Sunday, February 11, 2007


I've mentioned before that one of my greatest disoveries in the 1980s was the existence of comic book shops, places where you could buy back issues and also find comics that were only available to that direct market. I sold a lot of issues of various DC series in order to get enough money in trade for some of these new (to me) titles - Grendel and Elementals from Comico and Grimjack and Nexus from First - chief among them. These comics took that superhero archetype and added something different and I loved them. I collected those comics throughout the years and made it a priority to check back in with them when I came back to comics in 1994. Things had changed, as things do, but I was still able to buy them from time to time or buy up those issues I'd missed. Then things changed again and I got rid of all my comics (except for trades...and yes, I'd do things differently if I could) and I lost my chance to reread those adventures.

In the fall of 2005, Dark Horse Comics started publishing Nexus Archives. I wanted it immediately, of course, but the $50 price tag was a bit steep. Each subsequent volume brought up the same feelings (Volume 5) is about to come out) but I still resisted. Finally, I relented, thanks to a good discount on Amazon and extra cash I got for Christmas and I bought Volume 1. I am so glad I did.

Nexus is the story of Horatio Hellpop, who is cursed by dreams of the evil men (and women) do. In order to keep from going mad, he dons a costume and uses his great power to execute them. For this he is both loved and feared. He lives on the moon, Ylum (pronounced "eye-lum"), and allows refugees to live there with him. That's an extremely simple explanation for a tale that can be very complex and have a variety of moods. Mike Baron has filled the world of Nexus with great characters like Judah the Hammer and Clausius the Slaver and Sundra Peale and Tyrone and so on.

Another highlight of the series is the art of Steve Rude. If I were forced to list my top five artist, he would be in there (and would have been at any point since my discovery of Nexus). This first volume collects the early black-and-white issues and the first four color issues and you can see his development as you turn the pages (and he was pretty well-developed to begin with). He handles action and personal drama equally well, along with wonderful scenery and well, all of it. It's a science fiction comic with a wide variety and he handles it all perfectly. And his Sundra Peale is one of the most beautiful women is comics without being drawn in an overexaggerated manner.

I am very happy stopped having any hangups about buying Nexus Archives and I will not wait long before I buy the next volume. This is comics at its finest.

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