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Bigger & More Badass - Talking Lab Raider with Matt Miner

Interview conducted by James Ferguson

2014 saw the release of Critical Hit, a series following a pair of women standing up for animals in the most violent way possible. Sarah and Jeanette turned hunters into the hunted. This March, writer Matt Miner returns to these characters and takes their adventures into some new and interesting places with Lab Raider. Here's the write-up from publisher, Black Mask Studios:

A pair of young vigilantes break into a black market laboratory where illegal tests are being run on animals. What at first seems like a simple rescue mission becomes more dangerous when they stumble on secret military experiments, discovering to their horror that the animals they sought to help have been turned into something different, something monstrous... and, once the cages are opened, the rescuers quickly become the prey of these weaponized beasts. This high-octane action comic blends vigilante heroics with sci-fi horror for a brutal new adventure.

I had a chance to speak with Matt about the book and he was kind enough to share some exclusive artwork from the first issue by artist Creees Lee and colorist Josh Jensen.

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James Ferguson: Let's tackle the elephant in the room first, although judging by how Sarah and Jeanette in Lab Raider deal with people who abuse animals, maybe that's not the best phrase to use. This is a sequel of sorts to Critical Hit. What about these characters made you want to go back and tell more of their story?

Matt Miner: Sarah and Jeanette have kind of become family to me – I love them dearly and I'd like to tell their stories for as long as people want to read them. Sarah's a bit new to this incendiary underground world, a bit more naive, but where her mannerism may be more soft-spoken, she's quicker to break the rules of non-violence that loosely govern this world. Jeanette has a harder edge but is more bound by her ethics, having a harder time overcoming the “no violence against humans” credo that people in this world operate by.

I'm a dog rescuer, have been doing that for about a decade, and not to get too deep into it, let's just say I've seen some bad shit. It's not something I love talking about, but when you're kissing the scabbed and oozing face of a former bait dog, you need a way to cope and release and yell at the world for being so shitty to animals. Enter the four-color world of comics, where within the panels we can do whatever we like to these scumbags and still stay on the right side of the law.

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JF: The violence is just as brutal as ever, but Lab Raider takes a startling turn into sci-fi territory by the end of the first issue. How did you decide to take the series in this direction?

MM: It was already something I'd had in mind – you know, how do we move forward without telling the exact same kind of story? I want to keep telling these stories, but I want them to be different and bigger, and more badass! When I was talking about doing another series with Black Mask's Matt Pizzolo, he suggested a horror/sci-fi direction, and it clicked into place.

JF: How did the art team come together for Lab Raider?

MM: I met Creees at a convention and we had a great rapport right from the start. He contributed a story to This Nightmare Kills Fascists and I got a sense of what working with him would be like, so when I had this book green lit, I approached him, thinking his style would be great with the gritty but fun world that our characters inhabit. I've known Josh Jensen for ages, and that guy's gonna be huge as soon as he's able to do comics fulltime – he's worked on several projects with me, including the GWAR books and several stories in All We Ever Wanted: Stories of a Better World.

Matt Krotzer is a guy I've known online forever, and I think this is our first full book together. He lettered a bunch of All We Ever Wanted stories, and he's a skilled pro. Also he's the best posse leader in Red Dead Redemption 2 a comics nerd could ask for.

In all seriousness, I'm very lucky to have assembled such an ace team and they're all bringing so much to the book. It's friggin' stunning.

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JF: It looks like we're just scratching the surface with the first issue. Anything else you'd like to tease going into the series?

MM: Things are gonna get weird. And bloody. And so, so, SO messed up.

Lab Raider #1 is scheduled for release on March 27th, 2019. It is currently available for pre-order at your local comic shop or the links below.

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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