Back in May, Image released their August solicits. Buried deep within document is an advert for a reprint of the first trade of Eric Stephenson’s, Nate Bellegarde’s, Jordie Bellaire’s, and Fonografiks’ Nowhere Men Vol. 1, complete with a newly recolored cover. Accompanying an image of the cover is this short blurb:
The Eisner-nominated sci-fi hit returns in a new printing, with an all-new cover to herald the series’ return in Fall 2015.
Deep breath, everyone. After nearly two years of waiting, Nowhere Men is back. The series received a great deal of buzz and well-earned acclaim back when it debuted in 2012. The team creates a beautifully realized alternative universe where scientists outrank pop singers and actors in the celebrity zeitgeist. Stephenson’s writing and Bellegarde’s strong art in the comic are bolstered through the liberal use of interstitials like contemporary newspaper articles and magazine covers, deliberately invoking Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen in order to immerse the reader in the world they have created. It’s a powerful tale about four men who band together to change the world for the better, but fall prey to their inner demons and continue to fight as their empire descends into chaos.
The series concluded its first arc in 2013, and the series garnered four Eisner nominations and one win for Jordie Bellaire’s coloring in the summer of 2014. Not only was Nowhere Men evoking Watchmen but it also seemed poised to become the new Watchmen. However, by that point, the series had fallen off the map. Nowhere Men was expected to begin its 2nd arc in January 2014, but no new issues appeared. After some time, fans began to worry about the creative team’s radio science. Rumors circulated that the series had been canceled. It seemed as though art had begun to reflect real life.
Then, in July, Bellegarde posted an essay. In it, he discussed his ongoing battle with depression and how it derailed Nowhere Men and his life. I suggest giving the piece a full read, but I’d like to call attention to this excerpt:
Depression makes you feel unwanted and rejected even while causing you to alienate friends and push people away. Artists and creative people in particular can naturally feel alone because taking something from inside yourself and making it tangible is a very solitary undertaking and by presenting it to the world you open yourself up wide for judgement, and all this can make you feel like there is no one to whom you can turn. I used to think it was a blemish of weakness to admit you had a problem and you needed help, but the real weakness is in refusing to ask for help. I hope that’s not something you can only learn the hard way.
Bellegarde hasn’t been particularly active on social media since posting the article, but the community response to the essay was incredibly supportive, and it’s great to see that his hard work is seeing the light of day once again. He recently posted a tweet soliciting for a 3D modeler to help him create references for Nowhere Men:
I’m looking for a decent 3D modeler/sculptor to help me create some reference models for NWM, if anyone is one or knows one holler at me
— Nate Bellegarde (@fetorpse) May 22, 2015
We at The Beat hope Bellegarde has been doing well and has been getting the help he requires. Nowhere Men proved itself to be a work of genius in just six issues, and it’s return is a blessing. Expect a release date as Image’s September and October solicits roll out in the weeks to come.
If you or someone you know has depression, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Depression is a debilitating illness, and sufferers should never feel ashamed to get help. Negative Space writer Ryan Lindsay has some good resources at his site and the National Alliance of Mental Illness has resources on their site as well.