Like many comics fans who are aware of Kickstarter, ComiXology, and other alternative ways to access comics, I feel I have a personal history with Doc Unknown. I’ve been watching the stellar comics writer Fabian Rangel, Jr. power through Kickstarter campaigns, painstaking issue by issue on this creator-owned series, for almost as long as I’ve been writing about comics. Through the process, he and artists on the series, Ryan Cody, have become a beacon of instruction and encouragement for how to run one’s own comic business through crowdfunding campaigns. When you look at starting up one’s own business, any real research will show you just how back-breaking it can be and what degree of commitment it entails. It means not having “time off” at night or on weekends, or possibly even holidays. It means worrying, freaking out, and not giving up. Most of all, it means you work every day and move forward even when you don’t feel like it or aren’t in the mood.
Creator-owned comics is a tough business–it’s a field full of amazing achievements, deserved praise, and is a massive inspiration for readers. Cultural and artistic change is coming about through creator-owned comics. But Doc Unknown, an occult noir series inspired by the likes of the Hellboy universe, shows just how tough creator-owned comics can be and the only sure fire way to bring beloved projects to fruition–absolute hard work and drive, organization, and personal vision.
It’s a crowning achievement for Rangel, Jr. and Cody that all existing Doc Unknown material is now being collected in a “beautiful hardcover” by Dark Horse Comics. With Dark Horse’s design and production department at work, no doubt it will be very attractive–a veritable brick of gorgeous comics available in comic shops and bookstores alike. Rangel, Jr. and Cody didn’t have to reach this point in order to know that they have succeeded–fans told them that through supporting their work all this time. But it is a wonderful statement about perseverance and running your own business.
Congratulations to Fabian Rangel, Jr. and Ryan Cody. You’ll be able to find the new hardcover containing Doc Unknown Volumes 1–3, the Boss Snake one-shot, and pinups by Mike Mignola, Eric Powell, and more on sale in July, 2017.
Here’s a description of the stories included:
Doc Unknown follows Warren Williams, a fighter pilot during World War II who crashes his plane and is taken in and trained by the warrior monks of the secret temple of Min-Yao. After a Nazi ambush, Warren returns to Gate City as Doc Unknown, a mysterious man fighting for good. Doc Unknown must protect Gate City from ruthless gangsters, monstrous mobsters, possessed museum attractions, evil secret societies, vampire ninjas, vengeful ghosts, hypnotizing fish-women, and much more!