Rudy Nebres lives about 4 miles as the crow flies from my home. From this desk where I type these words to his desk where he draws magic, 20000 or so feet away. I started seeing him at conventions regularly throughout the Northeast US in the 1990s and bought a blue pencil Dr. Strange from him at a horror convention that had Tonya Roberts as a guest, and she looked spectacular from behind! Even in her fifties. but Rudy didn't look so attractive as he made a funny face at me when I wanted him to draw a Doc for me then and there instead of taking one he had brought to the show in his portfolios.
(Rudy, accompanied by his wife as always, still takes these portfolios to shows. They are full of wonderful ink and colored marker pieces; you get that pure Nebres style on the characters he is best known for working with. Vampirella. Batman. Conan. Dr. Strange. John Carter and Dejah Thoris. You get the idea.)
So I had been seeing Rudy for a few years and then he kinda became invisible to me. I really stopped looking at him year after year. Artists like Rudy, Rich Buckler, Irwin Hasen, Joe Sinnott, Ramona Fradon, and Jerry Robinson (to name a few) became commonplace in my convention going experience and I began to pass them by despite their greatness. But after a few years I gained a shred of something related to wisdom, wisdom's inbred double first cousin shall we say, (or at least I said it. I imagine you may not have ever say that. At least there in that spot there.) and the wisdom told me to slow down at shows and look at everyone with fresh eyes. I had acquired 2 Nebres Doc pieces over the years and would eventually come to own a few more after rediscovering him. That renewel came at a Comic Geek Speak Supershow in Pennsylvania. I had been browsing his art and talking to Rudy and the missus.They shortly got to the "where are you from?" part of our talk when we learned we were essentially from neighboring towns. Piscataway NJ is between our towns to be more specific. I filed that information away and left the show for the 2 hour jaunt back to NJ. It is a nice ride, and I am sorry the Supershow will not be happening in 2014. hopefully back in full force in 2015 Geek Speakers!
Shortly thereafter there was a Wild Pig Comics convention. These small mini conventions have been in central NJ for a few years and are a good opportuntity for my daughters to get a quality sketch and be home within an hour or two. Rudy was at a show and we caught up again. This was actually 3 miles from my house, and at that show were Rudy Nebres, Walt Simonson, Joe Staton, JK Woodward, and Reilly Brown! So I decided I would spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars for a commission to be delivered later. Actually, Mrs. Nebres invited me to the home to pick it up and see Rudy's studio. Bonus! So 2-3 weeks later I was in my car for the 10 minute drive and Rudy, with his family around him, presented me with this:
I stared at them and at the art in stunned and awed amazement. Then I sheepishly underpaid the man given the art he produced, was sworn to silence, said my goodbyes and thank yous, got in my car and drove home, guilty of DUI - Driving Under the Influence, the influence of Rudy Nebres!
Not two weeks after this piece came home I had decided to make it into a t-shirt that I could wear. I have gone on to make six or seven such shirts, all due to the awe inspring art you see above.
So now that the concept of The Fifty has been born, this great gathering will now be subjected to the influence of Dracula, Lord of the Vampires!
May The Vishanti Protect Us!
1 BWS Storyteller Young Gods page 4
2 Simon Bisley Dr. Strange vs The Mindless Ones 2007 commission
3 Dan Green Dr. Strange: Into Shamballa splash
4 Rudy Nebres - commission Doctor Strange comes upon Dracula & The Scarlet Witch
5 JH Williams 3rd / Mick Gray Promethea 24 double page spread