woke up with a small bruise on her leg. It was really weird, we couldn’t figure out where she got it or what she ran into. Then I picked up my statue of Blade, just to see. The bruise was exactly the size and shape of his little shoe. It was weird.”
When I asked Shawn how Action Lab got started, he was very eager to share. The company started as a group of independent creators, each setting up their self-published titles at different local conventions. After running into each other so many times, the group decided that they could accomplish more together than they could on their own. Action Lab now has its own pages in Previews, the official Diamond Distribution catalog.
When asked what advice he had for other aspiring artists and writers, Shawn kept it simple. “Just do it.” He went on to say that he believes the hardest part is getting that first work out there. “Once you get that rock rolling, though, it gets much easier.”
Shawn couldn’t tell me much about the future of the series, but he did say “When I start something, I always know where it’s going. I know where the story is headed in 30 issues, and by then I’ll have a clear picture of where it’s going next.”
“So what’s next for you and Action Lab?”
“Well, I would love to do Freddy (Nightmare on Elm Street), but the chain of ownership, including DC, is just impossible.” Gabborin did share that he would be interested in doing a few more Full Moon titles, but declined to name any specifically.