Steve Rude…Anything But – Editorial

GameStop, Inc.

by R.C. Samo


In the 15 years of being a journalist, I have never come across someone like Steve Rude, the Dude. An artist of his stature, talent and intellect, would have a right to live up to his surname. However, he is anything but the dictionary definition of “rude.”

“Steve is on a whole other plain. You get lost in the conversation because he’s just at that level of genius,” said Aub Driver, Publicity Coordinator for Dark Horse Comics.

I met Rude at the Phoenix ComiCon while sitting with painter Kip Mussatt who was using water colors to paint a cosplayer. This hulking man, bent down at the waist, keeping perfect posture, hands clasped behind his back, head up and said, “I am always pleased to see artists who still use paint and brush in their art. It is a real talent.”

Several artists had been asked to draw a sketch on a wooden sword that was up for auction and as the bearer of the sword showed us the near completed piece, this 6’6” stands fully erect, asked Mussatt, if he could borrow a sharpie, went over to the piece, did a quick touch up to the Nexus piece, placed the marker back on the table, extended his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Steve Rude.”

He was elegant, poised and confident, yet humble. Picture someone with old Hollywood charm a la Clark Gable.

“I’m a creative guy and need to do something with that creativity. My psyche is geared towards being creative,” said Rude while his wife Jaynelle, rested her arm on his shoulder as he sat in a director’s style chair.

Rude attended the Milwaukee School of Art and the Madison Area Technical College honing his craft as an expert in water colors, charcoal and pastels. His desire to create has only gotten stronger with age.

“Nothing goes away when are an artist,” said Rude as Nexus makes a return to newsstands with original co-creator, Mike Baron, whose written word is equal to Rude’s artistic prowess.

Created in 1981, Nexus was first published by Capital Comics and later by First Comics, once Capital was dissolved. Between 1991 and 2007, Dark Horse Comics published seven mini-series and one shots of the long lived characters. The series has won a total of six Eisner Awards only adding the the accolades that Rude and Baron have earned for their unprecedented work.

In 2012, Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, handed over all rights, without financial compensation to Rude and Baron, allowing the creator owned series to be published under the Rude Dude Publications banner.

“Acts like that show you the caliber of people you are dealing with,” said Jaynelle Rude, who was still shocked by Dark Horse’s generosity.

Rude met his wife while hitch hiking to Oregon visiting a college friend. Jaynelle, was bartending that night and intrigued by Rude who wasn’t drinking. He even stayed afterward to help her clean the bar.

“His mom was just glad to get him out of the house,” joked Jaynelle Rude, who is also his business manager and mother to their two children Brandon, nicknamed, “Mr. Silly,” and daughter who he calls, “Super.”

The question begged, “So what do you call your wife?” He looked over his shoulder, smirked and aptly said, “Her, I call, ‘Princess,’” which missus Rude had no problem confirming.

I asked Rude how he was able to stay humble through all of his success and the level of talent that he produces his work.

Rude calmly replied, “It’s not hard to stay humble, you have to have perspective. If you strip people of their uniforms and titles, what remains? That’s how I judge people and hope they judge me by the same standard.”

Nexus Soaring by Steve Rude, the Dude

What is absolutely amazing about Rude, is that he will step away from his table during a busy convention to help a young artist improve his or her skills, as he did with Santino A. Castaneda, who is a part of Evil Robo Productions.

“He said I needed to ‘carve out the painting like a sculpture’ and how to ‘remove colors’ so that I wouldn’t add to ‘the pain of not knowing’ in your work.” said Castaneda, the South Tuscon, Arizona based artist.

Rude’s spokes model, Dawn O’Brien is also his student, who originally contacted him as just a fan of his work. Rude took O’Brien, who is majoring in art, under his wing and guiding her along as she improves.

“I showed him my sketch book and he started to show me new techniques. You really can’t beat having the guy as a teacher,” said O’Brien.

Artist, teacher, mentor, genius. There isn’t enough expressions I can come up with to tell you who Steve Rude is…the only true expression is to quote the Big Lebowski, “He’s the Dude.”

For those of us who have been lucky enough to encounter Steve Rude, it is not just a meeting, it is an unforgettable experience.

Visit Steve Rude’s official website at

Like Steve Rude the Dude on Facebook at Steve Rude the Dude



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