August 25, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Jim Rugg

Welcome to another entry in the 2013 SPX Spotlight series!  For the next month, I'll be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at the best convention, the Small Press Expo.  You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.

My first experience with Jim Rugg was in the pages of Street Angel, which I think remains my favorite of his books (review here, but it was an early one, so quality isn't the best). Sure, he's gone on to other cool things, like Afrodesiac, which I think many would consider to be his signature work, but there's something about the way Rugg makes Street Angel completely believable that causes me to return to that book in a way I don't for most comics. (I'm notorious for rarely re-reading my comics--too much new stuff I want to get to!)

Rugg's strength is in his ability to do just about anything he wishes and make it match the style of the genre he's going for. Afrodesiac is unbelievable in its ability to not only replicate the blackspoitation-style comics of the 1970s but by the end, Rugg actually transitions the look and tone of such books as they were slowly phased out of publication. THAT is talent.

He's also the artist for one of the best of the late Minx titles, The Plain Janes (review here) which is probably about as far away as you can get from 1970s comics, though to some degree, it was an attempt to grab readers normally excluded by comics--and failed.

Rugg's more recent work finds him doing shorter pieces, such as Rambo 3.5 or a quick zine that I believe is completely sold out now. He worked with Foxing Magazine as the first issue art director, put out a sketchbook through frequent collaborator AdHouse Books, and now has a new comic called Supermag, featured above. The latter should be the big thing for Rugg at SPX this year, which is described as a collection of comics and art.

The man keeps himself very busy, even doing the art work on an Iron Man 3 review with Laura Hudson.

Jim Rugg is an incredibly talented artist who doesn't limit himself, making his variety something that many comics fans can appreciate, because he's not locked into a particular fan base, whether it's the nostaglia crowd, the artistic set, or others. What's even more impressive is that Rugg does this all so well, making him well worth seeking out at SPX this year if you haven't done so already.

Can't make it to SPX? That's just plain wrong. But you can find Jim's work and more information at his website. Jim does not appear to have an online store, so I'll link to AdHouse for you.