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Nexus Graphica
by Rick Klaw

Other Nexus Graphica Columns
For more information, you can try the following:
Brian Biggs
Phil Hester
Pia Guerra
Ted Naifeh
Michael Lark
John Picacio
Alec:The Years Have No Pants
The Intergalactic Nemesis
Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost
Recent Books of Interest
Alec: The Years Have No Pants by Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)
Alec: The Years Have No Pants Probably best known for his collaboration with Alan Moore on the extraordinary From Hell, Eddie Campbell, serving as both writer and artist, first gained acclaim for Alec, the thinly-veiled autobiographical adventures of a Scottish artist. Alec :The Years Have No Pants collects all of the very frank, often humorous previously published tales plus a new story. While all the stories showcase Campbell's distinctive art, the highlight of this impressive book derives from the evolution of the artist. Midway through the 638 page volume, the realization dawns that Eddie Campbell may be one of the field's most accomplished storytellers. Alec :The Years Have No Pants belongs in all finer graphic novel collections.

The Intergalactic Nemesis #1 Script by Jason Neulander, Art by Tim Doyle (Robot Planet)
The Intergalactic Nemesis Based on the stage play of the same name, The Intergalactic Nemesis follows the explorations of ace reporter Molly Sloan and her sidekick Timmy Mendez. The duo journeys to Scotland to investigate the secret of Mysterion the Magnificent. Set in 1933, Neulander's script relies on the superior storytelling and period-reminiscent art of Tim Doyle to create a pulp-style tale with modern sensibilities. Complete with mystery, mesmerism, and Lovercraft trappings, the first issue of The Intergalactic Nemesis promises a fun, action-packed adventure.

Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost #1 Written by Ian Edginton, Art by Patrick Reilly (Radical Comics)
Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost< Veteran scribe Edginton expertly relates the oft-told tale of Aladdin. This first issue explores the hero's misbegotten youth as a thief on through his acquisition of the famous lamp. Unlike many of his contemporaries, painter Reilly uses his impressive skills to enhance rather than obfuscate Edginton's script. Beyond the Dune-inspired sandworm sequence, Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost offers a welcome, fresh perspective of the famed adventurer.

Where Did They Go From Here?

Weird Business This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of Weird Business. Co-edited by me and Joe R. Lansdale, the massive 420 page hardcover anthology contained 23 stories by 56 different creators including some of the biggest names in the sf/f/h field including Robert Bloch, Poppy Z. Brite, Nancy Collins, Charles de Lint, Michael Moorcock, Norman Partridge, Howard Waldrop, F. Paul Wilson, and Roger Zelazny. Since I have previously chronicled the origins of the groundbreaking book, I decided to use this opportunity to check out what happened to some of the then-lesser known contributors.

Dear Julia, by Brian Biggs Brian Biggs, writer/artist for the "Stranger"

His bio in Weird Business:
  Often compared to Charles Addams and Edward Gorey, Brian Biggs first unleashed his bizarre storytelling skills on an unsuspecting world with the love story Frederick & Eloise (Fantagraphics). Since then Brian's work has appeared in a variety of magazines. He is currently in negotiations for his new graphic novel, Dear Julia.  

Black Eye Comics serialized Dear Julia, (the comma is part of the title) in four parts beginning later in 1995. Top Shelf collected the tale in 2000 for which Biggs received an Eisner Award nomination for Best Graphic Novel (Reprint). Both a student at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001 and a Belgian filmmaker in 2003 adapted Dear Julia, to film.

Following Dear Julia, Biggs left the world of comics and emerged as an acclaimed children's book illustrator, producing work for Knopf, HarperCollins, Grosset & Dunlap, Workman, Simon & Schuster, and Little Golden Books.

The Wretch by Phillip Hester Phillip Hester, penciller for "That Hell-Bound Train"

His bio in Weird Business:
  Phillip Hester has worked on books for several companies including Tundra, Dark Horse, Marvel, Caliber, DC, and others. His hauntingly original art can be seen currently in Swamp Thing (DC/Vertigo), Argus (DC), Boneshaker (Caliber), and Negative Burn (Caliber).  

Granted, Hester wasn't exactly a neophyte when he worked in Weird Business, but even within the comic book industry of the mid-90s, he remained fairly obscure. In 2001 after he and film director Kevin Smith produced the popular comic book relaunch of Green Arrow, a "journalist" from a trendy, well-known comics magazine interviewed Hester and actually asked him what he had done BEFORE Green Arrow, even though Hester received an Eisner Award for Best New Series in 1997 for The Wretch.

After finishing his 45-issue run on Green Arrow, Hester maintained a high profile on books such as The Anchor, The Irredeemable Ant-Man, and El Diablo. Always the consummate professional, Hester remains one of the most prolific artists and writers working in comics.

Y: The Last Man by Pia Guerra & José Marzan, Jr. Pia Guerra, penciller for "If I Close My Eyes Forever"

Her bio in Weird Business:
  Pia Guerra's pencils have appeared in Freeflight (Thinkblots) and Big Book of Urban Legends (DC/Paradox). She is writing and drawing an upcoming issue of Aeon Focus (Aeon).  

Guerra emerged as a comic book rock star in 2002 after co-creating the sensational Y: The Last Man alongside writer Brian K. Vaughan. The 60 issue series (collected in ten trade paperbacks) related the extraordinary story of twenty-something slacker escape artist Yorick Brown and his pet male monkey Ampersand, the sole surviving males after a mysterious world-wide plague killed everything with a Y chromosome.

In 2008 after the finale of Y, Guerra illustrated the comic series Doctor Who: The Forgotten. According to her website, Guerra is "currently taking time off to work on solo projects and spending time with family."

Gloomcookie by Ted Naifeh Ted Naifeh, artist for "Masque of the Red Death" and "And I Only Am Escaped to Tell Thee" (as Barb & Theodore Spoon), art assist on "Jesting With Chaos"

His bio in Weird Business (from "Masque of the Red Death"):
  Though not as famous as Edgar Allan Poe, Ted Naifeh has established himself as a talented newcomer in comics with his work on The Machine (Dark Horse), Medal of Honor (Dark Horse), Verotika (Verotik), Creature Features (Mojo), and Underground (Dark Horse). Ted is the artist for the upcoming Exile of Abra-khan (Marvel) and the second Lone Ranger & Tonto mini-series (Topps).  

Throughout the 90s, Naifeh experienced some of the worst luck of any comic book artist. Though completed, the second Lansdale-scripted Lone Ranger & Tonto series never appeared. A similar fate befell Exile of Abra-khan. Even his first major work (Gene Wolfe's The Shadow Of The Torturer in 1991) never garnered a second issue, though because of that work, Naifeh received a nomination for the Russ Manning Award for Promising New Talent.

Things changed in 1998 when Naifeh co-created Gloomcookie with writer Serena Valentino. Satirizing contemporary Gothic subculture, the supernatural fantasy propelled Naifeh to stardom. Since then he's worked on several other successful titles including books with noted authors Holly Black and Caitlín R. Kiernan. Naifeh currently draws and writes the Eisner-nominated Courtney Crumrin.

Terminal City by Michael Lark Michael Lark, artist for "In Repose"

His bio in Weird Business:
  Michael Lark got his start at Caliber doing the critically acclaimed series Airwaves, and has become one of the most demanded artists in the country. His recent work includes Shade, The Changing Man (DC/Vertigo) and Little Sister (Byron Preiss). Upcoming projects include art in Occurrences (Mojo) and a new ongoing series for DC/Vertigo.  

Lark was on the cusp of the "big time" in March, 1995. The unnamed DC title, the golden age-sf inspired Terminal City, made Lark a fan favorite upon its 1996 publication. By the end of the decade, his lush work appeared in the pages of Sandman Mystery Theater, The Invisibles, and Scene of the Crime.

In recent years, Lark turned his attentions toward superheroes such as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, and Spider-man. His most recent work, Siege: The Cabal launched a 2010 Marvel Universe cross-over event.

Behold the Man by John Picacio John Picacio, artist for "Chip of Fools"

His bio in Weird Business:
  John Picacio is one of the talented newcomers in the world of self-published comics. His work has appeared in Words & Pictures (Maverick Studios) and Book of Dreams. He is designing and illustrating the 30th anniversary edition of Michael Moorcock's Behold the Man for Mojo.  

Hiring Picacio for the 1996 Behold the Man remains an editorial career highlight. Not only did Picacio produce what remains the finest edition of the classic story, but the work heralded one of the most acclaimed cover artists of the forthcoming century.

Since Weird Business, his last sequential work, Picacio's unique stylings have graced book covers for Tor, Del Rey, Tachyon, Monkeybrain, Pyr, Penguin, HarperCollins, and many others. For his efforts, Picacio has received World Fantasy, Chelsey, Locus, and IHG awards and five nominations for the Hugo for Best Professional Artist.

Copyright © 2010 Rick Klaw

Professional reviewer, geek maven, and optimistic curmudgeon, Rick Klaw has supplied countless reviews, essays, and fiction for a variety of publications including The Austin Chronicle, The San Antonio Current, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures RevolutionSF, King Kong Is Back!, Conversations With Texas Writers, Farscape Forever, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains Universe, and Steampunk. MonkeyBrain Books published the collection of his essays, reviews, and other things Klaw, Geek Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century. He can often be found pontificating on Twitter and over at The Geek Curmudgeon.

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