Tell us a little about yourself and your background? (Where are you from, where you grew up, when did you start writing?)
I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas (shout out to Selena). I found out that writing was fun for me in the 8th grade thanks to an awesome teacher. I started writing and playing music when I was 15, and from 20 to 30 I played in bands (playing shows, going on tour, putting out records) I settled down by making comics 6 years ago.
Black Mask Productions has seemingly come out of nowhere and has some very interesting titles. How did you get mixed up with them?
You’re on the mean streets just tryin’ to survive and you end up fallin’ in with the wrong crowd. Nah. I had been following the work of my buddy Matt Miner, and I was stoked when he asked me to write a short story for the Liberator trade. After that, they knew who I was. So, the answer is the internet.
Alexis came up with these awesome looking characters, and his art inspired me. I don’t know how I came up with the whole Peligro wanting revenge thing, but since most action stories focus on that it wasn’t too much of a stretch. Their individual personality traits just kinda happened as I was writing their dialogue, and the story is pretty much just stuff that I made up in between crazy shit I wanted to see Alexis draw.
The universe in this book is very interesting, what influenced you to create this universe? I can certainly see some of the Marvel cosmic undertones in this story.
Infinity Gauntlet was the first collected edition of a comic I read when I was in 7th grade (1993?) so yeah, it had a huge impact on me. Now, as an adult, reading Kirby’s space stuff is most definitely an inspiration. The scale of things, the insanity, the power. JACK KIRBY FOREVER
I love the idea of cosmic omnipotent begins in a story, especially in a space opera, as you have incorporated into Space Riders. What type of characters do you love to incorporate into your stories and how does your Spanish heritage influence your writing?
There really isn’t one kind of character that has to show up in all of my stories, but when I do find room for someone like Peligro it rules because I can just let loose. I’m pretty impatient and get annoyed pretty easily so he’s the easiest to write. So yeah, I guess I gotta write someone who has no patience. When Alexis told me the name of the main character, I just figured he would pepper his dialogue with Spanish. That’s how everyone talks down here so it was pretty cool to base his manner of speaking on where I live.
The visuals in this book are some of the most exceptional I have seen in a comic. When you started writing this book and now looking at the finished product how do the two compare from your initial vision to what you hold in your hand?
Well, it was Alexis’ baby, I’m just glad he asked me to come along for the ride. I had a good idea what the book would look like based on his art, but yeah, the finished product is beyond what I imagined. Alexis is a beast. His color work instantly draws people in, and his designs are just outside of what everyone else does. The book is fucking KILLER.
Just to clarify, Alexis asked me to collaborate with him, Space Riders started with him. But yeah, I had seen his work on the covers for Loki Ragnarok and Roll from Boom! and was like,”Oh shiiitttt this dude would be rad for my space Viking comic.” But he was busy, I was busy, so nothing happened at first. Fast forward a few months later, and I’m at ECCC 2014, and he hits me up asking if I want to come up with a pitch based on his character sketches of the three Space Riders. The rest is cosmic history.
It is safe to say that the ending for Space Riders is wide open. When I purchased this book I was under the impression that it was a 4 issue miniseries. However after reading I am certain there is going to be more, 4 short issues is not enough to explore these characters and this universe in adequate detail. Is this going to be an ongoing monthly series, what is next for Space Riders?
Space Riders has exploded onto the comic scene. The interesting story and exceptional artwork together has created a stellar end product. What were your expectations for Space Riders when you started writing this story?
Actually, I was totally worried people wouldn’t get it, or that they would dismiss it as being silly (especially the writing), but when the first issue sold out on the day of release I figured people got what we were going for.
I am not sure if you are aware, but as far as collecting goes these first 4 issues of Space Riders is already quite difficult to find. I had to purchase mine on Ebay, and I paid quite a bit more than retail for them. How does that make you feel as a creator to already have your book as somewhat of a collector’s item?
It’s flattering for sure, but also it bums me out. I wish Space Riders was in every comic and book store. I want everyone who enjoys fun stories to be able to get their hands on it.
Black Mask has created quite a bit of buzz with a hand full of titles including Space Riders. Titles like We Can Never Go Home and Young Terrorist, just to name a few, are already hard to find and selling for well above their retail price. Can you talk about the success of Black Mask, and what do you think is driving this unique achievement in the ultra-competitive world of comics?
The success of BMS comes from not being scared to publish crazy shit from relative unknowns. BMS is putting out books that resonate, and people are noticing.
This is not your first comic, can you talk about some of your other books that you have created?
That’s a whole other interview! A lot. I’ve put out A LOT of comics since 2010. You ca find most of them on comiXology Submit. Most notable one besides Riders would be DOC UNKNOWN. A supernatural pulp action/adventure. We did three Kickstarters, and people really dug that one.
As an up and coming comic writer, do you have any specific goals? Maybe something that you set for yourself either words per day, or how many pieces you would like to complete each year? What drives you to keep pushing forward?
My biggest goal was to write TMNT and I got to do an 8 pager in the back of Amazing Adventures #6, so I guess I can retire. Kidding. I don’t set goals for pages per day or anything, I just make sure I stay way ahead of the artists I work with. They never have to wait for me. Really, the biggest thing that drives me to keep making comics, is wanting to keep orking with amazing artists.
Of all your projects which on are you most proud of, or which one means the most to and why?
Doc Unknown because it’s everything I love about comics rolled into one, and because I went ahead and went through Hell to get it made because I believed that it had an audience. That one is my baby (along with artist Ryan Cody). But of course Space Riders because it blows people’s minds so thoroughly. It’s so fun to see people freak out over that book.
Who was your biggest influence that pushed you to want to be a writer?
Boredom. Knowing there were comics missing from my pile, the kind of comics only I could write.
Can you talk about any new projects you are working on? What does 2016 hold for Fabian Rangel Jr?
Lots! I’m doing two books with new digital publisher STELA, Alexis and I have that OGN about to be announced next month, I have something new in one of my favorite anthologies, the collected hardcover of The Storyteller is about to be available for preorder, and I’ve got like three things that haven’t been announced yet. Trust me, lots of stuff coming your way in 2016 and beyond.
As an aspiring writer, can you offer any advice to me or anyone else out there? What do you attribute your success or perhaps failures to along your journey? What has helped you the most to become successful?
When you’re first starting out, keep it short. 5 pagers, 8 pagers, one-shots. Think of an ending so you have something to work towards. Find a way to pay your artists. Finish what you start. Have fun, make the kind of comic YOU want to read, not what you THINK other people want to read. Learn to spot an artist’s strengths, and write for them. You’ll need imagination, focus, time and lots of coffee. It takes a lot of hard work to make something look easy.
Thanks for taking the time to ask me these questions! You can find almost all of my comics on ComiXology. Doc Unknown, Los Muertos, SIX, Space Riders, The Storyteller:Dragons #1. I’m on FB and Twitter, y’all!