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Monday, January 24, 2011

Exclusive Interview with Nick Cardy-- On the new book from Eva Ink!!

I am so excited about my new project at Eva Ink: "Nick Cardy: The Artist at War." This book focuses on Nick's time in the army during World War II and the sketches he kept at that time. Instead of a camera, Nick captures his experiences with a notepad and pencil, and a small box of watercolors, chronicling a time and place in history for us all.

The book also features a DVD on Nick, talking his career and experiences, and comes in a sketch edition and signed edition.

Here is the original link: http://www.previewsworld.com/public/default.asp?t=1&m=1&c=6&s=462&ai=105001&ssd

If you have any ordering questions, please contact me at: evaink@aol.com


Eva Ink Publishing


PREVIEWSWORLD Exclusive: An Interview With Nick Cardy

PREVIEWSworld Brand Manager Sarah Martinez conducts an exclusive interview with the legendary Nick Cardy to showcase his amazing career and life’s work which are highlighted in the new book “Artist At War HC” with DVD insert. Thrilled at the opportunity to speak with Mr. Cardy, Martinez asks the comic legend about his past comic work, as well as his efforts and experiences with the US war effort during WW2.

Sarah Martinez (SM): Mr. Cardy, you’ve gone through a number of pen names through your career: Ford Davis, Nick Cardy, and Nick Cardi, but no matter how you signed your work, your pencils, inks, and layouts are distinct and praised. For new readers, please tell us some of the titles you’re most known for and what kind of work you did on each of them.

Nick Cardy (NC):Oh, heh, well, I suppose I’m known best for my work on Teen Titans. And Aquaman. And Bat Lash. Maybe not as well known for Bat Lash, but that was some of my favorite work.

Mostly I did pencils and inks — I liked inking my own work. It gave me a feeling of completion and it usually came out the way I’d originally intended.

SM: Even now, the current crop of young talent aspires to work on any of the series you pioneered with DC Comics, but you too were once a ‘young talent.’ How old were you when you started? Where did you work, who inspired you, and how? What feature was your ‘first in print’ and what was it about?

NC: Well, the first work I got was with Will Eisner when he had the studio with...Iger, Bill Iger. That was around 1939, 1940. I was 18 and 19.

I worked on [the] Lady Luck [strip] which was four pages a week. That was a color supplement that was inserted into the Sunday Papers. I was Ford Davis then — that wasn’t my pen name, that was the pen name of anybody who worked on the strip, see? It came with the strip.

Most of the guys I was working with were inspired by the great comics artists of the time, Alex Raymond, Milton Caniff, but I was following the great Illustrators into the Fine Arts; Leyendecker, Bob Peak, Al Parker. And classic artists like Rembrandt and Degas.

SM: Looking back from a current perspective it’s easy to see what a pillar of comic history that Eisner became, but at the time that you worked for him, was there that same sense of awe and importance to the work coming out of his studio? What did your family think of your early work—or of you making comics at all?

Well, I had received lots of awards for art as a teen so my family was very encouraging. I had had my pictures published in the newspaper when I was 14. And I was making money, too, so they couldn’t complain. Heh.

I started out at Eisner for $25 a week—a that was good money! Then I went to Fiction House which I found out was paying a hell of a lot more money. Fiction House was a company that had a large roster of characters that they published. I worked on various titles there; Rita Rio, Camilla, they had spy stories and jungle stories — you were never bored.

You would have been 19 when WW2 started, but you did not immediately enlist. What inspired you to join the war effort when you did? Had any of your family served in WWI? Were they any more comfortable with you being a solider than an artist?

Oh, no. I was drafted. I didn’t want to go. Nobody wanted to go. We all did, but we didn’t want to. I was drafted on April Fool’s Day. I was hoping it was a joke. (laughs)

SM: When the decision to enlist was made, what branch of the armed forces did you choose? And how did your art skills affect your military career?

NC: I was drafted on April 1st, 1943 and sent to Camp Blanding in Florida for basic training and maneuvers. Then I went to Alabama and then Little Rock, Arkansas. I was there when I met a bartender in Little Rock — he had been a bartender at the Stork Club in NYC — and I would do drawings for the bar, guys playing golf and such, you see. So people saw that I was an artist.

Then there was a competition to design the insignia for a shoulder patch for the entire Division. It was this panther, see. I won. And that’s where this General saw me and took a shine to my work. He liked the idea of having his own personal artist. But there was no job called “Company Artist” so they had to give me something that would keep me around. So they put me in the Motor Pool. I didn’t even know how to drive!

Eventually though, they couldn’t hide me anymore, see. And I was transfered. (laughs)

SM: When you were assigned overseas, where were you stationed? Did you speak the language there, or have much contact at all with noncombatants outside your base? Did you have many opportunities to draw those people and places?

Nick Cardy: I was sent to England and they bounced me around for awhile, not really sure where to put me. I was zigging and zagging around. Then I got pleurisy and ended up in the hospital. When I got out they assigned me to the Tank Division and told me to find my way to the front.

SM: Please talk to us about serving in a tank battalion. Were you assigned with a set group of soldiers? What was your job within the unit?

Nick Cardy: I was the Assistant Driver. Have you ever been to Europe and seen all the corners of the buildings that are missing? That was me. We were the Spearhead Unit, Third Armored Division, in Belgium under General Rose. Thrown in without instruction or experience. I knew nothing. You learned on the job and you had to learn fast.There were guys getting killed out there.

SM: How long were you deployed? During that time, what did you draw? How did you choose what to draw?

NC: When I went into the service, all my belongings and clothes were in a duffel bag: my artwork and all my art supplies,a tiny watercolor set, small sketch pads, and a small watercolor block. If things were quiet, I could sketch at the time—but when it got busy, when we were in action—those sketches were all done from memory. I made mental notes and would draw later. For long periods of time nothing would happen and I could draw—but then the whole world would explode around you.

SM: Did the men in your unit understand or did they give you a hard time? Was this something you could do openly?

No, they would watch me, they all enjoyed it. They would pose for me and I would draw for them sometimes. They would take my drawings—they liked them. The nurses took a lot of my drawings.

SM: You were awarded 2 Purple Hearts for injury during your service. Were you ever worried that an injury might keep you from drawing? After years in combat and years of sketching combat did you see the art as something you would return to after the war?

Nick Cardy: I had been injured first when I took some shrapnel in the leg from a German sniper. I went to the hospital and was treated for it, but I didn’t report it because people were being shot or killed all around us and I didn’t think it measured up to all of that, you see.

Later, once the war was over, we were all going from Paris to Versailles, thousands of soldiers, and I missed the truck I was supposed to be on. I caught a ride in a jeep with these guys and on the way the driver lost control and we went over. I woke up on my side with my right arm numb, trapped beneath the jeep. All I kept thinking was, “I could still sculpt. I could do that with my left hand.”

SM: Back home, many people have come to associate Bill Mauldin’s Willie & Joe with “WW 2 War Art.” How would you compare your work during the war and on your issues of war comics to that of Mauldin?

NC: Oh, Mauldin was very, very good. Everyone loved that stuff. Mauldin was always about the war around [his two characters] Willie and Joe. What I was doing was recording what was happening to me, reporting the war that I was seeing and living.

SM: There is no denying that your experience in a live combat setting influenced your ability to draw exciting action scenes and dynamic movement—but what in particular do you feel that your time in the military brought to your art?

NC: I don’t really feel that it influenced my artwork per se. The only thing I really got out of it was when I would have a chance to go into the museums and look through the galleries there. I didn’t have much. I learned to work with what I had and improvise for what I didn’t.

SM: Ultimately, the close of the war brought you home. How long did it take you to settle back into civilian life? What was the hardest part? And how did you get back into comics?

NC: Several times in your life you have a moment — maybe the funeral of a relative or something — that puts a lump in your throat. One of my lump-in-the-throat moments was coming back from Europe. They sent us back on a ship, you see. And it was packed with soldiers. And a lot of them were sick. The weather had been rainy for days. And they told us that we would be coming in soon and lots of people were out on the deck, but it was so foggy you couldn’t see anything. And then suddenly, rising out of nowhere, out of the fog, the Statue of Liberty was right there before me. I got all choked up — I mean, the first thing I see, it’s the Statue of Liberty. I knew I was home.

It wasn’t hard getting back to work. Right away I got a place in a studio with 3 other guys, one was my friend, Al Plastino. I had decided that I wouldn’t do comics anymore and focus on illustration. I worked on my portfolio for a few years, getting work doing covers and illustrations for the crossword puzzle magazines. But then the magazines stopped using illustrators, photography was much cheaper and faster!

Al was doing the Batman daily strip and I helped him out on that from time to time. Then they found out I was available and asked me to do the Tarzan strip. I did that for about a year. I was all excited. Tarzan! Jungles and animals! But the only stories I got, he was in the desert. (laughs)

I did Tarzan and Casey Ruggles and then did some occasional jobs for DC--Gangbusters, Tomahawk, Congo Bill. Then they hired me on Aquaman and I worked there steadily ‘til about 1975.

SM: As a U.S. war veteran who used his talent even during war time, is there anything you’d like to say to our men and women currently serving?

Thank you for doing what you do.

SM: Thank you sir, for your time and your effort: in this interview, in the comics industry, and on behalf of this country.

(Special thanks to Todd Dezago and Renee Witterstaetter for assistance with this article.)

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