By 1981, I was growing rather tired of the comics that were coming out of the mainstream, which had begun feeling vaguely mechanical and uninspired to me. I turned increasingly to the burgeoning Direct Sales market, looking for titles that were more off the beaten track. It was a good time to do so, for the Direct Market was just opening up, and new companies seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. One such publisher was Capital Comics, a short-lived offshoot of Capital City Distribution. Its first publication was NEXUS.
NEXUS #1 was a striking package from cover to cover. Printed on sharp, white paper in black and white, wrapped up in a stunning Paul Gulacy painted cover, it introduced the world to Horatio Hellpop, who dreams of interplanetary mass-murderers, then awakens to use his fusioncasting powers to hunt them down across the cosmos as their judge, jury and executioner–Nexus!
NEXUS was the brainchild of Mike Baron and Steve Rude, neither of whom had much of a reputation in the comics field before then. But they earned it, deservedly and quickly. While less polished than the team’s later efforts, NEXUS #1 still holds up, its craft the equal of anything else on the stands at that point. NEXUS was sophisticated and smart, funny and funky–the epitome of the sort of new, cutting edge ideas and presentations the Direct Market promised to permit.