Monday, November 04, 2013

Nick Cardy 1920-2013

If you bought comic books during the Gold, Silver or Bronze age of comics, you know who he was.

Comic book artist Nick Cardy died November 3, 2013. There has been no cause of death cited, but he had been put in a hospice very recently after an illness. He was 93.

Born October 16, 1920, to a hardscrabble early life in Manhattan's Lower East Side, Nicholas Viscardi was one of those kids who drew. He painted and sketched since he was a little kid. By his teens, he was getting his work published and progressing through free classes at the Boy's Club of America. He attended the School of Industrial Art, where he became friends with another fellow who would make his name in comic books: Al Plastino.

By 1937 he was working for a NYC ad agency. Two years later, he left and began working at the Eisner/Iger Studios, producing pages for Quality Comics. He wrote and drew "Lady Luck," the back-up feature to Eisner's most-famous creation "The Spirit."

After leaving Eisner's shop over a financial disagreement, he worked for Fiction House, contributing to titles like Jungle Tales and

He served in World War II in the 66th Infantry Division, as an armored tank driver. He was wounded and received two purple hearts.

Returning stateside, he married Ruth Houghby. They had one son, Peter, who was born in 1955 and died in 2001. Nick and Ruth were divorced in 1969.

It was after the War that he worked on the newspaper comic strips TARZAN and CASEY RUGGLES, in addition to drawing for Fiction House and doing some advertising assignments. He shared a studio with old classmate Al Plastino and Jack Sparling.

Nick Cardy began a long freelancing career at DC Comics beginning in 1948, working for Murray Boltinoff and DC's GANGBUSTERS title. It was during this time, thathe altered his last name from Viscardi to Cardy "after prejudice against his Italian heritage cost him assignments (ComicMix)."
Some of the highlights from his DC Comics career (via The Hollywood Reporter):
  • drawing the first 39 issues of the ongoing Aquaman series,
  • co-creating the Teen Titans in 1965's The Brave and the Bold #60 (and drawing each issue of their first series, whether pencils, inks or both) 
  • and becoming the main cover artist for the entire line throughout the early 1970s.
He was also well known for his work on the 1960s cult Western comic book Bat Lash. 

By 1975, after more than a quarter century with DC, he had become disillusioned with the comic book industry. Changing his name once more from Cardy to Cardi, he began doing commercial work, mostly for the film industry. Some of the films he worked on: California Suite, Movie Movie and Apocalypse Now.

In recent decades, he had become a popular convention guest. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2005. 

An excerpt:

“Nick Cardy’s work helped define some of the things we see in comics today and take for granted,” said Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher. “He broke out of the mold in terms of covers and layout and created a truly interactive experience for the reader that directly points back to his time with the Eisner studio. His versions of Aquaman, the Teen Titans and Bat Lash – to name a few – remain iconic today. Our sympathies go out to his family during this difficult time.”

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