Monday, April 25, 2011
The "Stripschapprijs (Stripschap-award) is the oldest and most important comic -award in the Netherlands, and Eva Ink Artist Group is pleased to announced that extraordinary illustrator , Minck Oosterveer--currently working on "Ruse" and Spider-man for Marvel Comics-- is this year's recipient of this important honor.
The "Stripschapprijs" is awarded every year to Dutch (with a few exceptions) comic creators for their whole body of work. And is awarded by the Stripschap, the Dutch Society of comics fans during the "stripdagen" (days of comics), the oldest comic convention held in the Netherlands, organized by "Het stripschap".
A list of former recipients can be found at: http://www.stripschap.nl/pages/stripschapprijzen/de-stripschapprijs.php
Award-winning artist, Minck Oosterveer is just as known outside of The Netherlands, for a plethora of comic strips, movie work, and sequential art. Most notably here in the United States for such books as "Zombie Tales" and "The Unknown" with writer Mark Waid!
Although he grew up in The Netherlands (Holland) with European comics, Minck was soon interested in, and influenced by, American comics, especially the newspaper comics of the 1930s-50s. It was the pulp-ish, direct style and the usage of black and white in realistic artwork that attracted him the most. Film Noir as it were. Oosterveer says his work is strongly influenced by Milton Caniff, Alex Raymond, and Will Eisner.
Major collaborations occurred for Oosterveer with Willem Ritstier resulting in the series "Claudia Brücken" for the Franco-Belgian publishing-house 'les editons Lombard' and Tintin-Magazine . As well as the daily newspaper comic in an American style, "Jack Pott", published in the Dutch newspaper "Algemeen Dagblad."
Since 1996 Oosterveer has worked again with Willem Ritstier on the newspaper comic "Zodiak" for De Telegraaf, and series "Rick Rolluik" for Suske en Wiske-magazine, and "Arachna" for ComicWatch-magazine. He did the art and story for the comic "Excalibur", published by Enigma and artwork for a successful animated movie, '"Mario A".
In 2002, Oosterveer and Ritstier started a new daily comic strip in De Telegraaf, called "Nicky Saxx", one of their most successful comic-series. This was followed by a comic-series entitled "Trunk" (2006), which debuted to critical acclaim. Next they teamed up (2007) as writer (Ritstier) and penciller (Oosterveer) for "Storm", a successful European comic series created by Englishman Don Lawrence, and started a new western-comic, called "Ronson inc." for the legendary Dutch comic-magazine "Eppo"
Minck Oosterveer debuted in US-comics with the aforementioned "Zombie Tales/ Zaambi" written by Cris Morgan and published by BOOM!-studios. Early 2009 until 2010 he collaborated with American writer Mark Waid to draw the mini-series "The Unknown" and "The Unknown: The Devil made flesh" which where published by BOOM!-studios as well. As mentioned, he is currently back in the US, working at Marvel Comics on several wonderful projects, with more to come.
"When they told me I would be awarded the Stripschapprijs this year the first thing in my mind was: Darn... I have to do a speech... than I realized there where a lot of people and colleagues who had recommended me for the award and I felt honored they had given me a place amidst the artists I had admired and considered to be my examples and my heroes," stated Oosterveer.
Currently, Minck Oosterveer is scheduled for several European and US shows in 2011, with more to follow.
Look for him at:
Wizard World Philly, June 17-19th
Albuquerque Comic Con, June 24th-26th
FACTS Convention Ghent Belgium, October 22-23rd
For more information on Minck, his commissions, and appearances contact Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Above: Minck Oosterveer with his wife, father, brother and daughter at the event; Oosterveer receives award from Mayor; Minck Oosterveer discussing the importance of this award.)
Sunday, April 24, 2011
New York--This month, Artist/writer/creator Michael Golden is honored with the I-CON Artist Guest of Honor Award at this renowned, 30-years running, Long Island festival of science fiction and pop culture.
Co-creator of the X-men's Rogue character, Spartan X and Bucky O'Hare, Mr. Golden is known worldwide for his groundbreaking work on "The 'Nam," "Micronauts," "G.I. Joe Yearbook," and "Dr. Strange, " among MUCH more, and is counted as one of the best cover designers and storytellers in the business.
Golden has been one of the most influential creators around for the last several decades:
"....unless you can actually draw yourself, it is very difficult to understand the exact mind-blowing impossibility of what he does," said writer/artist Larry Hama, of Golden's work.
"Michael blithely puts down on paper exactly what he sees in his head. It's like he's got a cosmic opaque projector that shoots a laser beam from his brain through the kundalini eye in his forehead straight down onto the drawing surface where all he has to do is trace it," continues Hama. "The result is hard-edged and fully realized in every way. No fuzzy impressions here. No using the side of the pencil. No squiggly space-filling lines blocked in on automatic pilot. To paraphrase Neal Adams (who was referring to Golden), there is not a single millimeter of line on the page that is not directed by conscious thought."
Recent books covering the colorful life and amazing art of Michael Golden include a Manga version of the "Bucky O'Hare" series, created with Hama, as well as the top selling art retrospective "Excess: The Art of Michael Golden," written by Renee Witterstaetter, which sold out and has gone into a second printing, as well as his recent sketchbook "Heroes and Villains," and the just released NEW sketchbook, "MORE Heroes and Villains." His cover work is featured on the children's book "Kerry and the Scary Things." In addition, several DVD's have been produced on Michael and his career, including "Creator Chronicles: Michael Golden," featuring an extensive interview and tutorial with the creator, as well as "Modern Masters: In the Studio with Michael Golden."
As a conceptual cover artist, Golden has penciled everything from Batman and Captain America to Vampirella! And the list keeps growing.
The I-CON Artist Guest of Honor Award is added to other honors including the Lille Guest of Honor Award as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Michael has served as an Editor at DC Comics as well as Senior Art Director at Marvel Comics, and has worked on scores of movie production projects, new ones currently in development. His art has been the focus of gallery shows in places as diverse as Gijon, Barcelona, New York, Antwerp and Brussels, while his class on storytelling has been conducted from Spain to Brussels to France to Canada to the United States... and most recently China.
For more information on Michael Golden and his work, contact:
Or go to:
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Eggs Rolls Deliver, But Dim Sum is Dim and then Some
It dawned on me yesterday that I live in one of the greatest cities in the world, and due to work, it appears sometimes that I spend most of my working hours trying to figure out some way to get out of it!
The urge to see something new and eat something different is eternally strong in all of us I think. But one of the most wonderful things about living in Manhattan is that you can walk a few blocks and be in a whole new world without having to go through airport security and flight hibernation.
That's right Dorothy, just click your heels three times and let's see where we end up!
On a sunny, and welcome, Spring-like day in April, my friend Ric called with an invite to click our heels and do just that, and I said "Why not!"
The destination: Chinatown Brasserie in the East Village. Located at 380 Lafayette.
Now, my first clue should have been that "Hey, it's not in Chinatown at all," unless the expanse from Canal is moving quicker than I thought. Indeed, it's between my beloved East Village, and that street known as Houston. (Which is pronounced "HOW-ston" up here. Totally alien to us transplanted Texans who inevitably want to call it "HUE-ston.")
After taking a walk through Tompkins Square Park, being waylaid by the joyful dog run, and losing track of time therein, I was woefully late for my meeting with Ric, and a little in a flurry because of it. That, and I thought the text from him said 300 Lafayette instead of 380. Oh well....
But never to fear, the decor of Chinatown Brasserie puts one immediately at ease. At least it did me.
In a second of walking through the doors, I felt as if some time machine, transporter, or yes, click of the heels, had somehow dropped me smack dab in a Hong Kong tea house from the 1920's.
Curtains cover the windows, bathing the room in a soft light, and adding to the illusion. Carved wood and rich tones highlight the decor. Nothing gold lame or gaudy here, this is classic Chinese. Why even the ladies room was something to behold, with vintage shouting out right down from the water closets to the faucets.
It was a dream, really, and made me long for the Hong Kong I know. Yes... tearooms like this exist if you know where to look for them in that wonderful, vibrant and fascinating city.
So, yes, review hat back on: The decor in this establishment is top notch. I wish I could say the same for the food.
I understand that the idea of having this pseudo dim sum place in the East Village is to make Chinese food up-scale. And the prices reflect that.
Eggs Rolls: $7
Hot and Sour Soup: $7
Sauteed Sea Bass Fillet with Chili and Black Beans: $27.
Moo Shu Pork with Egg Omelet: $16
FYI: These are NOT Chinatown prices. But then again, I didn't really expect them to be. This was haute cusine I was told, so I perused the menu and made my choices. Hoping the taste would justify the cost.
Ric ordered the Classic Egg Rolls (2 for $7). I ordered the Steamed Pork Buns (4 for $8). And we both ordered the Dim Sum price fixed menu for $17. And a few non-alcoholic drinks, as well as Jasmine tea.
I'll start with the negative, okay. The dim sum was terrible.
I understand wanting to make Dim Sum fancy. I guess...It's long had a bad name, even though it's one of my favorite meals ever. But the dim sum basket we received, was so tiny in size as to be laughable at the price of $17. Each piece was about 1/2 the size of what you'd get in Chinatown. And, okay... I could have dealt with that, but the pieces were tuff, overcooked and flavorless. Albeit elegantly designed. The selection of sauces on the side was the only thing that saved them, and in truth, I couldn't wait to put each beautiful looking, trussed up, manipulated "art piece" in something to give it some character. The steamed pork buns-- usually my favorites-- tasted fine, but again, they were served in Barbie sized portions!
I found myself looking under the table for the rest of the food!
Okay. What did Chinatown Brasserie do right?
Some things for sure. First of all: NO MSG! Also, the waiter allowed us to make our own drink combination of Kiwi, Lychee nut and lemonade. It was light, refreshing, and not too tart. And I kid you not when I say that the Classic Egg Rolls, even at a hefty $7, were THE best eggs rolls I've ever had in my life. They were melt-in-your-mouth perfectly done goodness!
What the place has really done right is capturing the feeling and the decor of old Hong Kong, though. So, you can't lose putting on your best silk, sitting in the elegant bar and having a glass or wine with one or two appetizers-- especially the egg rolls.
As far as a meal... well...
After "eating," Ric and I walked the seven blocks to Chinatown on the way to one of the few shops still selling non-bootleg HK movies, and stopped first at a bakery--I think it was called "The Beautiful Bakery" or something like that-- where I purchased a steamed bun with red bean and Ric had the steamed bun with custard. They were huge, flavorful and steaming fresh! The cost $2. for both.
Now THAT was some dim sum.
(Renee Witterstaetter is a freelance writer living in Manhattan. Her website is: www.evainkartistgroup.com)
Sunday, April 17, 2011
As an editor at Marvel Comics, one of my favorite things I loved to do was write my column, "Witterstaetter's Witticisms," in which, I wrote about... well... just about anything that was on my mind, or touched me in some way. These columns appeared in any book I edited, including the "Marvel Holiday Special," the "Impossible Man Summer Special," you name it!
One of the books I spearheaded at Marvel during my time there, was indeed the "Marvel Holiday Special." I've always been a big fan of antholgies. And one of my favorites of that run was the December 1993 issue, featuring works by Steven Grant, Pat Broderick, Howard Chaykin, Barry Dutter, Marie Severin, Scott Lobdell, Dennis Jensen, Ann Nocenti, Bob Almond, Tom Grindberg, Peter David, Ron Lim, Bill Anderson, Michael Golden, Tom Morgan, Nick Nepolitano, Pat Oliffe, and Alex Saviuk.
I just sat here and read Chaykin's "Downtime" story again... really nice...
And, to me the shinning star on top, the cover by my friend Mike Kaluta.
In these books, I was fortunate enough to work with some great talents on short stories that captured the spirit of the holidays and times with family, regardless of ones religious affiliation.
I'm so proud to have been able to start this book at Marvel, and here, without further fanfare, is my column from 1993, which happened to mark a turning point in my own life...and although I may write it differently today with perhaps more finesse and polish, I wouldn't change a thing.
So, here, a little time capsule piece for you...
Last year, a tradition ended. It was a small thing in some ways, but a thing that takes up considerable space in my attic of memories that helped put together the jigsaw puzzle of who I am. The Sears Christmas Catalogue published its last edition.
"What?" you might say, "It's not like the Saturday Evening Post or "The New Yorker" ceased to be. It's not like the Library of Congress burned down." But when I heard the news, it tugged at my heart nonetheless and I began to relive my past holidays with the Sears Christmas Catalogue.
It seems like it was always there just like Mom and Dad and Christmas trees. How can I describe the joy I felt as a child every years when my parents gave me a copy of that book, chock-full of every describable toy--Barbies, Barbie clothes, Barbie airplanes, Barbie buses, painting sets that promised to teach you to draw, chemist sets that let you create your own mini explosions and make plastic jewelry, bikes and plastic dinosaurs and Easy-Bake Ovens. AH!
It was all like a dreamland. And even more like one when Mom and Dad said, "Now, you can make your list for Santa."
And boy, did I! I perused every page like a top -notch proof-reader, extolling the virtues of one set of Barbie outfits over and against another. I made charts and graphs, putting down weights, measurements and prices per item. As I tried to figure out just what Santa could afford to buy and if there would be money left over of my brothers.
Of course, any endeavor like this didn't take one day! It took months-- from the first day the catalogue came out to three weeks before Christmas. I had no ideas why Santa needed this deadline, but he did, so that was that! Then, I handed my crumpled, crossed-out, re-written requests to that Santa messenger named Mom, and hoped for the best.
I'd pretty much try to forget about Christmas then, only casually flipping through the dog-eared catalog to review my choices--that is, until Christmas morning when my two brothers and I would rush to the tree, tripping over our pajamas, and stopping short of knocking the whole thing down, to look at our new found booty stacked in our individual sections. A bike here, A Spider-Man bank there, a G.I. Joe camping set there. We'd shout a hoot with delight and immediately begin to play.
All the while, Mom and Dad watched, seemingly tired for such an exciting event Almost like they'd been up all night putting bikes together or something! Go Figure! But Dad would still smile that sweet, understanding smile, make some joke, as I brought each treasure over to show him and explain it's virtues. That's an important part of the memory.
It's funny about that Christmas catalogue. Years passed, and no matter where I went-- college, Dallas, New York--it always found me. Arriving just in time for me to make my list. Oh, I never got everything on my list of course, and I tried to get more conservative with my requests as I got older, realizing that Santa might not have as much money as he used to with kids in college, etc. but the fun was in the doing The fun was having the tradition.
So, I sighed a little sigh for the loss of my previous book of dreams this last Christmas. Maybe, because for me it's also the symbol of a greater loss-- a Christmas that will be the "last" for many reasons.
You see, my Father had a massive heart attack last November, followed by open heart surgery. We all thought he was going to be be fine. He made it home for Christmas sitting in his chair on Christmas morning wearing his red flannel shirt, smiling that same mischievous smile from years ago (though a little weaker) with the sparkle in his eye (though a little duller_. And I showed him each one of the gifts from Santa as if he hadn't seen them before. And he'd say "Gee, you sure racked up! What a haul!" and I'd agree.
Even at 29, I was still Daddy's little girl.
Then, on January 5th, my mother's birthday, my Father passed from this world. As Alexander Woollcott once said, one of the hardships of being on this world past a certain age is watching one's individual world become depopulated.
Yet some things are constant. Memories from my childhood, like drinking hot chocolate on a winter's day, will keep me warm from the inside out The Catalogues will come and go. Toy's will be played with and broken. Comics will be read and re-read, saved or thrown away. But maybe memories live forever.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Thanks to the fine folks at Comic Book Resources for posting a new interview with artist Nick Cardy, discussing our new book,"Nick Cardy: The Artist at War." I adore this book, and am so glad to be a part of it. Thanks to Adam who did the interview for doing such a fantastic and well-researched job, and to Nick himself for his wonderful commentary.
Here's the link to the interview, and it is also posted below: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=31621
Cardy IS The Artist at War
Nick Cardy is one of those artists whose name and work are associated with the Silver Age of Comics. He drew "Aquaman" and "Teen Titans" for years at DC Comics from the early sixties into the seventies. He was also the artist and one of the writers of the short-lived Western series "Bat Lash." In the sixties and seventies, he crafted some of DC's greatest cover work, and today can still be seen contributing an occasional cover to books including 2008's "Teen Titans Lost Annual" or 2009's "The Spirit" #31. This led to his next career as a poster artist for films like "The Streetfighter" with Sonny Chiba, "Movie Movie," "Meatballs 2" and many others.
Cardy began working in the comics industry when he was still a teenager, working for the Eisner/Iger Studio before he was drafted. He became a decorated World War II veteran who served in the European theater as an Assistant Tank Driver in the Third Armored Division where, among his other commendations, he was awarded two Purple Hearts.
Eva Ink Publishing's "The Artist at War" is a collection of sketches Cardy made while he was serving in the war. He packed multiple pads in his duffel bag before shipping off to Europe and the book reproduces the scenes and impressions he crafted while overseas. Many of them are brief moments of calm, and while others are less so, it's those odd, quiet and funny moments that Mr. Cardy returns to when speaking about the war and his experiences there.
Mr. Cardy cited his age at the beginning of our conversation and joked, "If I can't remember what the hell I had for breakfast in the morning, what is it like when I try to remember something that happened sixty or seventy years ago?" Though he admitted to only recently starting to feel old, his hearing and memory are excellent and he was as fun and charming as an interviewer could hope for. Mr. Cardy took time to speak with CBR News about his new book, his time in the service and his long career in comics. We're grateful to Renee Witterstaetter and Todd Dezago for their assistance in arranging it. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation.
CBR News: Your new book, "Nick Cardy: The Artist at War" is a collection of art you did during World War II. How did the book come about?
Nick Cardy: My friend [writer and publisher, Renee Witterstaetter], we've known each other for quite a while, she said, "Nick, we're going to do a book on you." I had a lot of combat sketches from when I was in the service. I carried 3" x 5" spiral bound drawing pads in my duffel bag and a watercolor set and a larger pad. Whatever I could fit in there. As I went along for those three years I sketched and did watercolors. When she saw them, she decided to make a war book out of them. I had to go digging through the photographs and I had to write on the back where the photographs were done. I wrote a story on some if I had a nice story to go with that picture.
During the war, you were originally in the 66th Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Black Panther Division," and you designed the shoulder patch insignia.
They had a contest in the 66th Division for someone to design that and mine was accepted. Prior to that I would get up in the morning with the guys and spend some time in the field and everything was regimented. When I went to headquarters the general congratulated me and they wrote an article about it, and I stayed at headquarters for a while. I got up early in the morning and the guys at headquarters were still sleeping [Laughs]. They had a better cook than we had, so I hung around. I ended up staying there because the general wanted his portrait done.
In the 66th division, one of the fellows that was in the outfit was a bartender that used to be at the Stork Club in New York. At the bar I was sitting there and I made sketches of all the officers. When a corps general came to visit, he said, "Who's the artist?" They told him who I was and he said, "I want him in my outfit." The general and the chief of staff decided, we'll promote him. They were looking to see where they could get that promotion from and they finally found an empty spot in the motor pool so they gave me the promotion to the motor pool. I went to Texarkana and when I got there the place was a mess. They were packing to go overseas to the Pacific. The guy said, "Who are you?" I said, "I'm an artist." He said, "Can you stencil duffel bags?" I said, "No, I don't do stenciling, I hire somebody to do it, I'm not a letterer." So he said, "Well, then you can go back, we don't need you." So I went back and that's a whole other story.
How did you end up in the European theater and serving as a tank driver?
When I came back, they had transferred me so I was no longer in their company. I was extra and they sent me somewhere else and I went overseas with a bunch of other fellows that weren't assigned to any other outfits. On the way over I got pleurisy and was in the hospital in Southampton [England]. When I got better they interviewed me and this man says, "I see here that you were in the motor pool, can you drive a tank?" I said, "I can't even drive a truck." He said okay and you know when people use a stamp in that humorous way. He was pounding paper with a stamp. "You are now in the Third Armored Division." The stamping sound, I felt like it was the lid to a coffin. [Laughs] I didn't know anything about driving a tank, but they put me in a tank. I was in the Third Armored Division and I was an Assistant Tank driver.
What did it mean to be an assistant tank driver?
If the driver has to go to the bathroom, you watch the tank. [Laughs] You sit alongside him. In the tank you had a large transmission. In car there's a little console in the middle and sometimes if you want to get to the side seat, you have to go over that bump to get there. These transmissions, you couldn't squeeze over. You could see his head, and your head is just below where the turret turns. The door over your head had a small periscope that when the lid was closed your seat is at the lowest angle so you could see through the periscope what's going on. Then you could lift up the seat when the lid was open so your head was above the opening you could look out. But if the turret happens to turn with the gun and it's over your latch you couldn't get out there or over the transmission. It was a little terrifying. They just put me in there, and I was more or less a passenger on a sight seeing trip. [Laughs] We were a spearhead division and with the first army and we went through the Northern part of Europe.
There was a lot of mayhem, but when we had a break, I'd take my pad out and draw what I remembered. I had notes. It was something. Those are things that I remember, but in talking about it, I talk about the light things that happened. I try to lean towards that. Sometimes when you tell a war story long enough, it gets bigger. [Laughs.]
After the war, when I was in Paris, there was a hospital. They said, "Oh, you're an artist, we could use you." I said, "Where the hell were you three years ago?!" [Laughs] I wound up near Versailles. I was stationed there doing drawings. We came home on a freighter. They had bunks that were about eight high or six high in the hold of this ship and when you wanted to get down you had to walk down these things. [Laughs] As we were coming across the Atlantic we had these storms that were bouncing us up and down. All the guys were sick. To make it worse, some of the guys who worked on the ship would come around hitting a bell yelling, "Dinner, dinner!" and everybody would end up throwing up in the bathroom. When [the storms] finally stopped after a week, one of the officers said, "Nick, can you get a couple of guys and clean up the deck?" It was very foggy. You couldn't see the top of the mast. We were there and as we were cleaning, the fog started descending and I looked up and there, right over my head, was the head of the Statue of Liberty. Talk about a lump in your throat after three years.
How many pads and drawings did you make during the war?
There were six pads, 3" x 5", and there may have been twenty or thirty pages to a book. And I did what I call "spit drawings." [Laughs] Let me explain that. I had a waterman's fountain pen. If you drop water on [the ink], it spreads. So if I drew in ink and wanted a little tone on something, I would wet my finger and rub that part that I wanted toned with enough spit that it created a gray tone. Well, actually it was a blue tone, because it was blue ink, and I had what I called "spit drawings." [Laughs] I mean we didn't have water around. We were in the middle of no man's land. [Laughs] I did a lot of those. Sometimes I would make little notes and write down, like, this was crimson, or burnt sienna, and mark the color for the sky. I would make notes in case I wanted to do something with that.
They used to have these little cough drop boxes, Sucrets. I soldered a little piece of wire with a loop in it so I could hold that box with my thumb through it. I put some watercolors in that, as many as I could, and use the lid to blend my watercolors. I would do my sketches that way. Some have watercolor and some didn't. I went through the war doing that sort of thing.
I have to admit I like the term "spit sketches" just because it gets across the atmosphere in which you did them.
The spontaneity. It's something that's very quick.
Do you have any favorite pieces amongst those in the book?
I have one that's a watercolor of a tank. A guy is sitting outside [the tank] and in the background you can see the red bursts of artillery. Another one is where you could see the tank that I was posted in. You're looking at it from across the street to a house that's been partially demolished and you can see the bannister going down and no door, no windows. That was done in sepia. There's one I did where an armored truck, this was in Arkansas, got stuck in the mud after the rain and we're pushing it. When I finished pushing it, I couldn't find my shoe. My stocking was trailing me, but the mud had sucked my shoe off. [Laughs]
When you were drafted, you were already working as an artist. Since you started as teenager I'm guessing you're largely self-taught.
I was born in 1920. During the Depression you couldn't go to art school because you didn't have any money and food was very scarce and then it got worse. I used to go to public library and look at books. When I was in junior high school, my art teacher gave me a book with colored plates. In those days they'd have regular pages, then on a blank page they would take a piece of art that was printed in color and they would tack it very lightly on that page in the book. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Rubens, and all the way up. That's where I got my education.
When I was in junior high school they wanted me to do a mural. There [were] two artists, one was doing the educational and they gave me the sports. Those murals were later printed in a newspaper. They showed the photographs of those two paintings and then they had another photograph of some of the paintings I did at the Boys Club. My teacher wanted to keep me off the streets. I lived on the East Side of New York City and they sent me to the Boys Club on 10th Street. I was having sculpture lessons and art lessons and they had a swimming pool. They had me do some murals in empty rooms and those were published by a magazine at that time called The Literary Digest. I won a lot of awards at the Boys Club and so they pushed me along.
I was into fine art and then after school there was a job open for a sculptor. Then I got a job at an advertising agency. I stayed there for a while. Someone said, "Why don't you take this stuff to the Eisner and Iger outfit?" They had a bullpen of artists like Lou Fine and a few others. I stayed there doing comic books and then when World War II started, the guy that was doing "Lady Luck" with Will Eisner got drafted and I went to work there. Now Will Eisner, I called him Bill. Later on, I found out everybody calls him Will. [Laughs]
When he was drawing "The Spirit," at that same time "The Saint" started in the movies. They had a theme song, this guy whistling. Every time when I would come in in the morning, there [Eisner] was, whistling this theme from "The Saint" and I think that he had a little of "The Saint" in "The Spirit." "The Spirit" was a supplement that they fit into the Sunday newspaper. The majority was "The Spirit" and then they had "Lady Luck," the one that I did. Bob Powell had "Mr. Mystic." I was there about '40, not even a year, and then I went to Fiction House and then into the army.
When you came back from the war, you did a number of things before working in comics for a longer period of around two decades.
When I first came out of the army I decided I wasn't going into comic books, so I started doing a portfolio of illustrations. The magazines used to be full of illustrators. Later on photographs replaced them, but I always wanted to be an illustrator. I was offered the job of doing the "Tarzan" daily strip. I was also doing covers for various magazines, more or less testing to see how my colors worked. When you do an illustration, if you print it as a watercolor or another medium, it doesn't always come out right. I was experimenting and doing that. The first jobs I did were for DC. They were all freelance. I worked for DC and then the money was coming in steady so I stayed with them doing freelance work and then I was full-time at DC. I did "Tomahawk," then "Congo Bill" and then I went into "Aquaman." I did "Aquaman" for quite a while. Then I did "Teen Titans." I was doing "Teen Titans" and then I went to do "Bat Lash."
The short-lived but great western series "Bat Lash."
I was late because I was starting on "Bat Lash" so they had Neal Adams pencil a "Teen Titans" story for me and Gil Kane pencil one and I inked them. Carmine [Infantino] and all of them helped me out. I did the inking, but I could never just pencil something because I would draw a leg and have two or three lines. Sometimes when I inked my own stuff I would ink between the lines. Anyone else, they wouldn't know what the hell to do with it. So when Neal Adams or Gil Kane did women's heads, I would go over their pencils but do it as if I were drawing my own heads, because it kept the style the same. Because when Neal Adams does a girl's head he does it differently than I do it. Same with Gil Kane.
I was getting tired of doing people in long underwear so I did "Bat Lash" and I had a ball with that. Sergio Aragones [laid it out] and then Denny O'Neil, who's a fantastic writer, did the writing. Aragones and Joe Orlando used to work in "Mad Magazine" and every time they met they're patting each other on the back and laughing. Aragones could do no wrong and every now and again Orlando would say, "Why can't you be more like him?" I'm like, oh geez. It was like a father going, "Why can't you be more like your big brother?" [Laughs] That didn't help matters.
I think Orlando and Aragones thought I put too much fun in it. They didn't want that humor [in the book] and I just picked up a magazine and there was an article about where Aragones didn't like me. Anyway, DC, when they published a new book, they would give it a seven month trial. After the seven month trial, they dropped it. At the time in Europe, Carmine Infantino said everybody loved it. They couldn't get enough of it because it came out the same time as the spaghetti westerns. Here in the states it didn't sell well because the western genre had started to drop off. They didn't have "Gunsmoke" anymore or the others because they were pushing too many of those, so they didn't have the sales here but in Europe they kept reprinting them.
Then [Carmine] had me do about five hundred covers of all the heroes but then I got tired of it. It got boring. It wasn't a piece of art anymore. That's when I went out to Marvel and I was experimenting with covers again because I wanted to see what paints I could use to get the effect I wanted. Then I did movie posters. Where I was getting 40-45 dollars a page [in comics] or I don't know what it was, I would do a layout for "Grease" or some of these other movies, a charcoal thing almost the size of the posters with the characters -- not the final -- I would get $3,000 for it.
If they want it on the humorous side, you get two or three guys that do humorous covers and they let each one of you do one for, say, $5,000 each one, and if they picked yours you'd get an extra $5,000, which was nice. You don't turn your nose up at that. But then photography took over. I also did portraits and other illustrations.
You've done so much, but is there anything else you still want to do? Anything you have yet to try?
I like to do I do pastels and portraits. In some circles they say that I do beautiful women. I figured I'd do some watercolors, loose watercolors because everything is done by computer now, and I'd take those figures and put them in watercolors. Very simple, very direct. It would be more powerful. Leave a lot of air around it, like vignettes, and they will sparkle by themselves. I figured I can't do anything because of the copyright. At one point I was thinking about doing these women partially nude. Say a girl is sitting at a vanity table and she's combing her hair and in the room you can see a chair with something draped over it. It could be Wondergirl's costume. This woman is in a pond and she's bathing and it's night it's dark. On the bank is the silhouette of a motorcycle and hanging like spanish moss from a tree is lace stockings. Maybe I could [work] with that.
A lot of these things I put down in a memory pad and I put it in my Vivien Leigh closet. When Clark Gable walks out on her [in the movie "Gone with the Wind"], she says, "What am I going to do?" and he says, "Honey, I don't give a damn." Then as she closes the door she says, "Oh well, I'll worry about it tomorrow." So I have a "I'll worry about it tomorrow" closet where I keep these ideas. [Laughs]
“Nick Cardy: The Artist at War” is published by Eva Ink Publishing. For more information contact email@example.com or www.evainkartistgroup.com.