Friday, May 21, 2010

The Classics - Showcase #76

It's always fun - and a bit intimidating - to meet the people who create comic books.

It's great to meet the talented men and women who have given you so much reading enjoyment over the years - but I have to admit, I always struggle with what to say to them.

At comics conventions, I always feel like an idiot stammering out something like, "You're awesome," so often I don't say anything at all - I'm just happy to see them and sit in on their panel discussions.

But one of those creators I've been lucky enough to meet - and have a actual conversation with - is Nick Cardy, who's not only an incredibly talented artist and writer, but also one of the nicest guys around.

At a recent Heroes Con in Charlotte, N.C., a friend and I were talking to Nick in the artist's alley, and he was telling wonderful stories - suddenly he stopped and said, "I'm sorry guys, here I am telling stories and you have a convention to see." As if he were bothering us (when it was more likely the other way around)! My friend and I laughed and said, "Are you kidding? We'd stand here all day if you'd let us!"

Which brings us to this issue of Showcase, which I picked up at that con (its original cover date is August 1968). I've always admired Nick's work, but I knew him from his art on Teen Titans and numerous DC covers - somehow I missed one of his favorite creations, Bat Lash.

It's an oversight I've tried to correct in the years since, although I didn't realize this was the first issue until I received the recent DC Showcase collection for Christmas (thanks, son)!

Bat Lash was one of the few attempts to do something original with a Western comic. The main character wasn't particularly heroic or even much of a good guy - he was more interested in self-preservation and the finer things in life - including beautiful women (and few artists are in Cardy's class when it comes to drawing beautiful, sexy ladies).

This story centers around Bat's attempt to get a decent meal in a town overrun with bad men - and how he cleans up the town in spite of himself. It's an entertaining story with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

You can tell Cardy was having a blast working on this comic - the art is even more detailed and lovingly rendered than usual, loaded with creative, dynamic layouts, a great comic flair, loads of character "actors," and did I mention lots of beautiful women?

It's no wonder this series is held in such high regard - it's a high point for both DC and Cardy himself - outstanding work from a master at the top of his game.

I'd love it even if he wasn't such a great guy. Thanks, Nick!

Grade: A+


Kyle said...

I can't wait to dig into my Showcase collection (I got mine as a Christmas gift also! ha!).

I know the feeling on meeting a favorite creator, I felt like an idiot talking to Mike Mignola, but he ended telling me how he felt the same way the first time he met Michael Moorcock... ha! Also had a nice conversation with Larry Hama, ended up talking about his guest spot on MASH and how he still gets tiny royalty checks... It's pretty neat meeting a creator you admire and find out they are a pretty nice guy to boot... :)

Chuck said...

Kyle, I agree completely, and while I've heard stories about meetings with comics creators who ended up being not so nice, I have to say that the dozens (and dozens) of writers and artists and editors I've met have all been exceptionally nice, generous with their time and fun to be around. But I still never know what to say to them (aside from the ones I've been lucky enough to actually become friends with).

Ed Catto said...

Great comic and a heartwarming story too!