Mike Baron and Steve Rude Talk Nexus

With the release of Dark Horse Presents #12 next week, veteran creators Mike Baron and Steve Rude [...]

With the release of Dark Horse Presents #12 next week, veteran creators Mike Baron and Steve Rude will return to their beloved, creator-owned character, Nexus, for the first time since their self-publishing venture closed its doors in 2009. The character has been published, almost exclusively by Baron and Rude, intermittently for over 100 issues since the 1980s and is one of the most well-regarded creator-owned books in comics. They're frequently mentioned in the same breath as guys like Jeff Smith, Terry Moore and the Image founders, and their return to Nexus has been simmering for a long while, getting their fans nice and worked up over it. Now that it's here, we're happy to have had a chance to talk to them about the issue. Why Dark Horse for this iteration of Nexus? Mike Baron: No other publisher treats creators with such respect. Mike Richardson returned copyright and trademark to us. That's unprecedented. Dark Horse Presents is the place to be. Steve Rude: Mike Baron and I have always had a cordial and respectful relationship with Mike Richardson, the head of Dark  Horse comics.  Mike, after all, is the one who gave us the rights to Nexus back.  That alone puts us in his eternal favor.

Will the Dark Horse Presents story be a semi-regular thing, a story of a particualr length (e.g., six issues and out) or other? MB: The initial story is 41 pages. We then begin a chapter by chapter graphic novel of epic proportions. Nexus' greatest foe returns with a plan that will shake the universe. SR: Our intention will to be become ongoing, regular contributors to Dark Horse Presents. Any lapses in Nexus installments for this book, will probablly be due to other brief, life commitments. Besides, after being a few years out of the game, I found myself wishing to reinsert myself into the medium I most love. But just not as a publisher! It's interesting--you guys have been doing this character for years. I know that it hasn't always been easy, and in the comics industry most guys give up on their creator-owned stuff to go for a quick buck at some point. What's kept the pair of you anchored to Nexus? MB: Where that quick buck be at? We love our own babies the best, and Dude and I consider Nexus our comic-book calling. SR: The characters, and the importance of discovering the stories of their lives, is what attracts us to the Nexus cast. To be away from them too long, is like losing touch with good friends, who always tend to be up to something interesting. That asked, does going back to Dark Horse make it easier to make that a plausible alternative? MB: Absoluely. Does it feel good, being part of what's obviously a major launch period for Dark Horse? It seems like once a week there's some huge, insanely ambitious new series coming out and right in the middle of it--a fan-favorite like Nexus for the first time in a while. MB: We are very proud to be part of Dark Horse. SR: Yes, but far more critical, to the many 40, 50, and 60's something aged creators that used to dominate the field, is to note how many of us have uniformly lost our interest in reading comics these days. Somethings missing from today's books, and we'd like to see if our returning to them can bring it back. Is there a kind of cognitive dissonance, do you think, between that stylized more Silver Age feel of the art and the fairly harsh realities of the universe Nexus inhabits? MB: That's part of what makes it so interesting. We've often discussed our differing points of view--mine dark and brooding, Dude's bright and sunny, and how it's possible to integrate Dr. Seuss-like designs into stories about mass murderers. The answer is we meet in the middle and Dude is fully capable of rendering horror. We just don't do graphic horror. Horror is the toughest emotion for comics to achieve. Of course Nexus is not a horror comic, it's a space opera and in that arena, Dude excels, drawing as much from Alex Raymond, Kirby, and Manning as Dr. Seuss and Disney. SR: Think of Baron and I working on Nexus as being tied into a Yin and Yang concept; that of opposites working in tandem and somehow being able to pull it off. With Harry's age being held over instead of moving forward during the time when there were no books, what are the challenges of writing a baby? I mean, most guys don't do it. To pick a name out of a hat, The Flash's kids were artificially aged to be sidekick-appropriate ages almost immediately after they were introduced. MB: Babies are pretty easy. They're unformed. Out of the mouths of babes! We're showing the family in real time. SR: Well, perhaps that fact that Baron and I don't think in traditional "comic-book terms", such as with the babies and kids in the cast, has alot to do with it. Do you think the sociopolitical elements of Nexus tend to help you avoid certain tropes of the superhero genre, like always having to bring villains back? As you've said before, it means that there's always someone new around the corner. SR: " As we've said before..." MB: Definitely although the current stories are much less tethered to anything happening in the news right now than they used to be.