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Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and twenty-six.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out this Magazine Legends Revealed, which takes a look at the claim that Time Magazine was intentionally designing their covers to make it look like subjects on the cover had devil’s horns.
This is a theme week! All the legends today involve, in one way or another, legendary comic book artist Carmine Infantino!!
COMIC LEGEND: Carmine Infantino tried to fire Nick Cardy because Cardy ignored a cover instruction from Infantino.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
Besides being an excellent artist period, Nick Cardy was a particularly prominent cover artist for DC Comics in the late 1960s and early 1970s (after working for the company on various comics since the 1950s).
Here is a quick sampling of some of his work…
As good as Cardy was, he was not without his detractors among DC’s editorial staff (heck, Neal Adams, one of the most quintessential cover artists of all time was not without his detractors among DC’s editorial staff).
Perhaps riffing on that fact, in John Coates’ 2001 book The Art of Nick Cardy, longtime DC editor Julius Schwartz had this to say:
At the time Carmine used to lay out many of the covers for the artists. Well, one day Nick comes into the office to turn in a cover. Carmine looks at it and says, “This is not what I gave you.” Nick says, “Yeah, I know – but it’s better.” Carmine says, “You’re fired!” Nick calmly replies, “Okay” and walks out. I then go into Carmine’s office and the cover really is beautiful. I say, “Carmine, this is great!” He says, “Yeah, I know. Go get Nick!”
It IS true that Infantino would lay out a lot of the covers for DC. It is also true that Infantino has been been extremely vocal over the years in how much he loves Nick Cardy’s work.
So what of the gist of the anecdote?
When the book came out, Cardy was surprised to hear the story from Schwartz, as he did not recall the event and he thought it didn’t sound like Infantino. So at a comic book convention a couple of years later, he went up to Infantino and asked him about it. Infantino denied it ever happen. So both men went to Schwartz, who replied simply “Well, it’s a good story, anyway.”
Cardy and Infantino took this as an admission that he had made it up, and I think that’s fair enough, which is why I’m going with a false here (especially since Schwartz passed away soon afterward, so it’s not like we can check with him to clarify).
Thanks to The Art of Nick Cardy for the original quote and thanks to the great magazine Back Issue for the story of Cardy and Infantino confronting Schwartz about the incident.
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