This month marks the arrival of the 5th annual 30 Characters Challenge, the excellent event run by ComixTribe publisher Tyler James, where participants have to create a new comic character for every day of the whole month of November. I participated in the first year, successfully completing the challenge with 30 badly-drawn characters of my own, but haven’t done it again since. I won’t be participating this year either, but thought it might be fun to spend each day writing up a little showcase to celebrate a new comic character who showed up in comic pages for the first time this year. Comics are one of the most highly inventive mediums around, and this has been a particularly strong year for pumping out exciting new stories packed with compelling new characters. Let’s take a look at some of my favourites.
11. DOC UNKNOWN
The first entry in this series was Fabian Gray, the grim, tortured protagonist of Five Ghosts. But Fabian is not the only uber-cool throwback pulp adventurer to break out onto the comics scene in 2013. I’ve considered Doc Unknown to be like a lighter sister series to Five Ghosts, and its eponymous hero is a more upbeat alternative to the haunted Gray.
Doc Unknown really was a delightful miniseries. Ostensibly a collection of four chapters that largely work together as standalone adventures (with only 3 and 4 immediately following on from one another), they really converge neatly to tell the story of Doc Unknown’s eventful past, and quickly establish a colorful rogues gallery of monsters, gangsters, secret societies, mummies, vampire dragons and cyber Nazis for our hero. It’s great, action-packed fun, all held together by Ryan Cody’s energetic visuals, and the old-school charm of its protagonist.
All 4 issues are available to buy from ComiXology now, with a graphic novel collection on the way. And it was recently confirmed that Doc Unknown will return soon, with his continued adventures being serialised as backups in future issues of Five Ghosts. So we can all hold out hope for a Fabian Gray/Doc Unknown dream team team-up!