I met “NiX” publisher and Columbus, Ohio, resident Ken Eppstein after getting an update from his page on garagepunk.com. Eppstein is a member of the GaragePunk Podcast Network, an assemblage of dozens of rock and roll shows spanning psychedelia, punk, soul, surf and lo-fi. He was soliciting support for the first issue of his comic by selling vinyl leftovers from his shuttered store, Evil Empire Records. When I hear about a guy selling records to fund—of all things—the publishing of a comic book, I pay attention. During his record-selling fund drives, the first of which was in late 2010, anyone who bought vinyl from him received a free issue of “NiX.” (For the upcoming issue 4 he’s relying on Kickstarter for funds.) So along with some Billy Childish came Eppstein's self-published comic.
One fixture of all three issues is Bus Stop Ned, featured in one-page sketches. He’s reminiscent of a David Greenberger character from the old folks' home in “Duplex Planet” who’s found refuge in a copy of Harvey Pekar's “American Splendor.” Ned, who has a bottomless capacity for self-amusement, is apparently a part-time resident at one of the bus stops that Eppstein must pass on his way to work at a Columbus nonprofit that specializes in affordable housing and repair. Eppstein’s title there is "the guy who does all the busy work so shit gets done." Ned speaks gibberish and tends to accidentally insult and compliment other people waiting for the bus. Like “Duplex Planet” and “American Splendor,” “NiX” successfully captures the world through a sophisticate's lens without being offensive to the characters depicted.
If you have any fondness for superheroes, monsters or DIY publishing, this comic might be for you. If you have any predilection at all toward the unpredictable and obsessed world of record junkies and musicians, this comic is definitely for you.