The hype is building. Anticipation is reaching a fever pitch. And here's the trailer:
Oh, man, I'm so clever*... you thought I was talking about that other... but I wasn't!
Okay, enough spoofery. Yes, I'm looking forward to this documentary about Steve "The Dude" Rude, who is at the top of my rather short list of favorites. Actually, my list of favorites could stretch for about thirty miles or so down a dusty country road if I were to write it out on a continuous roll of paper, like that used for printing newspapers. But the Dude's name is one of the first I'd write, near the top. Some of the others I'd also set down on it are represented in this trailer as well. Although some other names (Jaime Hernandez, Kojima Goseki, Takahashi Rumiko, Mike Mignola) frequently creep on there from slightly lower in the count, the top five might go something like this if you were to ask me today:
1) Jack Kirby
2) Alex Toth
3) Al Williamson
4) Steve Rude
5) Mike Allred
And so on.
Rude's work has charisma-- something we also call appeal-- and it goes beyond the clean lines and perfectly proportioned anatomy, the tiny elements of Dr. Seuss and Bruce Lee and Capt. Kirk that creep into it from time to time. Maybe because each work-- sketch or comic-- shows a man who knows how to draw, has just totally aced that aspect. His work defies passing trends and superficial style choices; instead, it's something real and solid, a craftsmanship that's tangible. That's how charsimatic it is. It feels as though you could touch it.
His abandonment of sequential work is a loss to comic books, but for those who can afford it, Rude will still draw almost any character-- usually not Batman, but there have been exceptions-- in classic mode, doing something lively, life-affirming and purely heroic. He posts a lot of these to his Facebook feed, sometimes in huge batches that just thrill with their energy. How does he do this? Perfectly formed figures, balanced black-spotting-- something I have all kinds of trouble with-- and use of negative space. And when he colors them with markers? I'm out of superlatives, baby. Smack out of 'em.
I wonder why he usually won't draw Batman. Is is a choice that springs from some philosophical objection to Batman, or is he just sick of getting a billion requests a day for Batman sketches? I'm too embarrassed to ask him. I loathe Batman and yet I draw him all the time. I prefer to draw him as a maniacal jackass, though.
*Nah, I'm just a dumbass.