[Interview] Writer Shawn Gabborin of Action Lab: Danger Zone’s BLACK BETTY – Launching January 2018

Black Betty #1 Cover A Da SaccoZombie Tramp. Vampblade. DollFace. Three tentpole characters at Action Lab: Danger Zone, who recently teamed up as the Danger Doll Squad. But now a new face has entered their universe…”Black” Betty Walker.

BLACK BETTY made her debut (and first appearance, y’all!) in this past year’s Halloween ComicFest offering by Action Lab. She’s one badass woman who gets the job done when it comes to killing monsters. But only if she’s gonna get paid!

This new character created by Shawn Gabborin (Puppet Master, Fracture) will make her series debut with BLACK BETTY #1 this coming February. Based off the preview, Betty is as tough as they come. But even when forces are too much for even her, at least she has an ability to close the deal. See, Betty can absorb things to ultimately defeat them…but at a price. For each entity she absorbs, she’s branded with a tattoo as a reminder. But there seems like there’s even more to Betty, her abilities, and her tattoos so we reached out to the series writer to discuss his newest project.

Find out who Betty was influenced by, learn more about her backstory, and what the future holds for this new character at Action Lab: Danger Zone.


Black Betty #1 Cover A Da Sacco
Black Betty #1 Cover B Da Sacco


Writer: Shawn Gabborin
Artists: Michela Da Sacco (artist),
Rosa “Rosakaz” Rantila (colors)

Cover Artists:
Michela Da Sacco, Marco Maccagni, Dan Mendoza

32 pgs./ Mature Audiences / Full Color / SRP: $4.99


Meet the newest member
of the Zombie Tramp universe!

Black Betty has made a living killing the unkillable. She has taken down monsters of every shape and size with a style all her own. But when a man’s daughter is kidnapped by a local legend, Betty steps in to save her… for a price!

If you need it dead (and you’ve got the cash!), Betty’s your girl!

NOV171114 – Cover A – Michela Da Sacco Regular Cover (unlimited)
NOV171115 – Cover B – Michela Da Sacco Battle Damaged (limited to 2500)
NOV171116 – Cover C – Marco Maccagni Artist Variant (limited to 2000)
NOV171117 – Cover D – Marco Maccagni Tattered & Torn (limited to 2500)
NOV171118 – Cover E – Mendoza variant (limited to 2000)
NOV171119 – Cover F – Mendoza risqué variant (limited to 2500)

PopCultHQ Creator Spotlight:
Shawn Gabborin of Action Lab: Danger Zone’s BLACK BETTY

PopCultHQ: What inspired you to create this character?

Shawn Gabborin: Black Betty herself is heavily influenced by the women in my family. My mom, sister, aunts, cousins, they’re all built like real women, most have at least one tattoo, and all are strong women. So I wanted to bring some of that into the character of Black Betty. She’s not your usual stick figure comic heroine, she rocks her tattoos, and she’s proud of her body. She’s also not afraid to get her hands dirty!

As for the stories themselves, I’ve always wanted to do something semi-influenced by the horror comics Marvel put out in the 70s, with a single character traveling around battling crazy monsters. I’m trying to avoid the obvious creatures for now, so no vampires, werewolves, etc. Maybe someday I’ll get around to them, but when you have things like enenras, penanggalans, and dryads to play with, I don’t think people will miss the “big named” monsters.

PopCultHQ: Betty’s absorption ability, and subsequent tattooing, is not only intriguing but is rife with potentiality. How would you describe Black Betty’s characteristics and abilities?

Shawn Gabborin: As you said, Betty can absorb things into herself. She doesn’t know much about these powers (such as where the things she absorbs actually go), so she tends to save this ability as a last resort. If something is too powerful for her to kill or if her back is against the wall with no other way out, she’ll absorb it.

Everything she absorbs leaves a representation of itself as a “tattoo” somewhere on her body, such as the choker tattoo the enenra (a smoke demon) leaves around her throat, or “CLOO LESS” tattooed across her knuckles after she absorbed a mindless golem. Every tattoo she has is from something she absorbed. What she is just starting to learn about, though, is that she can access mild levels of these creature’s powers if she focuses hard enough, which adds a whole extra layer to what she can do.

A running theme of the series is Betty trying to better understand these powers: where they came from, why she has them, and (for reasons you’ll see in the series) how to release things.

PopCultHQ: The illustrations in the Halloween ComicFest comic are from Michela da Sacco with colors by Rosa Rantila and featuring cover art from Timothy Weaver. How did you assemble your creative team for Black Betty? Will this be the same team once the ongoing launches?

Shawn Gabborin: Michela and I have worked together several times. She’s fantastic! She was the artist I brought in when we were launching the Puppet Master comic through Action Lab: Danger Zone, and I was thrilled when she was able to step in to do art on Betty!

Rosa is coloring an upcoming title that Action Lab is publishing called Guncats. I liked what I was seeing on the pages for that book and thought she would compliment Michela’s style. So far, it’ve been pleased with the pairing.

Michela and Rosa will be on for at least the first story arc. If they go away, it will be on a rotation with a second art team. It’s something we like to do to give our creative teams some breathing room.

I don’t have Timothy slated for anything further at this point, but would love to use him for some more covers. He captured so much character for Betty in that single image, I love it!

PopCultHQ: From the cover, I can only assume that Black Betty is considered part of the same universe as the Danger Doll Squad. Will she make appearances in other titles? Are there any plans for standalones, such as the holiday issues of Zombie Tramp and DollFace?

Shawn Gabborin: Yes, Black Betty exists in the Zombie Tramp Universe. There may be some crossover appearances in the works, but nothing I can go into too deep yet. I would love to do some holiday issues if the option comes up. Every holiday has some sort of creature associated with it that Betty would be more than happy to kill!

PopCultHQ: What plans do you have for promotion? Will it also feature multiple covers, including risque or tattered and torn variants, like other Danger Zone ongoings?

Shawn Gabborin: Black Betty will have a variety of other covers. It will have the standard six covers per issue of the other Zombie Tramp Universe books, but those variants will change. For the most part I’ll be sticking to “Tattered and Torn” and “Battle Damaged” covers, but there will be a “Risque” one thrown in every now and then. Issue #1 will include a Risque variant by Dan Mendoza, actually.

PopCultHQ: What type of comic fan do you feel will enjoy this new title?

Shawn Gabborin: Anybody who enjoys a strong female lead, a character who’s look and attitude break the norm, and crazy monster fights will feel right at home here. I think if you’re into things like Buffy, Supernatural, or Marvel’s 70s horror comics, you’ll dig Black Betty!

Special thanks to Shawn Gabborin for taking the time to be interviewed by PopCultHQ.

Be sure to follow Shawn and the mad scientists at Action Lab online (links below)
to stay up on all the latest on BLACK BETTY!

And be sure to addd BLACK BETTY to your pull list. Issue one drops February 14, 2018!

Writer – Shawn Gabborin






Publisher – Action Lab Entertainment











About Jason Bennett 7310 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