Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Groovy Guest Post: Sharon K. on Cardy Covers

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! It's been a while since I was able to share a Groovy Guest Post with ya, but Swingin' Sharon K. (of Two Girls, a Guy, and Some Comics) has come through with a pulse-pounding post to lay on ya! In case you've been spending the last many moons in Lower Slobbovia, I'll tell ya that Sharon--aka the Silver Age Surfer--is a contributor to TwoMorrows' mildly magnificent Back Issue, and has had articles published in books like Tom Brevoot's Assembled! 2. Ol' Groove is sure you're gonna dig Sharon's post! Take it away, Sharon K.!

Cardy Covers, Part 1

Hey, wasn't Groove's recent panoply of 1969 Neal Adams covers scrumptiously mouth-watering?? And if you don't know what I'm talking about, what are you waiting for? Go here ...http://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2009/07/admiring-adams-40-years-ago-this-month.html

You know, while it's true that starting in 1967 Adams basically became a one-man cover industry for DC—thanks to Art (and then Editorial) Director Carmine Infantino--there were many other striking covers created by the likes of Infantino himself, Joe Kubert, and the great cover king Gil Kane. But in the late '60s-early '70s, arguably the most imaginative and well, far out DC covers were created by the inimitable Nick Cardy. His command of genres was incredible: he was equally at home doing superheroes as well as such offbeat fare as Bat Lash, The Witching Hour, and House of Secrets. It was on covers, though, that he could really let loose and exercise his artistic muscles. And Infantino, who certainly knew a good thing when he saw it, encouraged this proclivity!

As an appetizer, take a look at some Cardy covers for that grooviest of all superhero titles--the 1960s Teen Titans, natch--and take note of the recurring motifs (there'll be a quiz later):

Downstage Speedy saves the day!

Easy Riders

Wonder Chick, torn between two covers...a mere issue apart, no less!

J'accuse! (Okay, we're cheating here, 'cause this is a (cover-dated) 1970 Cardy Titans and a (cover-dated) 1971 Adams Avengers, but look how they depict similar scenarios on their covers. Was Adams perhaps a wee bit inspired by the premise of the earlier Cardy cover?

Cardy Covers, Part 2

Now it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway since that's what a blog is for) it was Nick Cardy's Aquaman covers on which the artist was really able to go all out and strut his stuff. Cardy didn't just depict a scene from that month's story; he created tension and ambience. His use of design and pattern and his ability to make every inch of cover space interesting made Adams' "realism"--at times--look prosaic and boring (sorry, Neal!). And Cardy's covers were as inventive as Jim Steranko's, but never cold as Steranko's sometimes were. Why? Well, Cardy was a true draftsman and his gorgeous linework softened any hard edges, resulting in an almost hypnotic effect that drew the reader's eye to the whole--i.e., the drama--instead of just the pieces--the shapes, lines or colors. Gaze at Cardy's covers and you become a participant--not just an onlooker.

See for yourself--here's just a small sampling of Cardy's innovative Aquaman covers. Did this guy have a sense of design or what?!



X marks the spot


A couple of inverted Vs:
Stalagmites as the title. Genius.

Another classic. It's been reported an earlier (rejected) version of Cardy's illustration was even more harrowing.

Thanks again, Sharon! Ol' Groove is looking forward to what ya cook up next!


  1. What no comments! Sharon this is a terriffic piece. Yes, I agree. I LOVE Adams and always loved Steranko's interesting designs, but while admiring their work, I wasn't engaging so directly with the story. Cardy always made me care. Those full page pyschedelic covers were brilliant, and the ones that you don't show due to lack of space too! His 'scratchy' style when inked by himself was so endearing. It spoke of humuility, an artist who looked like he couldn't quite finish his art, if you see what I mean. A deceptively simple style but so lovely. Thanks Nick C.
    Thanks again Sharon,

  2. Thanks, Norman, glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, there were a lot of covers I left out due to space considerations, such as #32...#45...#46...#48...well, you get the idea! And your description of his style being "deceptively simple" is spot-on. Cardy was very underrated.

  3. Wasn't Assembled (both volumes) edited by Van Allen Plexico, from the writings of the "Jarvis-heads" at AvengersAssemble.net?



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