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CSBG Archive

I Can’t Cover What I Am – A Variety of Some of the Best Covers of Nick Cardy, One of the Greatest Comic Book Cover Artists of All-Time

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In this feature, I spotlight comic book covers that follow a specific theme. Here is an archive of all the cover themes we’ve spotlighted so far.

Today we look at a variety of some of the best comic book covers of Nick Cardy, one of the greatest comic book cover artists of all-time. We lost Cardy earlier today at the age of 93.

Enjoy his greatness!

I limited myself to three covers of each book or else it would just be too damned difficult. And imagine if Cardy hadn’t been forced to draw covers during the period when DC had those 100 page comics where the main cover image had to be tiny so that the cover could fit in drawings representing all of the reprinted stories in the book! We’d have so many other classics to look at.

There are so many covers here I’m splitting them over two pages so it won’t take too long to load.














































Go to the next page for more Cardy covers, including three of his classic Teen Titans covers (it was SO hard to pick just three Teen Titans covers!).

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Unfortunately the very first comic pictured sports a cover by Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson, not Cardy.

Not to speak ill of the dead… oh, what the hell…might as well: Cardy drew only one girl. On occasion, the hair color would change, but other than that– same girl every time! Still, he was responsible for some well-loved material. RIP (reprints into perpetuity).

Unfortunately the very first comic pictured sports a cover by Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson, not Cardy.

Yeah, sorry, file error mistake. Fixed now!

Look at that JLA #102 cover. Everybody else is just posing. But look at Batman and Wonder Woman. Something is going on there. Not a lot of artists can put that kind of characterization in one glance.

These are amazing, but no Teen Titans?? Those are my favorite. You could do a follow-up post spotlighting just the Titans covers.

There were so many pieces, Matt, that I split it up over two pages so it would load faster (87 covers in total with me limiting myself to 3 covers per title – damn, Cardy drew a LOT of covers!).

Wonder Girl getting yanked into the pages of a book. Gotta post that one.

That was exactly the cover I was referring to when I meant that picking just three Teen Titans covers was just brutal.

These are some great covers. I was not familiar with Cardy until now, and it looks like I was missing out. So sad when we loose such a talent.

I gotta say though, the subject of dead heroes seems to come up a lot. Particularly Aquaman. So much dead Aquaman.

Ah, now I see. Looking good.

I’m not really all that familiar with 60s-70s DC but holy cow are these covers good. Those romance covers sure featured a lot of tears, though…

These are some great covers. I was not familiar with Cardy until now, and it looks like I was missing out. So sad when we loose such a talent.

I gotta say though, the subject of dead heroes seems to come up a lot. Particularly Aquaman. So much dead Aquaman.

Cardy definitely got a bit morbid in the late 1960s/early 1970s when he began doing a TON of horror covers. His superhero covers got a lot darker.

Oh my god I want every one of these. So amazing. I hadn’t even realized that some of the romance comics existed!

And dang, how did that Superboy one with Pa Kent hanging pass the Code?


Christmas With The Super-Heroes is my favorite. The Phantom Quarterback is probably the runner-up.

RIP, Nick Cardy. Truly one of the greats.
These and the Teen Titans covers in the other post are all quite spectacular, but I have to say, I think my favorites are the Bat Lash and romance covers. Simply beautiful.

I’d never heard of Nick Cardy, and these are all before my time, but they are great covers.

I’ll never understand the trend at the turn of the century, esp. at Marvel, to print generic pin-up covers all over the place. No clue what the story was about, no curiosity aroused.

These Nick Cardy covers show just how effective a proper “sneak-preview” type image can be, as I’d be tempted to pick any one of these off the rack just to flip through, at least. Great stuff.

Joseph Tages (Clutch)

November 4, 2013 at 6:30 am

So goes another legend… Nick Cardy is now one for the ages.

Neal Adams’ contemporary work displayed more pizzazz, but Nick Cardy could still equal Neal’s output in any given genre. Those 70’s JLA covers of his alone, by God…

Amazing stuff.

dhole, so agree. Silver/Bronze Age covers really worked to grab you by the throat.
Cardy’s internal Aquaman work was good too. Bat Lash (I’m reading the Showcase) is almost slapstick (sometimes I wonder if Bat Lash plotter Sergio Aragones didn’t do some of the art).

[…] assembled some of his most memorable covers here. And then posted a tribute to his Teen Titans covers […]

I can’t see how anyone walking past a comics rack could pass up picking up and looking through that issue #8 of The Spectre. Wow, what a “grab you” cover!
R.I.P. Mr. Cardy.

Nick Cardy was truly one of the greats. I can’t think of anyone currently active in comics that could do those horror-tinged superhero covers. It was the take on the DCU that I fell in love with and yet I had no idea that it all came from one man until a couple years ago.

I’ve loved the cover to JLA 103 since I was a kid… but if I’m going to single one out here it’s Aquaman #42. That’s some seriously ahead-of-its-time-especially-at-DC art and design.

That cover to Aquaman 42 is really incredible. I had never seen it before you posted it in a memorable DC covers entry a while back, but since then it’s been one of my favorites. Those Spectre covers are also pretty amazing.

Almost all of these are breathtakingly stunning. Nick Cardy really was an amazing artist. I agree with everyone about the awesomeness of the Aquaman #42 cover. And how about From Beyond The Unknown #23, with the gorilla robbing the library at gunpoint?!? Just makes you want to dig furiously through the back issue bins at the next comic book convention you go to just so you can find out what the heck that story is about. That is such a lost art. So many comics over the last decade and a half are nothing more than glorified pin-up images that leave you clueless to the interior contents, and lacking in any curiosity to find out. But Cardy was definitely one of those artists who knew how to draw a compelling cover that DEMANDED you buy the book.

These are all pretty amazing, but I especially love his work on the Horror/Mystery titles. If I saw any of those on the stand I’d want to buy them.

I’m with dhole and Ben Herman in not being a fan of all the boring pin-up covers we seem to get nowadays. About 10 years ago at Marvel was the worst of this, where every cover seemed to just be a pin-up and give you no clue what was inside. Plus, it made all the issues run together in my mind, so often if I wasn’t sure I had something I’d just pass on it instead of risking buying something twice. As a kid most of the titles I ended up collecting were because one cover initially got my attention. Things have gotten a little better recently. I started buying both X-Men legacy and fearless Defenders solely based off of the awesome covers, and have enjoyed both titles.

@fraser: Actually, I remember hearing that Aragones actually “wrote” Bat Lash by drawing out the panels in rough sketches.

There are a handful of covers here I’ve never seen before. Such an amazing body of work! We’ve lost so many of the industry’s giants in the past couple of years… it’s a damn shame.

It’s seriously time for a DC UNIVERSE BY NICK CARDY HC series.

Toozin, thanks.
Regarding Aquaman, I think #32 (http://www.dcindexes.com/features/database.php?site=dc&pagetype=comic&id=2827) is a great example of You Must Buy This!!!! cover art.

I always loved that Legion 204 cover, even though the poor man’s shadow is holding up a different hand than pictured in the foreground!

It’s been said above, but man, those horror covers. So amazing. I have some friends who are really big into old-school horror comics that I’ll have to share some of these with. They mainly go for the pre-code stuff, but these covers are just as, if not more, evocative.

I believe the “dead heroes” covers came from Editor Carmine Infantino, rather than artist Cardy, as many non-Cardy covers from the same period bore the same theme. Evidently Infantino thought they sold better than any other kind.

Cardy was channeling a lot of subtleties to making great covers–I once heard Steranko mention that an attractive and dynamic image is formulated in the general shape of a letter. You can definitely see that in Cardy’s work; it’s filed with tons of images where the eye flows diagonally. It’s very visually interesting. I haven’t come across him before, which makes me especially sad that the community’s lost him.

[…] covers at Sequential Crush, or to Brian Cronin’s collection of his Teen Titan covers, and his general covers. And here’s one of my favorites: (rights to all covers reside with current […]

Wow, what an incredible talent! I loved so many of those covers and those issues! A real loss to the comics world.

Nick Cardy was nearing the end of his time as DC’s go-to guy for cover art when I first started reading comics as a wee li’l Dave-El and I was always impressed by the dynamism and energy his art expressed. Nick’s depiction of action and speed were extraordinarily effective, his layouts and designs were always eye catching and he knew how to deliver darkness and drama. Nick’s cover to Action Comics#440 was one of my favorites and captured all his best qualities in one illustration. As I discuss here (http://imsogladmysufferingamusesyou.blogspot.com/2013/11/that-dc-cover-guy-look-back-at-nick.html), Nick’s covers were a key element in drawing the attention of this budding comic book fan.

[…] Nick Cardy Cover Gallery: A Tribute to One of the Greatest Ever (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com) […]

Another piece of my childhood – gone. 93 years is a good run for any person and I’m glad to have bought many of these comics on the strength of the cover alone. I regret never meeting him at a Con and thanking him for all the hard work and memories. RIP Master Cardy and thanks.

Sometime fairly soon, IDW will be publishing an “Artist’s Edition” full of covers, shot from the originals. I hope that they’ll include a generous sampling of Cardy. Certainly they scanned the twenty or so that I had here. I also had the opportunity to be inked by Nick three times on a cover (DEADBEATS #50) and on two specialty drawings. He was a huge talent and a great guy.

[…] First of all, Nick Cardy died on Sunday. I know and appreciate his work from the Teen Titans issues that I have. CBR put together a bunch of Cardy covers–check them out. […]

Serious question, not just rhetorical: Why wasn’t Cardy a bigger deal? I just can’t see why he wasn’t a bigger name. He was so good. Was he slow, like Art Adams? Was he on low-selling books? Did he do covers far more than interiors? Is it because he worked primarily at DC at a point where Marvel was dominating the industry? People like Cardy, and also Garcia-Lopez, I can’t get why they aren’t mentioned as often as other Silver-Age names like Neal Adams, Kirby, Ditko, and Buscema.

The “problem” is that he was SUCH a good cover artist that by the mid-1970s he had moved past comic books to do work on film posters as most of his skills as a comic book cover artist translated wonderfully to movie posters, as well.

But as to why he wasn’t bigger before that, I would imagine that it likely was the lack of interior work on major series. None of his regular DC assignments were on major books. He drew Congo Bill, Legend of Daniel Boone, Aquaman and Teen Titans. Not exactly a Murderer’s Row of hit titles, ya know?

Spectre #8 should have been used for one of the New 52 3-D covers.

[…] this week. Brilliance doesn’t even begin to cover his work, if you’re unfamiliar, check out this rundown of some of his greatest […]

T., Garcia-Lopez was another wonderful artist. I agree he should be better known.

[…] notes/links: A Look At The Best Covers By Nick Cardy Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD to Tie-In to Thor: The Dark World Jackman, Mangold In Sequel Talks […]

some wonderful covers from a great artist..
I have to know…
What is…the secret of the Man Ape?


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