Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dude is selling encyclopedias

Actually, Steve Rude's selling pages from the first story he and Mike Baron-- they remain the Nexus superteam supreme-- did together. It's called "Encyclopedia Salesman" and it's from way, way back in 1980. You can take a look at the art on EBay or Rude's Facebook "Encyclopedia Salesman" album and witness the first twinklings of the comic book superstar we call the Dude, just like how astronomers who look farther and farther into deep space see celestial bodies as they were millions and millions of years ago.

If my Google Fu is working for me today, apparently this story didn't see print until sometime in 1983-1984 in Vanguard Illustrated, a sci-fi anthology from Pacific Comics. Which I never read!

In 1980, I was only reading DC's Sgt. Rock and Marvel's Star Wars, Micronauts and the occasional "well drawn" issue of Avengers. But by 1983, I was seriously into comics and supported all the small publishers (I was a pimply-face skinny little dork)-- mostly because their books looked so good. We read Comics Scene magazine and tossed around jargon like "mando" and "Baxter" in those days, referring to paper but I seriously doubt we knew what we were talking about. Pacific and First Comics put out some gorgeous books and many of them had stories and characters to match-- Groo the Wanderer, Nexus, American Flagg!, Elric of Melnibone, The Rocketeer, books by Jack Kirby...

I read 'em all, even though they were pretty expensive.

I was even into Aardvark-Vanaheim-- a regular reader of Cerebus and an occasional one of Ms. Tree and Flaming Carrot Comics. And also anything starring Judge Dredd from Eagle Comics. Oh, and the color The Spirit reprints from Kitchen Sink Press. I once traded the first two issues of Conan the Barbarian for an entire run of those, plus some odds and ends!

Oddly enough, however, I didn't read Nexus until Dark Horse started publishing it.

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