Steve Rude is one of those artists I love but have never really covered here that much (hell, a quick scan of my tags in the sidebar show this is the first post I've written that's featured him at all, shockingly). NEXUS was a comic I saw as a kid and admired, rather than loved wholeheartedly, but that admiration was all due to Rude's slick classicism. I didn't go back and revisit NEXUS until a decade ago, when I bought a lot of it retrospectively on Ebay, when I became a total convert. The first comic of his I really fell for contemporaneously was 1987's MISTER MIRACLE SPECIAL. I'm sure we've all worked out what a sucker I am for Kirby-as-a-genre, and this was one of the best early examples of that tradition. I'd similarly love other later forays into the work-for-hire world, working on the signature characters of some of the creators whose influences were most visible in his work - Kirby and Romita (like this, this and this). I find it a weird and flawed world that when Rude was having legal, financial and mental health problems last year, editors were not beating at his door to offer the guy work. He was actively seeking employment, and apparently no-one was answering his calls. The guy's style may have obvious silver age antecedents, but it has never been old-fashioned or retro, or "cartoony" (that bug-bear that drives the Wednesday-crowd readership of Big Comics' output bananas). Rude's work transcends these problems, like José Luis García-López's does. It's just pure American comics, what non-comics readers really expect to see, but seldom do, on the rare occasion when they pick one up. I would have thought that pairing him up with any popular superhero writer du jour would result in an instant potential crossover hit.
Anyway, I didn't set out to write that high-on-fan-entitlement rant. I intended to get to the art much quicker before I got carried away. When I'm not working, or blogging, or playing in Mid-Ulster's finest cargo-cult rock'n'roll act, you'll already know I'm probably brewing up some excellent artisan booze. As well as producing the world's shittiest lagers, America paradoxically also produces the world's finest craft beers. Rude has produced a bunch of art for these guys, and he's selling the original art on Ebay here.
This was Bad Librarianship post number #1999.