Nexus – Nightmare in Blue No. 4 (October 1997)
Dark Horse Comics
Rude Dude Productions
|Publication date||January 1981 – October 1982|
May 1983 – May 1991
1992 – 1997
|No. of issues||100+|
|Written by||Mike Baron|
|Volume 1||ISBN 1-59307-398-4|
Nexus is an American comic book series created by writer Mike Baron and penciler Steve Rude in 1981. The series is a combination of the superhero and science fiction genres, set 500 years in the future.
The series debuted as a three-issue black-and-white limited series (the third of which featured a 33 RPM flexi disc with music and dialogue from the issue), followed by an ongoing full-color series which lasted 80 issues. The black-and-white issues and the first six color issues were published by Capital Comics; after Capital's demise, First Comics took over publication.
On the creation of the series, Baron noted that they had originally pitched a series called Encyclopaedias to Capital Comics, but the company rejected this, saying they were looking for a superhero title. Over a drink at a restaurant, Baron outlined his ideas for Nexus to Rude:
Nexus was entirely Baron's idea. He even came up with the lightning bolt for the costume. All that we needed then was a name... a few weeks passed. Baron calls, and, without preamble, just says "Nexus." We finally had our name."
In addition to the ongoing series, First reprinted the original miniseries as a graphic novel and later reprinted the first two years of the ongoing title in the Nexus Legends series. The ongoing series was also supplemented by The Next Nexus, a four-issue miniseries that followed Nexus No. 52. Following the conclusion of the ongoing series with No. 80 (May 1991), seven miniseries and two one-shot comics were published by Dark Horse Comics. The last of these miniseries was printed in black and white as a cost-cutting measure; low sales led to the series being discontinued. Although each miniseries had its own issue numbering, Baron and Rude added a sequential number to each, as explained in the back of the first issue of Nexus: Executioner's Song:
The current issue number was figured by continuing First Publishing's numbering, which ended at volume 2, No. 80. Adding Nexus: The Origin, Nexus: Alien Justice #1–3, and Nexus: The Wages of Sin #1–4 brings it up to 88 — making "Dark Side of the Moon" #89.
Baron and Rude discussed plans to either revive the series or release a movie, possibly in animated form. (A brief animated test clip was shown at comics conventions). From July 2007 through July 2009 they published the miniseries Space Opera, which culminated in a double-size issue #101/102.
The creators' canonical publication list includes 105 issues:
- Volume 1 (Black and White) – #1 – 3
- Volume 2 – #1 – 80
- Nexus: The Origin (#81)
- Nexus: Alien Justice (#82 – #84)
- Nexus: Wages of Sin (#85 – #88)
- Nexus: Executioner's Song (#89 – #92)
- Nexus: God Con (#93 – #94)
- Nexus: Nightmare in Blue (#95 – #98)
- Nexus: Space Opera (#99 – #102)
- Dark Horse Presents #12–14, Bad Moon Rising & Infestation
- Dark Horse Presents #23–26, #29–34 into the Past
The lead character, Horatio Valdemar Hellpop, received his Nexus powers from an alien entity called the Merk. As payment, the Merk required Nexus to seek out and kill a certain quantity of human mass murderers per "cycle". When the Merk selected a target, Nexus would receive strong headaches and maddeningly anguishing dreams (whose extremely intense episodes caused physical injuries to Hellpop's body that emulated the dream violence) of his target's victims until he did his duty. Horatio was reluctant to act as the Merk's tool, but continued seeking out mass murderers to maintain his power and his sanity so that he could defend his homeworld, a lunar refuge named Ylum (a shortening of the word "asylum", thus pronounced "eye-lum").
Both Baron and Rude paid homage to Space Ghost in their work on Nexus, including use of the battle cry "This calls for hyperspeed!" and including Space Ghost characters Jan, Jayce, and Blip in several uncredited background cameos. Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters from Jonny Quest, The Herculoids and Magnus Robot Fighter along with his girlfriend Leeja Clane are frequently spotted in Nexus comics along with the occasional appearance of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Rude was later hired to create a Space Ghost comic for Comico with writer Mark Evanier.
Steve Rude cited a number of influences on his clean, distinctive style, including Space Ghost character designs and other work by Alex Toth, Doug Wildey, Jack Kirby and commercial illustrators of the 1940s and 1950s, particularly Andrew Loomis. Rude occasionally does covers in the style of another great American illustrator, Norman Rockwell.
Baron's Nexus stories responded to the world he was writing in, with competing merchants overwhelming media channels (and telepathy) with advertising. A great computerized library controlled the universe's memory of history. Some of his early 1980s references have become outdated, such as the menacing Sov empire.
Dark Horse Comics hardcover archive editions include:
- Nexus Archives, v1 (ISBN 1-59307-398-4, reprinted Nexus #1–3, v2 #1–4)
- Nexus Archives, v2 (ISBN 1-59307-455-7, reprinted Nexus v2 #5–11)
- Nexus Archives, v3 (ISBN 1-59307-495-6, reprinted Nexus v2 #12–18)
- Nexus Archives, v4 (ISBN 1-59307-583-9, reprinted Nexus v2 #19–25)
- Nexus Archives, v5 (ISBN 1-59307-584-7, reprinted Nexus v2 #26–32)
- Nexus Archives, v6 (ISBN 1-59307-791-2, reprinted Nexus v2 #33–39)
- Nexus Archives, v7 (ISBN 1-59307-877-3, reprinted Nexus v2 #40–46)
- Nexus Archives, v8 (ISBN 1-59582-236-4, reprinted Nexus v2 #47–52, Next Nexus #1)
- Nexus Archives, v9 (ISBN 1-59582-313-1, reprinted Nexus v2 #53–57, Next Nexus #2–4)
- Nexus Archives, v10 (ISBN 1-59582-438-3, reprinted Nexus v2 #58–65)
- Nexus Archives, v11 (ISBN 1-59582-496-0, reprinted Nexus v2 #66–73)
- Nexus Archives, v12 (ISBN 1-59582-636-X, reprinted Nexus v2 #74–80)
- Nexus: Space Opera (ISBN 0-9792311-3-2, reprinted Nexus #99–102)
- Nexus: As It Happened, v1 (ISBN 0-9792311-5-9, reprinted Nexus #1–3, v2 #1–4)
Dark Horse Comics Softcover omnibus editions:
- Nexus Omnibus, v1 (ISBN 1-61655-034-1, reprinted Nexus v1 #1–3, Nexus v2 #1–11)
- Nexus Omnibus, v2 (ISBN 1-61655-035-X, reprinted Nexus v2 #12–25)
- Nexus Omnibus, v3 (ISBN 1-61655-036-8, reprinted Nexus v2 #26–39)
- Nexus Omnibus, v4 (ISBN 1-61655-037-6, reprinted Nexus v2 #40–52, Next Nexus #1)
- Nexus Omnibus, v5 (ISBN 1-61655-038-4, reprinted Nexus v2 #53–65, Next Nexus #2–4)
- Nexus Omnibus, v6 (ISBN 1-61655-473-8, reprinted Nexus v2 #66–80, The Nexus Files)
- "Nexus Omnibus, v7 (ISBN 1-50670-002-0, reprints Nexus: The Origin, Nexus: The Liberator #1–4, Nexus: Alien Justice #1–3, Hammer of the God: Pentathlon, Mezz: Galactic Tour 2494, Hammer of God: Butch #1–3, and the Clonezone Special")
- "Nexus Omnibus, v8 (ISBN 1-50670-027-6, reprints "Nexus: The Wages of Sin #1–4, Nexus: Executioner's Song #1–4, Nexus: God Con #1–2, Nexus: Nightmare in Blue #1–4, and Nexus meets Mad Man!")
Martin A. Stever reviewed Nexus in Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer No. 83. Stever commented that "The success of the book is due, in part, to its greatly detailed setting. Together Baron and Rude have fleshed out an entire future universe that is as rich and original as anything that I've seen in any medium."
The series won a total of six Eisner Awards. In 1988, the series won an award for Best Artist/Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team. 1992's Nexus: Origin won awards for Best Single Issue/Single Story, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Artist/Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team. In 1997, Nexus: Executioner's Song won Best Artist/Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team. In 2008, Todd Klein won Best Letterer/Lettering for his work on Nexus.
The Nexus series produced several crossover issues, featuring characters from several other First series, including American Flagg!, Grimjack, Jon Sable: Freelance, Badger, Whisper and Dreadstar. An example of Nexus crossover issues is the series Crossroads, published in 1988. Following the switch in publishers from First to Dark Horse, Nexus crossed over with Madman (Nexus Meets Madman) and Magnus Robot Fighter (Magnus Robot Fighter/Nexus).
A 2-minute promo for Nexus animated series was produced in 2004.
- Baker, Bill (w). The History of Nexus 100 (January 2008), Rude Dude Productions
-  Steve Rude Executes Animated Nexus
-  BARON AND RUDE RETURN TO "NEXUS" IN "DARK HORSE PRESENTS"
- Stever, Martin A. (October–November 1988). "The Ruler". Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer. World Wide Wargames (83): 29–30.
- Nexus: The Animated Series Promo (Video 2004) – IMDb
- Nexus at the Comic Book DB