Nexus Returns in Dark Horse Presents!

Nexus Vol. 1

Nexus Vol. 1


by Roger Ash

One of the most popular independent comic creations of the 1980s is back as Nexus returns in Dark Horse Presents #12 by creators Mike Baron and artist Steve “The Dude” Rude. For those who may be unfamiliar with the series, what should they know going into this new story?

Dark Horse Presents #12 Dean Motter Cover

Dark Horse Presents #12 Dean Motter Cover


Nexus is space opera,” explains writer Mike Baron. “Nexus himself is an executioner of mass murderers who derives his power from the hearts of suns with the aid of the mysterious alien Merk. The stories depict a thriving culture with a supporting cast of fascinating characters. It’s for anyone who loves Star Trek, Star Wars, Magnus Robot Fighter, and other classic sci fi. Steve Rude is one of the great American illustrators right up there with Kirby, Russ Manning, Alex Raymond, and his contemporaries.”

How did the series end up in Dark Horse Presents? “It was a casual conversation with myself and Baron one day,” says artist Steve Rude. “I was ready to get back into comics but only if I could make a solid living at it. I had been doing this fine art stuff and having a great time doing it, but I wasn’t selling it. I had tried contacting DC about maybe doing some work, but DC never got back to me. When the opportunity came around with Baron it just seemed right. Since everything to me is dependent on how good the script is and it was good, I said yes.”

What’s on the way for Nexus? “First, in the May issue of Dark Horse Presents, is Bad Moon Rising,” says Baron. “This is a self-contained story that is 19 pages long. There follows a two parter, Infestation and The Insect Under the Stone. These are twelve and ten, respectively. We follow that up with a six pager.”

A special look at Steve Rude's pencils for the upcoming Nexus story. Page 5

A special look at Steve Rude's pencils for the upcoming Nexus story. Page 5


According to Rude, “The most important thing to me is when people read my work, when they look at the pictures, that they feel assured that the art is as exciting to them now as it was in Nexus #50, which is probably when I peaked. Every artist’s work can be traced to a time when they were hitting their peak, and it’s impractical to think that you can transcend yourself every year. Norman Rockwell had reached his by late-1920s and stayed consistently good up until the late-1960s. Same with the great Jack Kirby, who has always been my role model in comics.”

Since these stories are shorter than full-length comics, what challenges does that present for the creators? “The form is malleable in that I can use a single image on a page, or break it up into twelve panels,” Baron replies. “The balance is what’s important–to tell the story without crowding but without drawing it out as well. If I only have six pages to work with, I’m going to try to blow peoples’ minds in six pages.”

“Whether the stories are 100 pages or eight, storytelling is storytelling and I don’t try to manipulate the art based on how short or long the story may be”, says Rude. “In fact, Richardson has specifically asked for eight-page segments on Nexus, in keeping with the DHP format. I blew that all to hell. Baron’s stories were all written as 10 pagers, but I turned the first one into a full 19. This drove Richardson crazy. He said, ‘We’ve got a budget, we’ve got to stay within it!’ I finally said, ‘Hey, Just throw it in eight pages at a time and hope it works.’ So if people are reading this thing and it ends on kind of a funny note, they can blame the Dude.”

More of Steve Rude's gorgeous pencils for an upcoming Nexus story. Page 8

More of Steve Rude's gorgeous pencils for an upcoming Nexus story. Page 8


After all this time, what keeps the pair coming back to Nexus? “With your own creations, they’re always created in one’s own image,” responds Rude. “Nexus, Sundra, and Dave exist to us in the format that we deliver them in. Baron writes them, I draw them, and they seem pretty real to us.”

“We have created a world where the characters now dictate the story to us. It is impossible to leave alone!” adds Baron. “Dude and I are in it for the long haul. Been working together since ’81. Our methods have changed but the story hasn’t. We’re working very closely on this new series mostly via telephone. A lot of artists wish I would go back to drawing each page out by hand like I used to but I can’t do that because of the grief it causes my back. I write full script now.”

After the run in Dark Horse Presents, what’s next for Nexus? “Dude and I would like to make it an ongoing series,” reveals Baron. “We’re already planning a multi-entry storyline that will add up to a coherent graphic novel–we hope. And we know what it’s about. It’s gonna be scary. It’s gonna be creepy. It’s gonna blow peoples’ minds like Scanners. It will open up a world of wonder.”

Badger cover

Badger cover


Baron also has plans to bring back another of his classic characters from the 80s. “First is releasing a new Badger series later this year. The artists are the Fillbach Brothers and they are phenomenal. I’ve put some of the art up on my Facebook fan page.

Badger page 8

Badger page 8


Badger page 12

Badger page 12


“People are predicting the death of comics–at least of the paper comic,” he continues. “Ain’t gonna happen. There will always be a demand for physical product, even if it consists of gathering material that had previously only been available on the internet. Save your comics, people, because when the ChiComs hit us with that enormous EMP, your iPads will be wiped out!”

With the return of Nexus, lovers of action/adventure sci fi comics certainly have something to look forward to. And it’s quite obvious from their enthusiasm, the Mike Baron and Steve Rude are looking forward to it as well.

Dark Horse Presents #12 Sam Kieth Cover

Dark Horse Presents #12 Sam Kieth Cover


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Dark Horse Presents #12

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