Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Born Rodolfo D. Nebres (pronounced NAY-bres) in the Philippines on 14 January 1937, Rudy was able to attend art school in Manila thanks to the sacrifices of his parents, who sold their possessions to pay for his tuition. He made his first professional sales as a teenager and was already working regularly before he graduated.
After graduating, he found work with ACE Publications and Graphic Arts Service (GASI), where he worked on various stories including 'Baby Face' (1958-59) for Extra Komiks, 'Kamay ni Dimas' (1962) for Ditektib Komiks, 'Themesong' (1963-64) for Redondo Komix, 'Anino ng Agila' (1964) for CRAF Klasix, 'Blanca Negra' (1965) for Hiwaga Komiks, 'Babaing Bakulaw' (1965) for Espesyal Komiks with writer Galo Burgos, 'Ang Paborito ni Linda' for Hiwaga Komiks with writer Mer. A Abella, 'Nakabakas sa Langit' (1965-66), for Pioneer Komiks with writer Angel Ad Santos, 'Suicide Sammy' (1967) for Aliwan Komiks with writer Greg Igna de Dios, 'Javlin and the Pirates' 1968) for Pilipino Komiks,'Magkuwento Ka Puso' (1968) for Aliwan Komiks, 'Micaela' (1968) for Aliwan Komiks, 'Talagang Gusto Kong Magpakatino!' for Kislap Komiks (1971-72) and many others.
Rudy Nebres began working for DC Comics in 1972 when DC Comics publisher Carmine Infantino and Editor Joe Orlando visited the Philippines on a scouting trip. He was given assignments on such DC mystery titles such as The Unexpected, House of Secrets and Ghosts, but was not working as regularly as he wanted. He continued to draw for Filipino comics such as 'Ginintuang Rehas' for Sixteen Magazine (1973-74), 'Huwag Mo Akong Tangisan!' for Kislap Komiks (1973-74) and 'Paper Doll' for Kislap Komiks (1974-75).
Nebres moved to the United States in 1975 and promptly found much more success when he started working for Marvel Comics on such prestigious titles like Dr. Strange, The Avengers, Iron Fist, Master of Kung Fu and The Hulk. His speciality, however, was sword and sorcery and his talents for drawing the muscular heroes like Conan, Kull, Red Sonja and John Carter are renowned. His ability is to draw exaggerated musculature without losing the realism of the figure. He has put this down to a strong grasp of anatomy. "The key is the collarbone. If that's off, the whole drawing will be wrong," he has said.
He found much further acclaim when he started working for Warren Publishing on Creepy (1978-82), Eerie (1978-83), 1984 (1978-79), 1994 (1980-82), The Rook (1979-82), Vampirella (1980-82) and The Goblin (1982), where he turned in stories that represented an extraordinary evolution in his art characterized by profuse, graceful hatching, dynamic figurework and imaginative compositions. Tim Perkins has said, "His line work was very stylised and yet still had all the contemporary licks of his fellow Filipino artists. Instantly recognisable amongst the group his work flowed with the same lushness of line that the others had, but with a greater dynamic, which probably explained his use of super-heroic titles, when the others were considered, wrongly in my honest opinion, not to be suitable for superhero comics."
Nebres was in demand as an inker. Editor Ralph Macchio recalled working with Doug Moench and John Buscema on 'Warriors of the Shadow Realm' (Marvel Super Special #11-13) in 1979: "We needed an inker to work on John's brilliant pencils who would brink his own flair to the pencils but not over-power the delicacy of what John had drawn. We were astonished at how faithfully [Rudy] rendered John's pencils yet added his own special touch."
He next spent 10 years working with Neal Adams for Continuity Studios doing storyboards and animatics, but was able to work on Continuity comics titles like Armor (1986-90), Toy Boy (1986-87), Megalith (1989) and Ms. Mystic (1989).
He went freelance again afterwards and has since worked on a variety of titles and companies like Spider-man, Conan and Punisher for Marvel, as well as a Negation one-shot in an issue of Crossgen Chronicles for Crossgen Comics in 2002.
The Art of Rudy Nebres, a collection of fan commissions, was published by SQP Inc in 2000.
Nebres currently lives in Edison, New Jersey, with his wife Dolores. They have two children Melvin and Edwin.
In a 2012 interview, Neil Adams said that Nebres "has got to be one of the nicest guys in comics. He's very humble, almost too self-effacing. he's humble to the point that I want to hit him in the head and say, 'You're better than you think you are. You're great.' He's that humble, but he puts better lines on the page than any artist or inker I know."
Examples of Rudy Nebres's work can be found at the Illustration Art Gallery.