One of the most prolific artists of the 60’s and 70’s was Nick Cardy and yet he receives very little attention. The man churned out 56 Aquaman covers and 43 Teen Titan covers in a row. He had a nice run of Action although that streak was interrupted by Neal Adams and Action Comics #419. For several years, from February 1966-April 1971 he was doing Aquaman and Teen Titans AND random other titles each month. He was a workhorse for DC. Let’s give Nick Cardy some respect for his best work.
Witching Hour #3 (vol. 1) July 1969 – This wonderful cover is all about perspective and mood. As the viewer, you have this high view of the scene where you can take in everything. The two children are scared, trying to see through the mist and the darkness. Their loyal dog is alert and barking about the danger hidden in the tree. The mood is set with drab colors as well as things hidden in shadows and in fog.
House of Secrets #109 (vol. 1) July 1973 – The shocked and frightened facial expressions on the carnival spectator’s faces is hilarious. The sideshow barker is yelling out the verbal hooks to draw everyone into the show. The creature or immortal is partially shown but that adds to the suspense.
Teen Titans #42 (vol. 1) December 1972 – Some of my favorite Cardy covers give a sense of expectation for what happens next, this is one of those covers. The Teen Titans have pulled themselves on a raft in tumultuous water only to be confronted by a gargantuan skull head. The work that he did on the waves and water is amazing.
Bat Lash #2 (vol. 1) January 1969 – Bat Lash isn’t the most popular comic book title but this cover is great. Bat Lash is hiding behind a tombstone with a little girl while being hunted by native Americans. The hunter’s head goes up into the title of this book which draws your attention to his stern, intense face.
Action Comics #425 (vol. 1) July 1973 – If you look at the left side of this cover it looks like an ordinary scene in the city. Kids gathered on a stoop reading a comic book, mom in curlers keeping a watch, their dog, the trash cans, it all works. Then you have this vivid yellow sky and Superman jetting off to rescue someone.
Aquaman #37 (vol. 1) January 1968 – This is a cover swipe from a classic L.B. Cole cover, Catman #31. Cardy put his artistic mark on the swipe by having Aquaman hold Mera with his right hand over her leg. This gives a feeling of cradling her instead of presenting her to the world. Aqualad and the large Walrus look pitiful set against a beautiful pastel background.
Ghosts #5 (vol. 1) June 1972 – The background looks like a quaint village with cobblestone streets and warm lights glowing from a few windows. Descending from the sky skeleton horses are pulling a hearse driven by a cloaked skeleton. The horses look insane and intent on taking this well-dressed man with them. The man in the foreground is petrified, his posture and clothes add to the intensity.
Brave and the Bold #92 (vol. 1) November 1970 – A heavy fog rolled into Gotham, the sky that was visible was a dull grey-green. Batman covered in lights and shadows motioning forward to poor, poor Margo. This is one of those rare comic covers that makes you want to scream, “He’s behind you, Batman.” Great cover with fun action. (unless you’re poor, poor Margo)
Aquaman #42 (vol. 1) December 1968 – Black Manta has Aquaman heaved over his head with an ominous light emitting from below giving the entire scene an eerie look. Even the jagged yellow and orange letters that rise and fall with the sea floor add to the drama.
Teen Titans #17 (vol. 1) October 1968 – Mad Mod is the definition of 1968 which is when this book was released. He is rocking long hair, a plaid jacket, and an ascot. Keep this on the lowdown but there are rumors that Fred from Scooby-Doo would routinely borrow his ascots and not return them. That’s just wrong. 🙂 Anyway, this cover captures a silhouetted cityscape in opposition to the bold colors of Mad Mod looming over London.
With Nick Cardy, there could be many more Teen Titan and Aquaman covers included in this list but for variety, I searched his entire body of work. Did I miss a cover that you love?
by Ron Cloer