Sporadic Sequential
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Part of the Problem; Hopefully Also Part of the Solution

Here's some sad news from a favorite creator of mine. I received this in my email this morning from Steve Rude, which I'll reproduce in full for those of you not on the Dude's newsletter mailing list:


The numbers for the last two books are in and they don't look good. We have been told that Nexus: As it Happened V1 will reach Diamond by the 9th which should be in time for the 13th in stores date. Around June 16th we will receive our Diamond order for 101/102.

Steve has only the cover to 101/102 to complete then the artwork is complete for all of the books as he inadvertently did the trade paperback cover before the 101/102 cover.

Steve is then turning his focus to gallery paintings. Steve is a brilliant artist and we've been living hand to mouth for the past 3 years. Losing over $5,000 in the last 2 printings we have been unable to pay our mortgage have have no desire to lose our house.

Steve does plan to continue in comics putting out a book direct to trade every few years and using gallery painting as a means to finance his comic endevors.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us by ordering commissions or purchasing artwork.

It bums me out to think of a dedicated comic pro losing money and not being able to pay his mortgage due to pursuing his dream of putting out comics. Luckily, Rude is able to support himself through other means, but it's a bummer to think that an incredible talent and industry legend like Rude isn't able to make a living via comics. I don't know if self-publishing was part of the problem, if that made it less likely for fans and retailers to see or order his work if it wasn't up at the front of the Previews catalog under one of the major comic publishers?

Reading this letter, I felt a twinge of guilt. I love Rude's work, but I wasn't buying the singles because I preferred to wait for the trade. Rude never badgered readers into buying the singles; in fact, he was always up-front about the fact that a trade paperback collection of the "Space Opera" storyline would be available soon after serialization was complete. Still, I feel a little like those Shojo Beat boosters who were sad to see the magazine fold but never subscribed to it themselves. But despite my regret, I continue to believe that customers should only buy material they enjoy in the format of their preference. For me, that continues to be the collected book format. I happily preordered Nexus: As it Happened Vol. 1 and I plan to buy future TPB collections of Nexus, so I'm glad to hear that Rude continues to publish in that format even if it means long waits in between volumes.

If you have the means, consider ordering something directly from Rude's own online store. Many of the items have been marked down, and there's free domestic shipping on orders order $40 and international orders over $125. There are even digital (PDF) comics for only 99 cents each! I'm thinking I'm going to have to start saving up for a commissioned sketch. I'd love to see Rude actually illustrate my Nexus / Mr. Miracle fanfic team-up idea, or maybe one of the other fantasy crossovers I've had bouncing around in my skull for decades...

UPDATE 6/3: The news has also been posted on Rude's MySpace blog and in the comments Rude's wife Jaynelle, posting as Rude, reiterates: "while Steve is switching his focus [it] doesn't mean that he's leaving comics all together. It just means that instead of having comics be his main profession and gallery painting as a hobby he's going to have to switch to having his gallery painting support his comic endeavors."

UPDATE #2 6/3: Posting again in the comments of Rude's blog, Jaynelle Rude provides the order numbers for Nexus: As it Happened Vol. 1: "We only had orders for 1,200 and needed 1,600 to finance the printing. We lowered the print run to 3,000 copies and if we can sell out then we'll continue with #2." If you didn't preorder the book from your shop and are still interested in it, it's available directly from Rude's online store for $9.99 or through TFAW for only $7.99. It's due out on 6/16.

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