Crowdfunding Review: “Monster M.D.” (Rise Again Comics)

Today, we’ll be reviewing the crowdfunded comic book Monster M.D. by Rise Again Comics. For those of you not familiar with our crowdfunding review format, we grade a crowdfunding campaign on four distinct categories:

  • Book Content and Quality
  • Communication and Fulfillment
  • Packaging and Shipping
  • Stretch Goals and Bonuses

With Monster M.D., I backed the basic “Signed Comic” tier which was $25 plus shipping. So was Monster M.D. just what the doctor ordered, or was it a prescription for disaster? Read on and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.   

Book Content and Quality

Monster M.D. was written and created by Von Klaus and features art by Marco Maccagni, colors by Tanya Wicker, and lettering by the ever-prolific Eric Weathers (Battle Brick Road). The book includes a 114-page main story and a 14-backup story starring the doctor’s sidekick, Heidi the Invisible Medical Assistant.

The story follows a one Dr. Wyatt Black, aka the titular Monster M.D., who is growing a bit weary of his lot in life: providing medical care for the creatures of the night, including vampires, golems, succubus (not as sexy as you might think), slender man, pregnant trolls, a giant praying mantis… you get the idea. You see, Doc Black abandoned a more traditional medical career after a bit of a falling out in medical school. To be more precise, he lost his arm trying to save a revenant from a monster hunting psycho.

Since then, the good doctor has taken on the task of coming to the aid to all monsters, great and small, and is aided by his sassy medical assistant, Heidi the invisible woman. Despite his attempts to walk away from monster medicine, Wyatt is forced to finally face the evil’s of his past in a very dramatic showdown.

“Oh my, what big paws you have…”

Despite being dark and featuring monstrous creatures, Monster M.D. is not really a scary or brooding book, it’s pretty light-hearted despite its macabre subject matter. The characters are genuinely likable and there are plenty of funny moments. “Come have a taste, bitch!” is my personal favorite line of choice. Hidden in the artwork are references to other horror franchises, including The Shining, The Walking Dead, and Sesame Street. Yup. There are also some tombstones with names I’m sure that many readers will recognize.

Maccagni’s artwork complements the tone of the story nicely. The characters are very expressive and have an animated look to them. Some of the vibrant color choices make the art pop nicely and keeps things from looking too drab. This is especially noticeable during the sequences that show off all of the doc’s gear and gadgets, which a have a spark and glow fitting for the maddest of mad scientists.

Despite being a large book, the story reads very quickly. It makes for a good, single-sitting read in that regard, but those hoping for more of a long-form epic from their 114 pages will be a bit disappointed. Part of this is due to how much time Monster M.D. spends on certain sequences. For example, there is a monster treatment montage in the middle of the book that takes up 12 pages, and the final battle sequence takes up 24 pages. In these cases, the character development and plot-driving action essentially stops, with the monster treatment used to drop in a bunch of gags while the final battle is drawn out a bit longer than necessary. I would have preferred these sequences to be trimmed a bit in favor of a little more character development, maybe Wyatt being “pulled” away from his work by the normal world, as we have plenty of examples of him being pushed away by the monster world.

As written, Monster M.D. could either be described as “focussed” or “narrow,” depending on your taste. I would have like to see just a bit more of the world surrounding the main characters, but as an introduction to the character, it was still very solid. To be fair, the back-up story that tells Heidi’s origin accomplishes the world building to some degree, so it’s a welcome addition to the overall package.

On a presentation side, Monster M.D. is an extremely solid product. The spot-gloss cover looks beautiful, and it may very well be my favorite of all my crowdfunded independent comics. The book has a good heft to it, and the pages themselves are a high quality stock. There was one or two cases of missing dialogue arrows, but these didn’t impact the book’s readability very much.

Grade: B+

Communication and Fulfillment

I did not back the Monster M.D. campaign during its crowdfunding period in 2019. In fact, I didn’t back the project until April 2020. Why did I eventually make the choice to jump in?

Von Klaus did a spectacular job communicating with those following the Monster M.D. campaign via email. Even though I had not backed the book, just from clicking “like” on Indiegogo, I received email updates which showed the progress of the project. The amount of confidence that Klaus instilled cannot be understated. Real progress was being made, pages were being completed, and most importantly, the book looked great.

Using both these emails and updates directly on the Indiegogo campaign page, Klaus and co. touched base every month or so, which isn’t quite as frequent as some would like, but it certainly isn’t overdoing it. It’s also worth noting that the book arrived a few months later than I expected it to, but I never felt out of the loop or concerned about the status of the project.

That is one big pile of shipping boxes

Grade: A-

Packaging and Shipping

On 17 March, I received an email notification that a Mr. Von Klaus had sent me a package, complete with a USPS tracking number. Five days later, that package arrived safe and sound.

The comic inside was bagged and boarded, with the extras tucked into their own plastic sleeve and secured in the Gemini mailer box with layers of cardboard folded in-between. The all-important signatures inside the books arrived unblemished, and almost everything came out flawlessly. Almost? The pin-back button clasp put a slight dent in the Terror in the Trenches promotional print. Those buttons are tricky business, I tell ya’ what.

It’s tough to be too upset over the damaged print, especially considering that the print itself is completely promotional and not part of the campaign’s listed bonus items. Still, sometimes you gotta take your licks.

Grade: A-

Stretch Goals and Bonuses

The Monster M.D. campaign came with a varied assortment of bonus tchotchkes, including:

  • Bonus Comic – Shinobi Sasquatch Vs. Monster M.D.
  • Trading card
  • Bookmark
  • Logo Patch
  • Pinback button

We noted above how that mischievous little button caused a mild bit of trouble, but it’s a cool little trinket along with the other items. The black and white patch came out clean, I always appreciate a double-sided bookmark, and the trading card has quite a bit of background information on the reverse side, all presented like a doctor’s notes.

Still, the standout bonus item is undoubtedly the Shinobi Sasquatch Vs. Monster M.D. bonus comic, which is written by Klaus, illustrated by Maccagni, and features cover art by Rob Willis. I won’t go into much detail as backers of Shinobi Sasquatch should also be receiving a copy when that project fulfills, but Shinobi Sasquatch Vs. Monster M.D. is a fun, fairly well-realized crossover for a short bonus story. The art is black and white this time around, and while the artwork doesn’t feel quite as rich as Maccagni’s work in the main Monster M.D. book, it’s very possible that going with too much detail would muddy the action in a monochrome book.

Anything else to nitpick here? I kinda wish the colors for the Shinobi Sasquatch Vs. Monster M.D. title logo popped more distinctly on the cover. There. You can’t be all sunshine and rainbows, otherwise these creators get cocky, you know?

Don’t lose yer noodle, bitch!

Grade: A

Overall, Monster M.D. was a unique and enjoyable book that introduces several enjoyable new characters. It’s not without its flaws and there were a few aspects of the the story that I wish had played out a bit differently, but the overall package was stellar. The creators did an exceptional job communicating and promoting the book, and everything arrived in tip top shape. This particular operation was a rousing success.

Overall Grade: A-

Before you head out, I got a chance to review and discuss Monster M.D. in-depth with Leroi on his YouTube channel, which you can watch below.

Thanks for reading!

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