Written by guest contributor Kevin Blanton
Steve Rude and Mike Baron created the character of Nexus, someone who could be seen as both hero and villain, made to kill those who were killers themselves. Now, Steve Rude marks the 35th anniversary of Nexus with the Nexus Compendium, a Kickstarter-funded look back at the creation of Nexus. We had a chance to ask Steve about all things Nexus.
Kevin Blanton: Does it feel like 35 years since you and Mike Baron created Nexus?
Steve Rude: I do feel a sense of many densely-packed years of creative effort having passed, yes. With Nexus I believe the good feelings of drawing and writing this book revolve around a very strong sense of accomplishment Mike Baron and I have for our decades-long combined efforts. The plans we have for the Nexus’ future are prodigious and exciting.
Kevin Blanton: Tell us about the Nexus Compendium.
Steve Rude: The Nexus Compendium embodies the entire history of these very real people who exist, on the surface, only in word balloons and ink on paper. Since Nexus’ creation in 1981, we’re now approaching our 35th anniversary mark in 2016. It seemed like a good place to pause and take a look back.
Kevin Blanton: Nexus has a large supporting cast. Who is your favorite character to draw?
Steve Rude: In the beginning, the cast went from a few select mains like Nexus, Sundra, and Dave, to an ever-expanding populace of crazed Politicians, alien criminals, and the normal societal grouping of doctors, dentists, and places to fly through space in rented Solar Sailboats.
Kevin Blanton: How has your approach to Nexus changed from your Capital Comics and First Comics days?
Steve Rude: My approach with my art hasn’t changed in the sense that drawing a comic book is still incredibly hard work. You have to put everything into this work. Some out of obligation for finally being worthy of drawing them in the first place, but also to keep giving to the readers, in our case, the fans of Nexus, what they rightfully expect from us in story and art to see delivered to them.
Kevin Blanton: What is the latest word on the Nexus movie, animated or otherwise?
Steve Rude: Dark Horse President, Mike Richardson, is still on the L.A. trail in pursuit of a live-action movie deal with Nexus. My own particular passions lie strictly with the animated series, which I still continue to work on and study for in my spare time. For any curious fans interested in an update: Since the 2-minute animated pilot I produced back in 2004, I’ve produced hundreds of production drawings, storyboards, and character layouts to accompany this series were it to become a reality. With a project like this, you need a unique, highly-motivated producer-type to invest in your cause, financially and production-wise. It’s a tough ballgame to try to score in or even get on base with.
Kevin Blanton: Why make the move to self-publishing?
Steve Rude: In the case of reviving the Rude Dude publishing name, it seemed like the perfect, low pressure kind of way back into things with the new adventures of Nexus in comic-strip form. After 35 years of Nexus existing as a 24 page comic book, the presentation of what people have always expected from us needed a make-over. It was then I decided to return to the very roots of the comic book, and present the strip version of Nexus, released just like a weekly edition of the Sunday paper.
Kevin Blanton: Your Wikipedia page states your most notable work is Nexus. Have you made your peace with that?
Steve Rude: I’ve always been content to know that readers have thought of Nexus as being the most associated with my name. From the beginning, Nexus has been an extension of mine and Baron’s lives. I fully expect the name Nexus to appear chiseled somewhere on my gravestone.
Kevin Blanton: What is your favorite non-Nexus project you have done?
Steve Rude: My favorite non-Nexus project is tough to pick. I feel proud of everything I’ve ever put my name on. I loved doing Superman and Batman, the various Marvel characters I’d returned to their classic appearance status in the issues I drew. Space Ghost, of course, is the main show responsible for how I see and hear Nexus. The many miscellaneous projects I’ve worked on were all things I felt proud of. When people come to me for art they expect the work I’m capable of. It’s my position not to let them down.
Kevin Blanton: Finally, what would you say to someone who has never heard of Nexus to get them to sample the story?
Steve Rude: My recommendation to someone who has never picked up an issue of Nexus might be this: If you’re a person of insight, who loves studying the condition of people facing difficult situations and trying circumstances, this book may interest you.