The Hook Brings You Back...
Cardy was a very talented artist, both on interiors and covers. He was also the reason this blog even exists. For he was the artist who hooked me on DC Comics, and thus onto comics in general.
Sure, there were other Late Silver/Early Bronze Age (approx. 1968-1975) DC favorites like Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Dick Giordano, or the Curt Swan/Murphy Anderson team, some of whose styles I may have even liked better than Cardy. But in terms of addicting me to DC comics during that period, nobody, even Adams, did it better than Nick. And you can bet I was far from alone in that opinion, especially among old DC fans who are in their late 30's or older. If you couldn't resist checking out a DC comic in the early 70's, odds are it was because it had a cover drawn by him.
Cardy's covers were irresistible, often depicting their protagonists in unique, seeming Kobayashi Maru situations, all beautifully staged. They made you wonder "How are they going to get out of this one?" while making you care enough to take a look inside and find out.
You see, my earliest experience with reading DC Comics came from visits to my aunts' and uncles' houses. I was too young to actually buy any comics myself, and my family was struggling to make ends meet at times. So when we visited our relatives, I often made a beeline straight for their comics stash and lost myself in it. Unfortunately, some of those aforementioned aunts and uncles are no longer alive, so remembering reading those comics has the added bonus reminding me of happier times with them.
Here are some of the covers (and, in some cases, accompanying interiors), with which Nick Cardy owned me, body and soul, as a young boy. My one rule: I'm keeping things honest by limiting the comics shown to my actual childhood expriences, way before Google or the Grand Comics Database or whatever could fill in the blanks. With some of these I've only seen the covers, either through in-house ads or through seeing the covers at my local grocery store or drugstore. But I'm including them anyway because they made me crave the interior stories, too, even if I never got to satisfy those cravings.
Let's start with my first Cardy memory: His Aquaman work.
But where Cardy really addicted me was on Teen Titans, where he illustrated both the covers and most of the interiors. He really started hitting his stride around this issue.
And it only got better.
Cardy's art was versatile enough to also thrive in a wide variety of other non-superhero genres (yes, DC and Marvel actually had other genres back in the day, believe it or not), including romance....
....and horror comics.
And then there's Cardy's work on my favorite hero, Superman.
True, Cardy never drew any Superman solo stories that I can think of. In fact, the only interior art I can recall Cardy doing of the Man Of Steel may have been his cameo in this Titans issue.
But his Superman covers, on the other hand?
Here's the first comic book that I bought with my own money. With a Cardy cover. Of course.
Here are some more seductive Cardy Superman covers.
But the Man Of Steel's solo adventures weren't the only Superman-related comics where Cardy's covers shined. There were also his team adventures, both as an adult.....
....and as a teenager.
There were also the Cardy covers with Superman's best friends....
...and even his own son.