The nexus between price and value.

§ February 27th, 2023 § Filed under publishing, retailing, this calls for hyperspeed, this week's comics § 15 Comments

Nexus by Mike Baron and (usually) Steve Rude has been one of my favorite comics for a long time, dating back to almost, but not quite, the beginning of the series. I started reading Nexus (and Baron’s other book, Badger) when First Comics started publishing them. Fortunately, this was relatively early in both titles’ runs, so picking up the relative handful of previous issues published by Captial Comics wasn’t so onerous a task. However, I did pick up First’s trade paperback reprinting the original three Nexus black and white magazines, instead of buying all the originals. (I did eventually get the third magazine, because of the included flexidisc.)

So anyway, I’ve been a fan for a long time, and look forward to any new material featuring Nexus. After a bit of a dry period, we got some serialized stories in the 2011-4 run of Dark Horse Presents (reprinted as the Into the Past TPB), the Nexus Newspaper Strips TPB (which I think reprints material produced through Kickstarter or something similar, someone correct me), and there was also that 3 or 4 issue run (depending on how you count it) published in 2007 or so by Rude himself.

And then, this past week, we got a new Nexus graphic novel, Nefarious. It’s written by Baron, and illustrated by Richard Bonk, who does a good job, I think, and you can see sample pages over at Dark Horse’s site.

The story is relatively simple…Nexus gets accidenntally stranded on what amounts to being a prison planet without his powers. And, as it turns out, the prisoners may not deserve to be there. It moves quickly, with Nexus gathering allies (and encountering one strange old “friend” that I hadn’t expected to see again) and, probably not a spoiler, going after the person responsible for these unjust imprisonments (and worse).

It feels like classic Nexus, like the pre-First era, in that events are almost…dreamlike in their progression, no time is wasted on long exposition or explanations. Sometimes it is to the detriment of the narrative (like, I’m not sure entirely what happened when Nexus had to prove his identity to a pair of aliens early on…maybe I’m forgetting something from the original series involving that particular race), but overall it’s a fun read.

My main issue with this release is the format and cost. While it’s marketed as a “64 page hardcover” the story itself is 54 pages, with 8 pages presenting black and white copy-free artwork from that story, and a final page with an ad for the newspaper strip book. I know this is a format Dark Horse has used in the past, like with some standalone Hellboy stories (such as 2016’s 56-page Into the Silent Sea for $14.99), but $17.99 for this book seems…just a little too much. Maybe there are publishing and/or economic reasons for not just releasing this as a staplebound one-shot for, I don’t know, $6.99, where it would likely have stronger sales off the new comics rack.

I’m sure “longer shelf life” is a big part of it, and getting it into bookstores, too. But it was bit of a sticker shock when I saw that price. I’m not trying to pick on the Nexus book here, as this format at $14.99 I feel like was pushing it. $17.99 just seems like going a little too far, even with consideration for inflation and such. As a store owner, I have to consider perceived value, what prices would my customers consider reasonable for certain items. This has been a problem as comic periodical prices slowly creep up and up, but graphic novels have, at least, seemed to maintain that price/perceived value balance, more or less. It simply seems to me that this Nexus book is too far on the “less” side, which does a good comic a disservice.

15 Responses to “The nexus between price and value.”

  • RobCat says:

    You know what got me? I bought a Fantastic Four by Slot TPB only to find it contained 3 stories of the current run. The rest were reprints! I’ve already abandoned monthly comics but if that’s the new norm, I may have to abandon TPB collections, too.

  • Raymond says:

    Sounds like an old episode of Lost in Space. No new ideas.

  • Joseph P Gualtieri says:

    I noped out of buying that Russell/Allred Superman series because of the price point on single issues. I don’t care that $6 in 1999 actually should be $11 today, it’s too much for an inferior format. I’ll just buy the HC or TPB and not double dip.

  • Thom H. says:

    These early ’80s indie superheroes happened just before I came to comics. I’ve always been curious about them, but a little daunted by all the starts and stops, changes of publishers, etc. Which would be the best/easiest one to hunt down all these years later: Zot!, Nexus, or Badger?

  • Thom H. says:

    Also, I agree that publishers are really pushing it with prices these days. I was willing to pay for some extra pages/back matter in the new Miracleman issues because it was interesting to see Buckingham’s process. But the latest issue was ~16 pages of Buckingham and then a reprint of a “classic” Marvelman story. That’s not $5 well spent in my opinion. I hope that story has something to do with the current Silver Age storyline.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Richard Bonk”

    What an amazing name!

    seems odd that it’s not Rude drawing it.



    Thom H.: “Which would be the best/easiest one to hunt down all these years later: Zot!, Nexus, or Badger?”

    Actually I’d put GRIMJACK over all three, as it’s my favovite non-marvel/dc character! possibly my favorite character PERIOD.

    Nexus is pretty damn good though! Badger was rather hit-and-miss. Zot I’m not familiar with. I’ve read like 1 or 2 of those.

  • tomthedog says:

    My GRIMJACK senses are tingling. Oh, hey Mike.

  • MixMat says:

    Thom H:
    Zot only needs 2 collections: The color 10 issue Volume One (or whatever Kutchen Sink called it) is out of print. Im in SEA so cant tell you best source in your geographic location.

    The B&W over 20 issue collection by Harpercollins in 2008 is well worth reading even if you never read Volume One. It has the best arc from 28-36, the Earth Stories-i think i started from 28-29 and hunted as many of 11-26 as i could find in comics shops here in SEA as i could(also some in London in 1994, if memory serves me right).

    I highly recommend Zot.

    But Nexus, Dreadstar, Badger, Grimjack are also good (though i’ve never read Badger or Grimjack during its original run, only TPB reprints in the 2000s; plus the ComicMix run).

    Dont forget Jon Sable Freelance and American Flagg! though i’d stop when Grell and Chaykin stop drawing, their stories arent the draw-its when their creative juices are flowing and inspiring them to draw that both series are at their best. Sadly, Flagg only had 12 Chaykin drawn issues. Jon Sable Freelance had 30 or so beautifully drawn issues by Grell, with compelling superior stories too. Imnsho.

    There was also Crossroads that kinda, sorta was First’s major miniseries Crisis type crossover, though i thought the art was dreadful.

  • Chris says:

    Here’s the thing I’ve found with Nexus, I’m a longtime fan, but if Steve Rude isn’t drawing it, it’s pretty much unreadable for me – same with American Flagg with Chaykin. Zot! Is probably one of my all time favourite series, love the colour and bw series.

    While we’re throwing out great 80s Indy series, let’s add Mars from First to the mix….

  • Sean Mageean says:

    There are so many great ’80s series which would be cool to see return–even if only as one-shots or limited series: Mark Evanier and Will Meugniot’s DNAgents, and Crossfire; Doug Moench’s Aztec Ace; Steve Englehart’s Coyote, and Scorpio Rose (I would love to see Steve Leialoha draw Coyote again…and why not get Trina Robbins to draw Scorpio Rose as a back up feature?);
    Mike Grell’s Starslayer (either written by Grell or John Ostrander–and what ever happened to artist Lenin Delsol?); Warp; Bruce Jones and Scott Hampton’s Silverheels; Bruce Jones’ Twisted Tales, and Alien Worlds; Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy’s Sabre…

  • Smicha1 says:

    Mike, how do you handle it as a retailer when you feel that a product just isn’t worth the money? Are you pretty candid with your customers? You seem like a pretty ethical guy so I imagine you must be occasionally kinda torn between maintaining the trust of your customers and making that scratch. Have you ever felt compelled to actively dissuade someone from buying something because you know they will be disappointed?

  • Snark Shark says:



    ” Jon Sable Freelance and American Flagg!”

    Yes, these too!

    and Grell’s Warlord, over at DC

  • […] H. asked, way back when last […]

  • […] Chris crossed over with […]