Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of your series, Baby Badass, through Action Lab: Danger Zone! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
D.E. Schrader: Thank you very much. It’s certainly been a long, but fun, road. Baby Badass is a sci-fi grindhouse action comedy set in the not-too-distant future. It’s about a 33-year-old super soldier trapped in the body of a baby (due to a government experiment gone wrong).
Teaming up with Joey, the sweet, soulful waitress who saves him, they’re on the run from M.O.T.H.E.R., a rogue military entity in a country gone mad. Honestly, besides the love of classic comics, comedy, and sci-fi, the inspiration for this particular story likely hinged on the ingestion of psychedelic sweets.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in working with co-writer Kristian Horn and illustrator artist Tim Larsen, and what have been some of your creative influences?
DES: Kristian is a comic book aficionado, artist, and podcaster. We came up with the basic premise together way back in 2006; he drew original character designs, and we had a short-lived webcomic that gave way to an animated show pitch. The process was deliberate, collaborative, but sometimes contentious. Tim Larsen came on board in 2014 and had a raw, grindhouse feel to his art that worked for the story we were trying to tell. We never actually met, but he had a really good instinct for the world we were creating, and the notes back and forth were pretty minimal. My influences are mostly comedic and cinematic-- classic Warner Bros. cartoons, early Simpsons, Coen Brothers, Christopher Guest, Mike Judge, for sci-fi, Kubrick, Ridley Scott, and more recently the stuff from Alex Garland and Charlie Brooker. In comics, I have a large gap in familiarity and knowledge from the classic Marvel books I read as a kid to repeated readings of Watchmen as an adult.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
DES: Hopefully, they’ll have a lot of laughs on an unexpected adventure. Baby Badass, like a lot of my other work, has a common thread—taking an absurd, sometimes surreal idea and treating it very seriously. Some of the comments I’ve heard most about the comic is people went into it thinking it’s one thing and finding out it’s actually something else, but in a good way.
BD: With three issues having been released, how many issues do you have planned for the series’ first story arc?
DES: The trade comes out in late May, and although just a three issue mini-series, I think there was a good amount of story and setup for what comes next, which will be even weirder and crazier than the first. The second arc is in the works, maybe a four- or five-issue series that could be ready early next year.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
DES: Ideally, it would be an animated series. One of the benefits of the decade plus it took to get the comic published was the level of detail in the world-building that took place. There’s a uniqueness to this particular dystopian future and the ties that bind Joey and Baby Badass. Ultimately, characters and the point of view have to be strong to sustain something ongoing—be it a comic or a series.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
DES: My short film called Back to the Bad: Breaking to the Future was just released. The title kind of speaks for itself, but basically it features Doc Brown and Jesse Pinkman in a curious case of mistaken identity. The future is worse than ever, so they take the Delorean Time Machine and try to rectify a historic mistake with a supremely dark and disturbing twist. I’m working on a one shot called Magic Mullet with comic book writer extraordinaire Eric Esquivel. This summer I’ll also be launching a communal comedy website called HyLoflix, but none of this will get in the way of attending as many cons as I can to help spread the word about Baby Badass-- 3Rivers ComicCon, HeroesCon NC, Amazing Las Vegas, and Long Beach Comic Con to name a few.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Baby Badass?
DES: babybadass.com is the website, but most active on Twitter and Instagram (@thebabybadass) and on Facebook (@realbabybadass). Also actionlabcomics.com is a good source, and I’m always glad to communicate on my personal Twitter (@Schraderopolis).