Smash Pages Q&A: Fabian Rangel Jr. on ‘Blood Brothers’

The prolific writer of ‘Doc Unknown’ talks about his newest Kickstarter campaign for a graphic novel with artist Javier Caba.

Fabian Rangel Jr. has been building up a strong portfolio of comics work over the last few years, both as a self publisher and for various companies. In addition to working with places like Stela and Black Mask Studios, he’s taken crowdfunding to heart, and recently kicked off his fifth campaign to fund a new graphic novel called Blood Brothers.

Rangel is working with artist Javier Caba, letterer Ryan Ferrier and editor Jim Gibbons on the new supernatural/pulp story, which features two brothers solving mysteries in a city populated by monsters from myth and fantasy. Oh, and one of the brothers is a glow-in-the-dark luchador, which was enough to win me over.

I spoke to Rangel about the project, the appeal of Kickstarter and the recently formed Two Headed Press, an imprint he helped found with Ferrier, Chris Sebela, Ed Brisson, Curt Pires and Tini Howard.

Smash Pages: Fabian, this is the fifth Kickstarter you’ve run. What keeps bringing you back to it?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: I’ve got a lot of stories to tell, new artists I want to work with, and new ideas all the time. The comic publishers can’t keep up with me! I’ve got stuff lined up at several pubs next year, but I didn’t want to try and pitch Blood Brothers around. I didn’t feel like waiting for permission or approval. I keep going back to Kickstarter because it’s the fastest and easiest way to make sure whichever artist I’m working with gets a fair page rate, and because I like getting my books directly into reader’s hands.

How has this campaign differed from your previous ones?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: This one is for something completely new, so I was a bit nervous going in. My previous Kickstarters were for Doc Unknown (which I self published prior to KS) and for Six (which was a collection of previously released short horror comics), so knowing potential backers wouldn’t be familiar with the title and might not back it was kinda scary.

What is Blood Brothers about?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: Blood Brothers is about two detectives trying to solve a museum theft. It’s about these two brothers who both have unique abilities, and how they use them in a city populated by creatures from fantasy and mythology.

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In terms of the creatures populating the city, who can we expect to see? Will we recognize them, or are they new creations?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: I mostly describe creatures from fantasy and mythology, and there are for sure some characters that you can trace back to stuff like that. So yeah, you will definitely recognize some of them. But on the other hand, what’s awesome about Javier, is that he’ll throw in a few background characters that I didn’t suggest that are just so cool, weird, and completely new. Javi is a great monster/creature designer. So the answer is both!

What can you tell me about the two main characters? What’s their relationship like?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: Diego is the hard-boiled detective who can see and communicate with ghosts, and Gabriel is a luchador who’s skin glows in the dark when supernatural danger is around. The brothers are loyal to each other, but like most brothers, they can get on each other’s nerves. Gabriel is nice, tough, and has good luck, while Diego is kind of mean and has bad luck, which usually means he gets punched in the face a lot.

How did you and Javier Caba first meet, and what made you guys decide to work together on this?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: I met Javier on Twitter when he followed me. I took one look at his art and instantly knew I wanted to work with him. I reached out asking if he’d like to do something together, he said yes, and then I asked what kind of stuff he liked to draw. He said creatures, fantasy, monsters etc so I molded a story based on an older pulp/detective/luchador idea I had but incorporated his answer.

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And I heard through the grapevine that former Dark Horse/Stela editor Jim Gibbons is also involved in the project. What’s his role, and how did he come on board?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: Yup! I hired Jim to be the editor on Blood Brothers. I worked with Jim on Santos and Tribes over at Stela, and he is hands down my favorite editor to work with. He pushes me to be better, and he has a great eye for what will make the story really shine. I knew I wanted to keep working with him as much as possible, and it just so happened he became available recently. This is the first time I’ve actually hired an editor for something, but I knew he would take the story to the next level. I just want this comic to be the best it can be, and since I already have a killer artist in Javier, and my dude Ryan Ferrier on letters, I wanted to make sure the writing could match that same level of quality, and simple put, Jim is the guy to help me do that.

You’re part of Two-Headed Press, which was recently announced. What is Two-Headed Press, and what brought you guys together? And how will it all work?

Fabian Rangel Jr.: Two Headed Press is a self-publishing imprint from me, Chris Sebela, Ed Brisson, Ryan Ferrier, Curt Pires, and Tini Howard. It’s the six of us banding together to self-publish comics. It came about because some friends of mine were planning on self-publishing through Kickstarter. We all started talking about doing our own thing more and more, and decided if we were all going to be doing Kickstarters, it would be cool to do them under one umbrella. The way it works is if one of us wants to self-publish something utilizing Kickstarter, we do it under Two Headed, and support each other. For now it’s just the six of us, but we have plans to add more members down the road. After our individual Kickstarters, if a publisher wants to get involved, they can if they want, but that’s up to each member to decide. Each member can do whatever they want, make whatever kind of book they want. It’s basically just six friends deciding what comics they want to put out.

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