Category Archives: brave and the bold

Nick Cardy 1920-2013

A big chunk of my comics childhood has passed away. Nick Cardy, born Nicolas Viscardi, was perhaps the first influential artist on Aquaman and Teen Titans, but most importantly, he illustrated almost every DC Comics cover in the early 1970s. To me, Nick Cardy’s versions of the DC superheroes were the definitive versions, as those were the ones I saw all throughout my childhood, and even on the covers of books I didn’t read. And he was damn good. Nick Cardy passed away this weekend.

Here is the official press release from DC Comics:

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Nick Cardy, one of the industry’s greatest artists. A talented draftsman with a knack for layout and energetic cover design, Cardy’s art leapt off the page and helped redefine some of DC Comics’ most lasting characters for a new age.

“Like many early comic pros, Cardy began his career working under the tutelage of the legendary Will Eisner, as part of the Eisner and Iger studio. But it was his arrival at DC Comics in 1950 that saw the artist begin to show signs of the legend that would soon form around him.

“Cardy’s smooth line and dynamic sense of action graced the first appearance of the Teen Titans in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #60, not to mention almost 40 issues of AQUAMAN during the character’s initial Silver Age solo series.

“Cardy continued his relationship with DC’s teen team for the entirety of TEEN TITANS 43-issue Silver Age run, redefining the collection of sidekicks through his innovative and yet still classical brushstroke, with a dash of post-modernist design and 60s swagger.

“Cardy was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2005.

“We’ve lost one of the artistic pillars here at DC,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “Nick’s work on Aquaman, Teen Titans and beyond helped define how we look at these characters today. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and many fans.”

“Nick Cardy was a wonderful artist and person, but I’ll always remember his amazing covers,” said Dan DiDio, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher. “From the classic “Is This My Foe?” AQUAMAN #42 image that featured a victorious Black Manta hoisting Aquaman above him to the first appearance of the Teen Titans, Cardy just knew how to get a reader’s attention – and that is a talent that can never be understated. He was my definitive DC cover artist for the 60s.”

“Nick Cardy’s work helped define some of the things we see in comics today and take for granted,” said Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher. “He broke out of the mold in terms of covers and layout and created a truly interactive experience for the reader that directly points back to his time with the Eisner studio. His versions of Aquaman, the Teen Titans and Bat Lash – to name a few – remain iconic today. Our sympathies go out to his family during this difficult time.”

When I think of the Teen Titans, I think not of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’ wonderful New Teen Titans, I think of Nick Cardy’s Titans. The heroes of the comic my big sister read, on which I learned to read, the ones that even taught me about Shakespeare, and slavery, and the Civil War, and the civil rights movement. We have lost a comics legend, and I have lost a piece of my childhood.

To see a few more of Nick Cardy’s covers, check out my Tumblr here.

This Week’s All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ – All Things Fun! – co-hosts Ed (next register please) Evans, Allison (new spider-girl) Eckel and Glenn (squirrel boy) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Welcome back Allison, Dan Slott’s Spider-Island, the Fear Itself comics of the week, Teen Titans #99, Green Lantern status quo, The Batcave featuring Detective Comics #881, Red Robin and sorry, Batgirl.

The discussion continues in segment two including: The ATF! Midnight Release Party, the Flashpoint comics of the week, including Captain Cold coolness, wuss Dick Grayson, and wassup with Frankenstein, There’s Something About Mera, ABC TV projects, Ed’s leftovers, The Trial of the Flash, Ed’s trades and toys, and Glenn does four comics in ten seconds.

In our special summer third segment with Thomas, the All Things Fun! Kids Vidcast features a kid’s opinions on comics and toy-related genres. This segment includes his thoughts on: All New Batman The Brave and the Bold #10, the perils of henching, Ocean Master’s wardrobe, SpongeBob Comics #4, don’t draw in Allison’s comics, Super Friends, Strawberry Shortcake #1, Mega Man #4, Pokemon Black and White manga, Spider-Man caps and Sonic schoolbags.

Be sure to check out the All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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Aquaman Returns

My friend Rob Kelly is a guy with a lot of passion. Whether it’s his work or his hobbies, he puts everything he has into it. Case in point – his brainchild the Aquaman Shrine. His love and respect for the Aquaman character knows no bounds and his passion to see Aquaman get the props he deserves is phenomenal.

When the sea king, in his most classic and recognizable form, was set to return in the pages of The Brave and the Bold, Rob set up a campaign to make sure as many folks as possible were both aware of and ordered the issue. Even here at Welcome to Hell I supported the effort.

Yesterday Brave and the Bold #32 came out, featuring the classic Aquaman and Jack Kirby’s The Demon, and here’s my review…

Writer J. Michael Straczynski has been rolling throughout time and space in the DC Universe with his tales in Brave and the Bold, and this issue marks the subtitle on the cover ”Lost Stories of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” to further ensure he wouldn’t be hindered by continuity. Sometimes the complicated soap opera mythology of comics gets in the way of telling stories. If you want to read good stories and worry about that tangled mess – JMS’ Brave and the Bold is for you.

This issue, illustrated by frequent collaborator Jesus Saiz, is no different. This done-in-one story brings the classic Aquaman together with The Demon to stop a decidedly Lovecraftian elder entity from entering our dimension. An excellent short story, “Night Gods” tells the tale of Whitford Crane who is trying to find out if he’s insane or not by digging up his friend’s grave. When captured he relates the story from his point of view. The first two pages have the feel of the old 1970s DC horror comics. I could almost see the Phantom Stranger appearing next, but instead it’s the rather odd pairing of Aquaman and the Demon.

The unlikely duo get together once a year to stop this invasion of an elder god into our world, and poor Whitford is stuck in the middle. While Lovecraft is more in the Demon’s field, the focus is actually more on Aquaman. As a man of the sea himself, Crane has a healthy respect for Aquaman, and his narration lovingly paints him as the dynamic hero he is. The sea king’s underwater fighting prowess and especially his telepathic powers are displayed breathtakingly.

I agree with Rob wholeheartedly that this is the Aquaman we want, and hopefully sales on this issue should tell DC Comics how much we feel this. And even if you’re not an Aquaman fan, or even a comics fan, Brave and the Bold demonstrates what good storytelling is all about. Definitely check it out. Highly recommended.

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The Brave and the Bold #32 Event

In February DC Comics’ Brave and the Bold features a tale of the classic and very-much-alive Aquaman by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Jesus Saiz. Friend Rob Kelly of The Aquaman Shrine is putting together an effort to let the powers that be that we want more of this, in other words – Bring Back Aquaman, the real Aquaman!

Catch Rob’s efforts here, here and especially here, with an interview with J. Michael Straczynski. And if you are in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area and would like to pre-order your copy of Brave and the Bold #32, check out All Things Fun! page here.

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Bat-Mite Strikes Again

Cartoon Network’s hit series “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” will be taking a ride on the crazy train soon. The program, which features an old school Batman teaming up with various other superheroes to fight crime and defeat costumed baddies, welcomes a few familiar names back onto the small screen on May 29th.

Paul Dini, who was instrumental in the ongoing creation of Fox’s award-winning “Batman: The Animated Series” during the 1990s, comes on board to write a special episode featuring another name from the past, Bat-Mite!

In the episode titled “Legends of the Dark-Mite!” Bat-Mite (voiced by Paul Reubens AKA Pee-Wee Herman) kidnaps Batman and takes him to the Fifth Dimension where hilarity literally ensues. Lots of old school versions of Batman’s enemies show up to the party as well, with more than one nod to the Looney Tunes cartoons of yesteryear. Don’t miss it!

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Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Had enough of the psychotic sociopath dark knight version of Batman? Yeah, me too. Well, Cartoon Network might have something coming up in the new season that might just please those of us in the supposed minority – “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”

The series takes its name from the old DC Comics title of roughly the same name. Brave and the Bold was originally a try-out title, launching such comics as Justice League of America, Suicide Squad and Hawkman. It soon morphed into a team-up book, and still later in the early 1970s into the Batman team-up book. The series, highlighted by stories from Bob Haney and at by Jim Aparo, was a fan fave as the caped crusader teamed with frequent guest-stars like Wildcat, Green Arrow, Sgt. Rock and even the Joker. The new TV series isn’t far from that original concept.

Here’s how Cartoon Network describes it: “Batman isn’t going at it alone this time! From Warner Bros. Animation comes the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise. Our caped crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universe, delivering nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief. Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless others will get a chance to uphold justice alongside Batman. Though still based in Gotham, Batman will frequently find himself outside city limits, facing situations that are both unfamiliar and exhilarating. With formidable foes around every corner, Batman will still rely on his stealth, resourcefulness and limitless supply of cool gadgets to bring justice home.”

The happier shinier Batman is voiced by Dietrich Bader formerly of “The Drew Carey Show,” and is joined by Tom Kenney as Plastic Man (who also portrayed the hero in a Plas animated pilot a couple years back), fan favorite Wil Wheaton as the new Blue Beetle, John DiMaggio (Bender of “Futurama”) as Aquaman, and in a bit of inspired casting, R. Lee Ermey as Wildcat. Tom Everett Scott and Billy West will also reprise their “Justice League Unlimited” roles of Booster Gold and Skeets.

The cartoon will have a real retro-feel to it, sort of a cross between the 1966 camp “Batman” TV series and the world’s greatest detective stories by Haney/Aparo in Brave and the Bold comics. This even shows up in design. Aquaman is in his old costume while still sporting his more recent beard. Green Arrow wears his old costume as well, but with a New Frontier-esque flair. Some characters, like the Red Tornado, are familiar yet new designs.

We even see a selection of old school villains long since lost in the shadows behind Batman’s more psychotic enemies. There will be such oddities as Calendar Man, the Cavalier, Kite-Man, Clock King and the Zebra-Man, as well as more traditional super-foes like Kanjar Ro, Gorilla Grodd, Black Manta, Ocean Master, the Gentleman Ghost and the Emerald Empress.

On the hero side in the team-up department we’ll also see Doctor Fate, Kamandi, Metamorpho, the Atom, Deadman, Black Canary, Adam Strange, Fire, Guy Gardner, Jonah Hex, the Green Lantern Corps, the Flash, the Huntress, the Justice Society of America, and yes, even Bat-Mite and Ace the Bathound. And if that ain’t old school, I don’t know what is.

“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” premieres on Cartoon Network on November 14th.