Tag Archives: Teen Titans

Nick Cardy

nick cardyIf you’re a youngun, you might not know the career of Nick Cardy.  He was one of the very few Golden Agers comic artists still with us until this week, where he passed away at the age of 93.

Nick Cardy was a pillar of DC Comics during my childhood, and a great deal of my love of comics manifested itself while reading comics that he drew.  Especially comics he drew the covers of…

Speedy Teen TitansThis is a couple of pages from the first DC Comic I ever read: Teen Titans #6.  I probably knew who Batman was from the TV show, but I had this comic because Robin was in it.  I was five years old, and Robin and the Teen Titans were HUGE in my life when I was very little.  This sequence, where Speedy shoots at his friends while BLINDFOLDED was incredibly exciting when I was five.   I still own this comic. It’s missing its cover and some of the pages are scribbled on, but I’ve never lost it.

teen titans 14

This comic scared the HELL out of a year later.  Not only does Robin visit the GRAVES of his friends (complete with ghosts!), but for some bizarre reason, he takes off his costume and mask and spends half of the story in his underwear.  It’s such an odd sequence that it stuck in my head for years.

teen titans 16

Then THIS Titans vs. a Giant Book cover came out.  Again, I’m about six years old when I saw this, but something weird happened when I did….I think I understood the difference between a striking and clever composition and regular old comics right then and there.  Cardy was doing something outstanding here and I could recognize it.   Look at that cover, who could MISS it?  I still own my copy of this one, but it has the damn cover.  It’s actually in pretty good shape.  The little kid in me didn’t want that cover harmed in any way.

superman batgirl

In the 70s, when I was about twelve years old, I finally figured out I could subscribe to comic books and get them in the mail!  I think I subscribed to about twenty series, and constantly asked for subscriptions for birthdays and Christmases.  This issue of Superman (with that magnificent Cardy cover) was the first comic book that ever arrived in the mail at my house.  It was folded in half, which I didn’t like, but it was magical to get a new comic book or two at my front door about every other day.   Most of them had Cardy covers.

christmas with superheroes

Speaking of Christmas, long time readers of this blog know my affection for this particular comic book.  I put this Nick Cardy cover up online for all to see every Christmas, and the tradition will likely continue for years to come.   This image is as close to joy in a line drawing as my nostalgic brain can wish for.

girls loveNick Cardy covers were SO good, I bought Romance Comics and other icky girl titles if he did the cover.  I bought this at a convention when I was about fifteen, and my friend actually made fun of me.

batlash 2This gorgeous cover lured me into a lifetime love of Bat Lash.  And he SAVED the West.  Trust me.  Cardy did the interiors on this series and I gobbled up every one.

At this point, I’m going to be quiet, and let you enjoy a treasury of the man’s work.  93 years old is a great run at this planet, and he left us SO much gorgeous comic art.  I envy you folks if you’re seeing any of it for the first time.

action 418

action teeth

aquaman 37 aquaman 50

batlash 4

girls romance love 70

superboy 186 superboy 189

witching hour 4

Thanks Nick.  You were an intimidating inspiration to this aspiring artist when I was growing up.  Every cover I ever draw, I’m conscious of wishing it was half as good as your stuff.

Ty the Guy OUT!

This issue of Teen Titans:

neal titans with nick

 

…was an impossible dream when I was a kid.  Neal Adams wrote the script, and did the layouts and Nick Cardy did the finished art.  Two of my favourite DC artists of all time, working together on the favourite series of my youth.

I own a couple of pages of the original artwork from this issue, given to me (because of a story too long to tell here) by the very generous Neal Adams.  So there’s a little Nick Cardy in my house this very moment, and there always will be.

And then there’s this:

booster 21The very first comic series I worked on professionally for DC featured the aliens introduced in (and not seen since) that issue of Teen Titans by Adams and Cardy.

Cool, huh?

 

New Pages…Seriously.

It’s been a very, very, very long time since I posted any new pages. We’ve been busy rearranging the house, creating a work room, and an area to store all of Ty’s pages. Ty even took a couple of days to sort through a bunch of the pages and organize them. When he first did so he kept bringing pages to show me and announcing, “Wow, I have a lot more good stuff left than I thought!” (He even managed to find his Tailgunner Jo pages which he’d been asked about for quite some time)

Well, that was then…and with artists, what they said and felt on Monday is not what they say and feel on Tuesday, because everything that was amazing on Monday is absolute CRAP on Tuesday and they can’t believe that you think anyone would want to look at it. Not that I’m quoting or anything!

But, I’ve managed to get  TWO (2) whole pages outta the Guy…

These are from the banned Elseworlds special much discussed here and elsewhere…

11″ x 17″, on board, pencilled and inked by Ty Templeton  $300/USD.  If you want ’em, see here for pricing and shipping info, then send an email to tytempletonart@gmail.com.

First up, The Metal Men:

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Here’s the colour version of the Metal Men, given that most of the free world never got to see these pages in print (from Again with the Comics)…

and the Teen Titans

and the colour version:

Keiren

THE TOP SEVEN REBOOTS IN SUPER-HEROES

This blog has weighed in on the Wonder Woman costume re-design, and it got me thinking about how often it’s done, and how often it’s done well.   Later I might offer up the list of the worst re-imaginings in the land of Super-Heroes…but today, in a happy mood, I offer up the best costume changes/ret-cons of our little world.

THE TOP SEVEN SUPER-HERO FRANCHISE REBOOTS

Feel free to disagree.

#7  Legion of Super-Heroes:


In 1972, Dave Cockrum and Cary Bates, took the Fifties-style small town teens from the future and made them the sexy teen swingers of the Seventies.  Then Bates along with Mike Grell turned them into THE comic for teenagers with a libido.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
They went from minor back-up series to pushing Superboy out of his own title within a few months.  See what showing a little more skin can get you, girls?

My favorite “teen” super-hero team ever.  Every now and then, I consider asking the wife to dress up as Seventies Saturn Girl, but that would be wrong.

SATURN GIRL: BEFORE: Wooden and uninteresting. AFTER: Vavoom!

#6 Avengers

Avengers disassemble, and then reassemble, and then we'll have a vote.

With issue 16 we find out that everyone left from the original team is quitting and they’re handing the mansion, and the name “Avengers”, over to a bunch of B-level bad guys as a sort-of “halfway house” for super-villain reform.  They do leave Captain America behind as their keeper, but to be fair, Cap wasn’t an original Avenger either….

So instead of a team with just the “Marvel Big Shots”, it became a team soap opera about the entire Marvel Universe, where anyone could join… reformed villains, minor league players (with canceled titles), big stars like Thor and Iron Man, as well as members of the FF, X-Men, New Warriors, and Defenders, were welcome.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
Check your comic collection and the best-selling sales lists every month and get back to me.

And six zillion other titles out this month

#5 Green Arrow

No matter how much we might retroactively enjoy the Jack Kirby issues of the Golden Age Green Arrow, there’s NOTHING about that character to attract your attention.  He was a cheap ass imitation of Batman–a millionaire crime fighter with an obsessive gimmick and a sidekick- where the writer need only substitute the word “arrow” for “bat” and VIOLA!  You had a Green Arrow story.

Is that the Arrow Signal? Let's hop in the Arrowcar, and leave, trusted boy-assistant!

Arrow-crap, fans.  But then along came Cary Bates and Neal Adams in Brave and Bold #85, fall of #69, and Green Arrow was completely made over.

The start of the "relevant" comics of the Seventies.

He looses his millions.  He becomes a loud-mouthed left wing rant-machine, with a chip on his shoulder for the down and trodden that he’s more or less held onto until this day.  Besides growing a funky beard and silkier threads, the Emerald Archer gained political awareness and was used as a voice for various writers to dig into their liberal or libertarian bent.  It made Green Arrow actually INTERESTING, and he remains that to this day.

Proof the Reboot Worked:

I know people with Green Arrow tattoos, and it’s ALWAYS this version:

What sort of a pussy would tattoo the Golden Age Green Arrow on their body?

#4 Batman

The reboot was a little more than the yellow oval.

For the first thirty years of the Batman franchise, the Caped Crusader  spent MOST of his time fighting giant blenders and oversized pool tables, or aliens with transmutation rays, and time travelers. The Adam West Batman TV show was a faithful reproduction of the Batman comics of the fifties and sixties, not a spoof of them.
But after the big payday provided by that TV show, Bob Kane, the original coordinator of the Batman studios, finally retired and passed the editorial decisions onto DC more directly, and the “New Direction” Batman was born.
At first, the changes were fairly slight, mostly just a yellow oval around the bat-symbol.  But at the start of the Seventies, the team of Denny O’Neil, Frank Robbins, Irv Novick, Dick Giordano and Neal Adams, re-imagined Batman as a scary-as-bat-shit street fighter with a grim attitude about the world.   They dropped Robin off at college, closed up the Batcave, moved downtown into a penthouse apartment, tossed out the Batmobile, and made Joker into a homicidal maniac.  Hmmm…that’s chocolately bat-goodness all the way.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:

Forty years later, which version does the current Batman comic resemble?

#3 SHOWCASE COMICS and the DC SILVER AGE:

Flash/Green Lantern/Atom and the Julie Schwartz revolution.

The rebooting of comics itself for a new generation is often credited to Showcase #4, which introduces the all new FLASH into the modern era with a spiffy new jump suit, and no more goofy helmet.

My wife's favorite Super-hero costume is Green Lantern. Make of that what you will.

It’s quickly followed by Green Lantern’s spiffy new jump suit and no more goofy collar, then the Atom, Hawkman and the Justice League follow quickly behind…all under the watchful eye of editor Julie Schwartz.  As much as I like the quirky old Golden Age versions of all these characters, I doubt I’d be that big a DC fan without the dawn of the Silver Age.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
Fifty years later, you can’t kill these Silver Age versions.  The fans consider them “definitive”, no matter what.  Long periods of oblivion, retirement or dishonor is nothing to these guys, who can come back after mass murder, marital infidelity, suicide, and crumbling bones.

#2 X-Men (Giant Sized X-Men #1) 1975

Behold, the license to print money.

This issue saved the X-Men franchise—five years dead at that point… having had so few fans, it had once been canceled while Neal Adams was drawing it.  Len Wein and Dave Cockrum (again!) created a new generation of X-Men who quickly took over as the definitive X-Men for everyone currently breathing.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
Besides the landslides of money, you mean?  Later on, Marvel tried re-launching the original line-up of X-Men under the name “X-Factor” and fans still preferred the new guys two to one.

Whoops. It turns out the problem was us all along.

PROOF #2:
This worked so well, a couple of years later, Marv Wolfman and George Perez lifted the plot almost scene for scene to reboot the tired out Teen Titans franchise with a new generation of characters.

An entirely original idea, we promise.

#1 Watchmen

Quick quiz: Which one of these is popular?

The Charlton Super-Heroes are purchased by DC and rebooted by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons into the best selling graphic novel of all time.  If  Moore and Gibbons hadn’t killed off so many of the just-purchased trademarked characters in their mini-series, they might have been allowed to use their real names.

PROOF THE REBOOT WORKED:
DC tried their own version of Watchmen, by collecting the original incarnations of the Charlton Heroes together in a mini-series called “THE L.A.W.-Living Assault Weapons” ….No one on Earth read it.

See the blue guy with the atom symbol that looks like he might be Doctor Manhattan? Up above the guy that looks like he might be Rorschach? He's not. And neither is the other guy.

There are many reboots/redesigns that didn’t make the list.  Doctor Who, James Bond, the Wally Wood Daredevil costume, even Wonder Woman herself had a lovely re-imagining at the hands of George Perez, but I start with a limit of seven, and these are my top choices.  If you disagree, I’ll happily refute you in the comments section, but I’m fairly sure I’m right, as it’s my blog and I always win.

Ty the Guy OUT!

TOMORROW:  A preview of the new comic series I’m working on!

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