It's with a heavy heart that we bring you more sad news from the world of Steve Rude. The co-creator of 1980s indie comics sensation Nexus and the illustrator of such memorably beautiful works as Superman/Batman: World's Finest has once again found himself in dire financial straits following an arrest earlier this week. According to a message sent to Rude's mailing list, the artist became involved in a physical altercation with his neighbors that resulted in Rude being taken into custody by Arizona's Maricopa County Sherif's Office. To help pay for Rude's bail and legal fees, prices have been lowered on the artist's original art sales. As of Tuesday night, Rude's family was able to raise enough to pay Steve's bail and a post on his Facebook indicates he's due to be released this morning.
What Steve Rude's work lacks in proliferation is made up for in quality. Among the best comic book artists living today, Rude's output is limited mainly to the Nexus library (reprinted in hardcover volumes by Dark Horse) and prestigious one-offs like Nexus Meets Madman, The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman, and the aforementioned Superman/Batman: World's Finest, among various other works and cover art gigs. However, Rude remains a presence in the art collector's scene with seemingly ceaseless auctions of original Nexus artwork and a stream of commissioned pin-ups and paintings that are basically always some of the best comics-related artwork you'll ever lay eyes on. Needless to say, his work pops up regularly in CA's Best Art Ever (This Week) feature.
"Steve has had a back and forth with the neighbors for quite some time now that started over their barking dogs. Last night Steve got hauled in," read a message posted to Rude's website on Tuesday. "We are currently lowering prices on Steve's art to make bail and pay for legal fees. We also are offering the above print for sale as well as several other pieces."
Tuesday evening, Rude's wife Jaynelle updated friends and fans with the news that bail had been raised and that Steve was to be released Wednesday morning. The complete Facebook post follows:
Thank you to everyone. We were able to make bail, but Steve won't be released until morning. Now we have to pay for the legal counsel so he doesn't end up back doing hard time for trying to keep his sanity. All he wants is to be left alone to create his art, not harassed by people who call the police on our kids because a frisbee ended up in their yard.
Unfortunately, Rude has fallen on hard times before. Because he's limited his published comic book work rather severely for an artist of his caliber, Rude doesn't share the superstar status and workload still enjoyed by some of his contemporaries like Paul Gulacy, Matt Wagner and even the late Dave Stevens', whose indie hit The Rocketeer remains a popular franchise for IDW Publishing. Consequently, a special auction was organized by Rude and his family to help raise the money needed to save their home from a bank auction just over one year ago. Later, Rude lowered the prices on his already bargain-rate commissions to help pay for art supplies. Rude's difficult situation is compounded by what he and his wife Jaynelle have described on their Facebook profiles as a crippling depression and relentless pursuit of perfection, and it's these aspects of "The Dude's" (as he is known) life and career that informed the forthcoming documentary film, Rude Dude.
Below are some of the Steve Rude pieces available for auction on eBay now, and commissions and print prices are available at SteveRudeArt.com (just click here for a gallery of Rude's gorgeous "marker sketches," which are basically finished cover art priced at $200). It would behoove art collectors to inspect the bargains that have been available as a result of this unfortunate situation. The work is undeniably beautiful.
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