This time next week, Dawn and I should be down in San Diego, steeling ourselves for five straight days of showing off Zombie Ranch to any and all that might wander by Small Press K-4.

We won’t be in the schedule as Zombie Ranch, however. For the first time (but hopefully not the last), we’ll be officially using the label Lab Reject Studios. We’ve been intending to make this switchover for some time now, ever since we finally came up with a name late last year that a) wasn’t taken (not easy!), and b) we could both agree on (DEFINITELY NOT EASY).

Now you might ask, why go through this trouble? Well, thing is, Dawn’s been doing her art for a lot longer than Zombie Ranch existed, and if weren’t for her persisting in said art over the years, Zombie Ranch just flat out wouldn’t exist at all. She’s been participating in the Art Show at Comic-Con International since 2004 and maintains an extensive gallery of her work both on DeviantArt and her personal site, Art of Dawn. In fact, when we made our debut exhibiting at Long Beach Comic Con 2009 (also where we debuted Zombie Ranch), I believe we used Art of Dawn as the label for our table, not to mention the Zombie Ranch #1 print issue… it wasn’t a huge amount of brand recognition, but it was something, right?

So it’s never been purely Zombie Ranch when we go to conventions, nor do we feel it should be. But Art of Dawn is, well… Dawn’s baby, so it didn’t feel right to keep everything under that name either. Beyond that we had (have!) dreams of making more comics in the future, and we needed to figure out something to put on a permanent seller’s permit so we didn’t have to keep getting new permits every show, and…

You see how it goes — but the actual going has been slow. First figuring out the name, then the paperwork, then when you sign up for conventions you’re usually doing so weeks if not months in advance… and then there’s the matter of a Facebook/Twitter/Web presence when people go looking for you. It was a lot to sort out, but we’ve finally got everything at least in a fledgling state, just in time for our listing in the SDCC programming.

All that said, Zombie Ranch will be a BIG part of our presence at San Diego, and not just at our table… our Z Ranch temporary tattoos will be part of the giveaways for the Zombie Walk. We can’t be there ourselves due to needing to man the exhibit hall, but we’re hoping there’ll be a nice herd of branded zeds at the pre-party and shambling down the avenues, and the best part is you don’t even need a Comic-Con badge to participate!

Still lots of preparation to be done. I’ll have another blog for you next week, but we’ll be making use of a generously donated (and very striking) piece of fan art to tide you over until we continue the story in the wake of the Con, hopefully for the benefit of several new sets of eyeballs (rotting or otherwise). See you then!