The Art Of Nick Cardy by John Coates (book review).

Nicholas Viscardi aka Nick Cardy (1920-2013) was a comicbook artist that I rarely came across when young. I think the transition from DC Comics to Marvel, so many titles, not enough pocket money and the absence of credits in the former never joined the dots as to who he was. In recent years, I have come across the odd sketch by Nick Cardy and wanted to see what else he’d done. The enormous bibliography at the back of the book shows a lot and in titles I doubt if I would have picked up at the time even if they were distributed in 1960s UK.

I should point out that the signed 600 limited edition hardback has a colour insert missing in the softcover edition. This shouldn’t stop you enjoying his work as much of Cardy’s work here is pencils or ink/washes anyway. Considering this second edition was released in 2001, I’m more amazed how many are still in circulation of even the hardback.

The colour section is worth its weight, showing Cardy’s comicbook covers and personal work, with many of them with comments. In the interviews, Cardy notes he admires Neal Adams’ action techniques and I can’t help wonder if there was an influence on his ‘Teen Titans’ covers.

The reason for his name change being more to do with the people signing his cheques deliberately misspelling his name and their dislike of Italians. John Coates runs a series of interviews with Cardy about his early life, his WW2 experiences and so on. His move from comicbooks into cinema posters and caricatures that you have to wonder why he didn’t go to the likes of ‘Mad’, although he did work for ‘Crazy’.

Seeing Nick Cardy’s work over his career, he really could do everything and do it well. He even out drew Carmen Infantino when it came to cover design. Although some of publisher Vanguard’s layouts are a bit messy, remember the book is 18 years old and things have moved on a bit since then. There are only a couple books showing Cardy’s work and this one focuses on the range of titles. Looked at overall, Cardy was very versatile turning his hand to whatever was asked of him.

After I put this review on-line, Vanguard publisher David Spurlock got in touch with me saying that the 16 page colour section was common to all three editions of this book. The three editions are: paperback, regular hardcover and deluxe hardcover with 16 bonus pages (the deluxe is often signed &/or in a slipcase). With the latter, it is actually a black and white portfolio at the end of the book. For the life of me, it was only when I looked again that I spotted the title and headers. I think I was focusing more on Cardy’s artwork than titles at that point and it didn’t register. His art really is that good.

I counted the colour section as 16 pages and assumed it would have been the extra that would make it stand out from the softcover which I haven’t seen so could draw no comparison to. We British have a belief that colour sections as being extras and didn’t think beyond that. Oddly, there are more of the hardback editions still out there than the softcover. Whichever edition you get, rest assured, you will see some of Nick Cardy’s work in colour.

GF Willmetts

October 2019

(pub: Vanguard, 2001. 176 page illustrated limited edition large hardback. Price: varies but there are signed editions and softcover versions still out there. You might try The Book Palace for mint signed editions. ISBN: 978-188759-121-8)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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