Nick Cardy’s Romantic Side

« In YOUNG LOVE, how can people talk when they kiss? My mom can’t talk when she’s kissing. Can you? I am nine years old. » — Mary K, an astute young reader

It’s recently occurred to me that, in a year-and-a-half of posting, I’ve utterly neglected to feature one of my favourite artists, Nick Cardy (1920-2013); I suppose he’s been easy to take for granted, as he was DC’s main cover artist during most of Carmine Infantino‘s management years (1967-1976).

Much has been made, in various forums, of Cardy’s covers for Aquaman, the Superman titles, The Teen Titans, the Mystery books, and so on. I figured I’d have to dig a bit deeper. Cardy, ex aequo with the even more underappreciated Bob Oksner, was arguably DC’s primo portrayer of feminine pulchritude, and what I’d seen of his artwork for DC’s romance line was pretty stunning. It just turned out that there was far less of it than I had assumed.

DC’s romance books were sadly treated as the proverbial Siberia of the company’s roster. How else might one explain calling upon top illustrative talent, the likes of Jay Scott Pike, John Rosenberger, Ric Estrada, Werner Roth … then taking these fine men’s work and slathering it with wall-to-wall Vince Collettafinishes. We’ll return to this topic, naturally. This time around, we’ll showcase the sentimental side of Mr. Cardy. He seems to have produced fewer than thirty covers for the romance line (not counting a handful of gothics he did), of which I’ve retained an even dozen. I’m reserving a handful for an eventual thematic post, plus one that Colletta “fixed” (in the criminal, rather than useful, sense.)

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Falling in Love no. 115 (Feb. 1970), edited by Murray Boltinoff.
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Falling in Love no. 119 (Nov. 1970), edited by Murray Boltinoff. Something tells me Mr. Older Generation is holding a pipe off-panel.
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« Goodbye, and as my sister once said, good riddance! » This great Nick Cardy cover puts an attractive spin on an issue unfortunately marred by the omnipresent and indigestible Vinnie Colletta sauce over half the stories. Poor Ric Estrada and Werner Roth! Girls’ Romances enjoyed a healthy 160-issue run from 1950 and 1971. This is number 144 (Oct. 1969).
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« Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots. » – Unknown purveyor of sage quips –  This is Girls’ Love Stories no. 139 (Nov. 1968) Edited by Jack Miller. Inside: The Only Man for Me, illustrated by Ric Estrada, How Could He Stop Loving Me?, by Tony Abruzzo, a Mad Mad Modes for Moderns from Jay Scott Pike, a reprint from 1963, Kiss Me If You Dare, by John Romita, Sr. and Bernard Sachs, and our cover story, She’s Young, Beautiful–and Alone! … Why?, illustrated by John Rosenberger.
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Girls’ Love Stories no. 143 (May 1969), edited by Joe Orlando, who couldn’t be less suited to the genre.  Cover wise, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I  suppose, but I adore Cardy’s expressive, roughly organic inks. Still totally in control!
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Girls’ Love Stories no. 148 (Jan. 1970), edited by Joe Orlando.
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Girls’ Love Stories no. 151 (May, 1971), edited by Joe Orlando.
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Interesting, given that these were the prime days of women’s lib, how little actual sisterhood was in evidence in these comics. Too many *male* cooks, surely. Girls’ Romances no. 147 (Mar. 1970), edited by Murray Boltinoff. Carmine Infantino‘s fingerprints are all over this particular layout… which is more than fine: he’s a master.
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This is Super DC Giant no. S-17 (Sept.-Oct. 1970), “edited” by Dick Giordano. Despite comprising nothing but crappy reprints, the scarce item will cost you a pretty penny if you can find it in decent condition. Here’s its only worthy selling point, Mr. Cardy’s cover, of course.
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Talk about a question that provides its own answer… this is Young Love no. 74 (May-June, 1969). Edited by Dick Giordano (who lost the bet that month). Cardy’s Alex Toth-ish side rises to the surface.
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Young Romance no. 157 (Dec. 1968 – Jan. 1969), edited by Joe Orlando. Never was the “Have a Fling With…” tag more appropriate… and more disturbing. « Oh, Ann-Margret‘s your mom? »
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Young Romance no. 163 (Dec. 1969 – Jan. 1970), edited by Joe Orlando. YR, as you may know, was the original romance comic book, created way back in 1947 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Things improved near the end of the series’ run, when Simon briefly returned to ride it into the sunset.

-RG

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