The best Superman comic book currently published is about to get even better with the addition of Steve Rude, arguably one of today's best living American comic book artists. The April 14 edition of DC Comics' digital-first Adventures of Superman anthology will see the master storyteller collaborate with writer (and a brilliant, influential artist in his own right) Jerry Ordway for a Superman story starring OMAC, a cult favorite creation of Rude's hero, Jack Kirby.

But Rude and Ordway are just two of the creators DC has lined up for the weekly Adventures of Superman -- one of ComicsAlliance's picks for the best comic books of 2013.


Adventures of Superman Jon Bogdanove
Art by Jon Bogdanove


Beginning March 10, writer Joe Keatinge begins a three-part story called "Strange Visitor" drawn by some familiar names: Ming Doyle, David Williams, Al Gordon, Tula Lotay, and Jason Shawn Alexander. Up next is "Ghosts of Krypton," a one-shot by Steve Niles and Matthew Dow Smith, followed by "Mystery Box" courtesy of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. Ordway and Rude follow the next week with their Superman/OMAC story, "Seed of Destruction."

The co-creator of ’80s indie sci-fi sensation Nexus, Steve Rude is a hugely talented but relatively elusive force in the comic book business. A master of creating distinct figures, faces and even whole species; fantastic and delicately detailed locales; dynamic superhero action; and quite sexy, intimate moments, Rude is active in the collectors market, where he continues to create one beautiful commission after another for us to enjoy. The artist’s Facebook timeline is an all but endless stream of some of the best superhero and good-girl pin-up art you’ll ever see.

But as detailed in the “Rude Dude” documentary, Rude temporarily retired from making comics altogether, pursuing a new career in the fine arts while supplementing his income with commissions and eBay auctions of his vast archive of Nexus artwork. Fortunately for us, he returned to comics with new Nexus stories for Dark Horse Presents, and he continues to engage his fanbase with successful Kickstarter campaigns for new art books (you can still order the latest one). The artist also drew Dollar Bill, a one-shot that was part of DC's controversial but eminently well drawn Before Watchmen line.


Steve Rude Adventures of Superman
Art by Steve Rude


In a missive to fans, Rude explained how the new Superman project came together.

To begin the process of Dude recruitment, [DC editor] Alex submitted several scripts to entice my interest for the Adventures of Superman project, but it wasn't until we settled on something specifically catered to "The Dude Mentality"-with characters most memorable to the 60's and 70's-- that things finally clicked.

And what would fit the Dude mentality?

How 'bout OMAC? Of the One Man Army Corps? As created by the great Jack Kirby back in '75?

That, I decided, was the character I wanted to feature along with Superman, in the 10-page comic which would mark my artistic debut with DC West [as DC Digital is sometimes known]. Smartly, editor Alex was from the "let the talent do their thing and get outta their way" school. And soon I was off to do just that.

But hey, I'm an artist not a writer. Who was gonna write this thing?

No sooner than did the question launch itself into the comic book ether than did the answer return with a resounding boom. The writer, it was decided, would be actual one-time Adventures of Supermanwriter/artist himself--Jerry Ordway. And what kind of writing job would Jerry end up doing?

Here's your answer; Jerry submitted his script and we all loved it. And after a hour or two of of finely tuned script discussion over the phone one afternoon, he and I were able to up the dramatics even further on the cool-meter.

No sooner was our script fully refined and on track, when out came my collection of the great Kirby OMAC comics. With my memory still fully intact with the groundbreaking concepts common to all Kirby comics, I needed little brushing up on OMAC history as I proceeded to get up to speed and draw the 10 pages with Superman and OMAC in record time.

To the best of my knowledge, Rude's work on Adventures of Superman marks his return to the character for the first time since 1999, when he collaborated with Roger Stern on The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman (which is out of print, but the wonderful Superman/Batman: World's Finest, which Rude drew in collaboration with Dave Gibbons and Karl Kesel, is not). The digital-first series has been characterized by artistic expressions of Superman in the character's classic idiom, and there's nobody whose vision of and dedication to the traditional Superman matches that of Steve Rude. Indeed, the famously perfectionist artist wrote that the Adventures of Superman project didn't have the budget that Rude requires to paint his covers, but that he felt compelled to paint i anyway. "Such sacrifices does one make in the name of proper presentation," said Rude.

Long, longtime Superman readers will recall that Ordway previously wrote and drew the previous iteration of Adventures of Superman in the 1980s and '90s, where he collaborated with colorist Glenn Whitmore on some of the best looking Superman stories of the modern era. Whitmore is also a longtime associate of Rude, coloring both Nexus and The Moth. Throw in cover artwork by former Superman: The Man of Steel artist Jon Bogdanove, this Spring is something of an all-star game of Superman comicbookery.


Steve Rude Adventures of Superman cover