Future Comic Rock Stars – Nate Bellegarde

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Nate Bellegarde4This is a weekly column where I will showcase up and coming or undiscovered talent, bringing to your attention artists that I feel will be break-out stars in the near future. Some are already well on their way to super stardom.

Everyone has a favorite comic book artist. One they’ve discovered recently, or maybe followed from the very beginning of their career. Some have so many favorites it’s hard to choose just one. Every one of those artists started somewhere, be it by producing photocopied mini comics to sell at their neighborhood comic shop, getting a table in the artist’s alley at their local comic convention, posting images to deviantart.com, or doing commissions through the internet or at conventions.

It takes talent and hard work to get into this industry. And for some, famously like Rob Liefeld, it takes passion and drive from an early age. This is also true of Nowhere Men’s own Nate Bellegarde. He had his first published work as a back-up strip entitled Fetorpse in Battle Pope at the tender age of sixteen! And he hasn’t stopped creating comics since that tale.

Although he had been published in many titles before, I discovered his work through the Hector Plasm: De Mortuis one-shot published by Image in 2006.

It was like no comic I had read before, yet shared many similarities with books I was reading at the time. This strange tale of a Benandanti traveling the world trying to get humans, ghosts, and demons to live together in harmony brought together so many story elements that I love. Ghost stories, folklore, supernatural elements, and in the center of it all: a dude kicking ass with swords. It was like a more punk rock Hellboy. His art was what originally dragged me into Hector’s world, but the story, and this wonderful character are what keep me coming back.

Nate has worked on many books since then, mostly sticking with Robert Kirkman’s titles in the first half of his career. Besides the aforementioned Battle Pope, Nate has played around in the Invincible, Hack/Slash, Loaded Bible, and Brit sand boxes as well. His exaggerated style, at once cartoonish yet highly detailed, was well suited for the fan-favorite Invincible Presents spin-off titles Atom Eve and Atom Eve & Rex Splode, as he shares many stylistic similarities with their co-creator, Cory Walker. The two are in fact very good friends.

His most recent work is on the critically acclaimed title Nowhere Men with writer Eric Stephenson, and he is handing in the best work of his career week after week. His attention to detail is even more incredible with each issue, and his dynamically stylized art has improved with leaps and bounds since those early comics. He has a sketch blog that he updates quite often, and his constant sketching is keeping his work fresh, and unlike any other artist.

Nowhere Men, for those who have yet to check it out, follows a quartet of scientists that prove science is the new rock ’n’ roll, as they become celebrities all while changing the world for the better. It is an intelligent, exciting, and experimental book with stunning work from Mr. Bellegarde. The first collected addition will be out in time for the holidays, and an attractive $9.99 price tag, so it’s a great time to check out one of the most unique books on the shelf, with fantastic artwork by Future Comic Rock Star, Nate Bellegarde.

You can see more of his work here and here, and follow him on twitter here.

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