By: Nicole D’Andria
Dan Mendoza (Zombie Tramp, DollFace) presents a new 250+ page anthology filled with grindhouse horror and sexy gals in Tales of Ill Anthology Vol. 1. I previously talked to Dan in-depth about his Sad Girl Psycho Baby comic book. Now, he’s back again with Sad Girl, Sugar Pop, and Lil Six Kannibal Kitty written and drawn by Dan as well as a slew of other talented creators.
Tales of Ill Anthology Vol. 1 is part of Dan Mendoza’s Still iLL Princess Universe. Some of the talented creators in addition to Dan in this anthology are writer Knightmare Lynch (Lil Six Kannibal Kitty), writer Shawn Gabborin (Puppet Master, Black Betty, Sharksquatch), writer/artist Joe Pekar (Red Velvette), artist TM CHU (Zombie Tramp, Sugar Pop), artist Cat Man (Zombie Tramp, Dollface), and artist Boo Rudetoons (Transformers, Zombie Tramp, Majesty). There are additional pin-ups by Jose Varese, Nathan Szerdy, and much more!
Besides the anthology stories, the book can be flipped over to enjoy Dan Mendoza’s Manga one-shot stories, which were previously his convention exclusives. This includes the unreleased second part of the “Beach Blanket Beat down” story.
Rewards for the Kickstarter include a digital ($20) and physical ($40) copy of the Tales of Ill Vol. 1 Anthology with the option to get a nude edition and/or hardcover option. People can also add-on to their pledge to get back issues from the Still iLL Princess Universe, such as Sad Girl Psycho Baby #1-3, Sugar Pop #1-2, and Lil Six Kannibal Kitty #1-2. Or you can get an acrylic stand, t-shirt, or body pillow! The options are numerous.
The Kickstarter shot past its $20,000 goal, raising over $40,000. Several stretch goals have unlocked freebies for all physical backers, including a Tales of Ill patch and logo or the option to add on special double-sided prints and blank sketch cover with random art insert. The campaign will be running until December 13, 2020, at 9:00 PM EST and interested readers can check out the rest of the Tales of Ill reward tiers on the Kickstarter page.
Me: For people unfamiliar with your Still iLL Princess Universe, what should they know about it to fully enjoy this anthology?
Mendoza: The Still iLL Princess Universe is a venue I use since I finished my Zombie Tramp saga to write and create more awesome adventures of sexy monster girls that kick ass. These stories are in the genres of 90’s bad girl comics, grindhouse, sci-fi, and horror. The books are “no holds barred” and not built like the traditional comic books you see on the shelves. These books contain over the top violence and nudity. They are everything I couldn’t get away with when working with a publisher. This anthology series features dozens of short stories of our three main anti-heroine characters.
First we have Sad Girl Psycho Baby. A Lantina Girl that lives in a world of a post-apocalyptic future of Mutants, Aliens, Fairies, and Dinosaurs. Sad Girl emulates a lowrider Los Angeles culture but mixed with a Mad Max flavor. She is known as the Sad Girl of the world. A girl that creates depression and suicide everywhere she goes.
Our second Still iLL Princess is our number one fan-favorite, Sugar Pop. A bubbly, cute, and curvy Unicorn Girl. She lives in the same universe as Sad Girl and with her strong healing factor, befriended Sad Girl with no effects of depression. Sugar Pop has been alive since present time and her people are said to be the cause of the apocalypse.
Our third Still iLL Princess is a character that I can not take credit for. She is a concoction from the mind of writer Knightmare Lynch. I just draw it, lol. Her stories (also set in the Sad Girl world) are about a shapeshifting cat girl that is over-the-top sexy as well as over-the-top violent. The character is called Lil Six Kannibal Kitty who lives in a cave and ventures out in the world for fun, frights, and food. Living food. Lil Six has three forms. Kitty, human cat girl, and murderous beast mode. Her Stories are hardcore horror genre filled with blood and self-discovery.
Me: The anthology features a bunch of talented creators. Can you tell us a bit more about each of these creators and the unique take they’ll be bringing into the Still iLL Princess Universe?
Mendoza: Yes. In addition to the writings of me and Knightmare Lynch in this book, we also have Shawn Gabborin, a great horror writer who has written awesome comic titles for Full Moon Pictures such as Puppet Master and Dollman Kills the Full Moon Universe. Shawn has also written his own horror genre titles such as Black Betty, Let’s All Die, and Sharksquatch.
Next we have Joe Pekar who not only wrote one of the stories, but drew and lettered it as well. This true talent came from video game character designing to going off on his own and making his own comic titles such as Redd Velvette and Brandi Bare. Joe has also been a cover artist for me on Still iLL Princess books and Zombie Tramp books in the past.
Next on the list are all the amazing artists that are doing interiors such as Cat Man (Dollface cover artist), Boo Rudetoons (Transformers comic artist), TM CHU (Zombie Tramp, Sugar Pop cover and interior artist), Nathan Szerdy (Zombie Tramp, Vampirella, Suicide Squad), and Jose Varese (Sad Girl, Sugar Pop, Lady Death).
Me: What elements from the grindhouse horror genre do you enjoy the most that are reflected within this anthology?
Mendoza: There are so many. On the side of grindhouse, I would definitely say the movies of Russ Meyers like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Pam Grier movies such as Coffy and Foxy Brown.
On the horror side, I’d say films like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, Ginger Snaps, Evil Dead, and The Shining.
Me: If you had to spend the day with one of the gals in this anthology, who would you choose to spend the day with and why?
Mendoza: Even though Kannibal Kitty is modeled after my life mate, Knightmare Lynch, the character is a bit too dangerous for me. I’d definitely choose Sugar Pop. With her happy persona and magical abilities, I think you would never have a bad day being around her.
Me: Tales of ILL Vol. 1 offers backers your manga one-shot stories that you do as convention exclusives. Can you tell us a bit more about the origins of these and which stories fans will be able to enjoy in this collection?
Mendoza: Yes. Apart from me doing three to four Kickstarters a year focusing on the main storylines of our three girls, I started making these short one-shot stories that were black and gray with limited color and read backwards in the manga tradition. I made these books as exclusives for the comic shows I would attend. So for the first time, I am releasing these and putting them into this anthology series as a bonus. The story titles are: “WTF is Valentines Day?”, “The Golden Egg”, “The Dream Beast”, “Sham-Rocks”, “Bell Slayers”, “Beach Blanket Beat Down part 1”, and for the first time ever, “Beach Blanket Beat Down part 2” will be released in this book.
Me: What is the number one reason why people should back your project?
Mendoza: If you’re tired of the same old thing at comic shops and miss books and stories where there was political agenda and stories that were fun and created a world of escape for you with interesting characters, then the books of Still iLL Princess are for you.
Me: Having created eight super successful Kickstarter campaigns so far, what is your advice to creators looking to fund projects on Kickstarter?
Mendoza: It’s a long road, but I’d say great visuals that catch people’s eye. I’ve always said that I’m an artist first and a writer last. No one will want to pick up your stories and read them if the art isn’t visually appealing. Also, work hard on building that fan base. Keep in contact with them through social media outlets, email subscriptions, and be kind to them at conventions (whenever they open up again).
Me: Do you have any additional advice for those running a Kickstarter during the pandemic?
Mendoza: The pandemic has absolutely no effect on doing crowdfunding books. In fact, I’d say that crowdfunding has flourished since the shutdown of conventions in 2020 and I’m sure most of 2021, People are hungry to get the pop culture and comic stuff they love. Crowdfunding provides that for them.
Me: You’ve called your fans in other interviews your “Still iLL Army” and talked a lot about your positive relationship with them and how important they are to you. What elements about your work do you feel really resonate with them that also bring in new readers?
Mendoza: One of the things I’ve learned being in this industry for 11+ years is that fans are the number one priority. I treat them like friends and family. In fact… we have recently added the term, Still iLL FAM (short for family). Every morning I talk to my fans via social media or email. I try to answer every one of them in a timely manner. And when a fan needs help learning how Kickstarter works, we gladly will hold their hand and walk them through it. We take care of them and they take care of us. We always greet fans in a positive manner and give them a great experience. We never drag a fan down by talking about our bad day. Everyone has them. Just like our books. We provide that escape from daily problems.
Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers and artists?
Mendoza: It’s not an easy road. It’s a lot of work. If you don’t put in the time to let people know you exist, then you won’t. And once you get established and the notice begins for you, the work still isn’t over. It’s constant. Keep people’s interest and keep promoting yourself and your fans will grow.
Me: You’ve launched multiple projects as part of your publishing company Still iLL Princess Studios. Can you tease us about your future plans for the studio?
Mendoza: Yes, next year we have a line-up of Sad Girl #4, Sugar Pop #3, and Kannibal Kitty #3. We are also working on a new project that is in the works and we plan to start working on a plan to get our books in stores through Diamond after Sad Girl #5. For now, all our titles can be found in our online store www.stillillprincess.com and our current Kickstarter has the option after you preorder a Tales of ILL book to add-on any back issue of any character you are interested in. Also, Sad Girl #1 and #2 can be found on comiXology.
Me: Thanks for welcoming us into the world of Still iLL Princess Studios, Dan! Readers interested in over 250+ pages of the Still Ill Princess Universe can check out the Kickstarter here.
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