Sunday, December 09, 2012

Savage Spotlight: Rudy Nebres

   I was talking to my pal Mikeyboy over at the Crom! blog and we were lamenting how we miss Marvel Comics' black & white magazine The Savage Sword of Conan. If you were reading this blog about this time last year you may recall a series of essays I did, waxing nostalgic about my days as a kid reading SSoC. I miss those bright and garish covers that promised and often delivered so much exotic action and adventure. Nothing really like that on the comics stands these days.
   Anyway, it made me want to write a bit more about Savage Sword, so I'm inaugurating a new occasional feature here at Singular Points, The Savage Showcase. I'll talk about anything that comes to mind dealing with SSoC. This week I was looking through the latest volume of SSoC reprints from Dark Horse Comics, #12, and I was reminded of one of my favorite artists from the 70s-80s, who only occasionally graced the pages of Savage Sword, Rudy Nebres.
   Nebres migrated from the Philippines to the US in 1975, when the big two comic book companies, Marvel and DC, were bringing in a bunch of Filipino artists, including Alex Nino, Ernie Chan, and Alfredo Alcala, all of who did work on Conan the Barbarian. I'll talk about each of these guys at some point, but the spotlight is on Rudy today.
   My first exposure to Rudy Nebres was actually on another Marvel black and white mag, The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu. Nebres was drawing the Iron Fist feature in Deadly Hands and I loved it. Chris Claremont, who was writing the title at the time, steered clear of the usual superheroics of the color Iron Fist comic and wrote a more fantasy oriented storyline which was well suited by Nebres' lush illustrative style. Really Nebres would have been a natural for sword & sorcery from the get go, but at that time the great John Buscema was turning out some of his best work on Conan so the Cimmerian wasn't available. (Nebres did ink a couple of Big John's stories and they look spectacular.)
   A little further down the line though, Buscema had moved on and Nebres got to come in and show what he could do with everyone's favorite barbarian. I'm giving you two examples, a pin-up and a page of continuity. The comic pages is from SSoC #121, which is reprinted in the aforementioned Dark Horse volume #12. The pin-up appeared in issue #123.
   Over the years Nebres would work for most of the comics companies, including DC, Marvel, Red Circle, Warren and Continuity. He's still drawing today and is available for commissions.

4 comments:

Cromsblood said...

For a long time I've been meaning to write something meaningful about the many Pinoy Conan artists, who were undoubtedly a key part of Conan's comic book success back in the day.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Indeed, Cromsblood. Ernie Chan alone probably did more work on Conan then any other inker, and I think guys like Alfredo Alcala really made those early issues of SSoC stand out. I'll try and spotlight more of them soon.

Conde said...

I believe, Rudy Nebres set the standard for brush inking and dynamism that other comicbook artists
soon followed; his works on 'The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu which suited his style incredibly, SSoC, etc.
The fluency and rhythm of his brush strokes are admirable, which, i would say can be appreciated more in a black and white publication medium.
This comment is coming from an artist traditionally schooled and was in Art school for many years..

Charles R. Rutledge said...

He really is an amazing talent, Conde. I've seen a few of his originals and the brushwork is very impressive.