One of video games' classic badasses makes his way to comics for the first time in July, courtesy of IDW Publishing. Duke Nukem, the muscular hero famous for stomping aliens, unleashing off-color one-liners, and seducing every lady in sight, rockets into the four-issue miniseries “Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastard,” following quick on the heels of his big (and long overdue) return to gaming in “Duke Nukem Forever” from 2K Games. CBR News spoke with writer Tom Waltz, an IDW editor who has previously written comics set in the “A-Team” and “Silent Hill” universes, about Duke's big politically incorrect comic book adventure.
In development since 1997, the long, long-awaited “Duke Nukem Forever” is finally due for release on PC, Playstation 3, and X-Box 360 on June 14, but the production of “Glorious Bastard” has progressed at a much faster pace. “Ironically, as long as we’ve all waited for ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ to come out, my involvement has felt like a whirlwind at light speed on grease! We at IDW came into the license fairly late in the game, so to speak, and our first priority was to get a 22-page one-shot pack-in comic done for the ‘Duke Nukem Forever: Balls of Steel’ special edition box set done in like two months—including story, script, line art, colors, lettering, the works!” Waltz told CBR. “But like Duke would say, whining is for wimps, so we—meaning artist Xermanico, colorist Luis Antonio Delgado, letterer Chris Mowry, and myself—yanked up our boot straps and cranked out what I feel was a damn fine Duke Nukem comic for the box set. It was a great feeling to see it get done on time and in such a quality fashion, and it really got all of us fired up to get rocking on the ‘Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastard’ mini-series.”
Duke earned his reputation as a wisecracking hardass in his second outing, 1993’s “Duke Nukem II,” and pushed that to the extreme in “Duke Nukem 3D” in 1996, getting even more outrageous in subsequent games across several platforms. “For me, Duke is the most free-spirited, take-no-prisoners, badass around! He’s got massive muscles, endless bullets and corny ‘80s action star one-liners, babes hanging from every appendage, a healthy hatred for extraterrestrial beings, stinky stogies for all occasions, and sweet shades,” Waltz said. “Duke is everything political correctness is not, and I think that’s a great thing. Duke’s not going out of his way to offend anyone… of course, he’s not going out of his way NOT to offend anyone, either. Duke is just being Duke. It’s intended all in good fun—not to be taken seriously and just enjoyed for the satire it is—and I personally feel that if anyone doesn’t get the joke, it probably says more about them than anything else. And, I gotta tell you, he’s fun as hell to write!”
The story of “Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastard” draws on Duke's fantastic adventures saving the world and enjoying the finer things in life. “Duke’s enjoying the kind of good life a guy who’s saved the world multiple times deserves—a billionaire’s mansion, endless kegs of beer, a loyal butler, and a bevy of babes in every room. But right in the middle of all this Bacchanalian goodness, a mysterious French woman appears—she’s more than 90 years old, says she served in the French Resistance in World War II (under the codename ‘the French Tickler,’ no less), and foiled an alien invasion in 1945 Nazi Germany with the help of Duke! She claims she’s come to retrieve Duke—to take him back in time to be sure their victory in the past is not erased,” Waltz said. “Duke, always ready to kick alien tail—anyplace, anytime—agrees, and is swept back in time to face down the extraterrestrial scourge (and find out just exactly why the French woman calls herself ‘the French Tickler’ while he’s there).”
Waltz has written over-the-top action before in “The A-Team: Shotgun Wedding,” but “Duke Nukem” allows for dialogue and scenarios that he might not get away with in other series. “Honestly, the greatest thing about Duke is that the only rule is there are no rules (I mean, c’mon… everyone’s seen this, right? ). If ever a character was custom-made for comics, it’s Duke Nukem, and we hope to bring to funny books all the classic Duke Nukem action, humor, vulgarity, and naughtiness true Duke fans have come to expect from their intrepid hero over the years,” Waltz said. “I mean, B.A. Baracus and Hannibal Smith are cool as all get-out, but have they ever tossed poo at their enemies?!”
“Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastard” features the talents of a new artist, Xermanico, who was selected in conjunction with developers Triptych Games and Gearbox Software. “We submitted a bunch of artists to the game studio for consideration, and Xermanico was the choice they made—and a helluva fine choice it was, let me say,” Waltz said. “From the first pages of the pack-in comic he turned in, to the most recent ‘Duke Nukem: Glorious Bastard’ pages we’ve received, Xermanico has proven time and again that he was born to not only draw Duke Nukem, but action comics in general. He’s fast, reliable, has a great camera eye, and just nails panel after panel with bombastic line art that would do Duke himself proud. Xermanico was introduced to us by Spanish comic artist agent extraordinaire, Eduardo Alpuente, and we hope it’s just the beginning of a long, creative relationship. Top it all off with sweet colors by Luis Antonio Delgado (an A-list colorist in the making) and righteous covers by John K. Snyder III, and you’ve got yourself some seriously awesome Duke goodness to wrap your itchy trigger finger around, no doubt about it!”