Nicola Cuti ("Nick" for personal use), comic-book artist, comic book writer, animation background designer, magazine illustrator and film script writer, grew up in Brooklyn, where as a boy he immersed himself in Golden Age comic books of the pre-Comics-Code era and the early "space opera" TV shows, such as "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" and "Captain Video." In the mid-1960s, while serving with the Air Force in Europe, he encountered the Warren graphic horror and science-fiction magazines, and was inspired to write and submit a story script, "Grub," which was accepted and eventually illustrated and published in Warren's "Creepy" magazine. Cuti also drew a simple six-panel comic strip for a French friend's fledgling art magazine. Both events were to shape his future. Returning home, Cuti began attending the New York Comic Book Art Conventions initiated by the late Phil Sueling, and determined to make his future in comics. He associated with other young artists such as Vaughn Bode, Trina Robbins and Bill Pearson, worked for a time in the animation studios of Ralph Bakshi, another former Brooklyn kid, and continued to produce scripts for the Warren magazines. He also self-published three underground comics featuring his first original character, "Moonchild," a buxom, big-eyed and innocent waif of outer space. "Moonchild Comics" sold well in the "head shops" of that era, and are now collectors’ items. Cuti had long admired the work of legendary comic artist Wallace Wood, and on impulse phoned him asking permission to show him his portfolio. Wood saw promise in the youngster's naive drawings, and Cuti eventually became Wood's studio assistant at Wood Studio in Valley Stream, Long Island. He worked there with his friend and mentor until 1972, when he was hired as the assistant to George Wildman, editor of the Comics Division of Charlton Publications in Derby, Connecticut. Charlton was a hardscrabble, low-paying outfit that nonetheless produced a tremendous variety of comic book genres from 1946 until its demise in 1986, even after most publishers had long since turned to a steady diet of "superhero" titles. Cuti immediately began turning out scripts for Charlton's horror and fantasy titles, working with artists such as Steve Ditko, Don Newton, Wayne Howard and Tom Sutton. He recruited younger artists such as John Byrne and Mike Zeck, who began freelancing for Charlton and illustrated some of Cuti's stories. All told, Cuti produced well over 200 story scripts and text features for Charlton, in a little less than three years. In 1973, he teamed up with Joe Staton, another young artist, who collaborated with him in the creation of "E-Man," a naive alien superhero who epitomized Cuti's disdain for the melodramatic, cape-wearing superheroes of the other publishing houses. E-man became a cult favorite among comics cognoscenti. Cuti and Staton also co-created "Michael Mauser," a grubby and uncouth little private investigator who began as an extra in "E-Man" but was quickly spun off into a series of his own stories. Both characters survived the implosion of Charlton, and have remained popular enough to continue appearing at intervals up to the present, with Cuti and Staton collaborating on one-shots and series of new "E-Man" and "Michael Mauser" comics and stories. Cuti left Charlton in 1976 and went back to work for Warren, producing more than 100 story scripts for Warren's horror and fantasy magazines, until that company's demise in the early 1980s. At various times he held the titles of Contributing Editor, Assistant Editor and Consulting Editor, and twice was awarded Warren’s Ray Bradbury Award for writing. In the same period, he taught himself the demanding medium of scratchboard, emulating another artist he admired, Kelly Freas. Cuti developed a "realistic" scratchboard style in contrast to his inked "cartoony" style, and began selling illustrations to mainstream magazines such as Amazing Stories and Heavy Metal.
After he left Warren, Cuti became an assistant editor and then digest editor at DC Comics, handling various superhero and children's titles, and also scripting his own six-part space-opera epic, "Spanner's Galaxy," illustrated by Tom Mandrake.
Cuti moved to California in 1986 to begin work in the animation industry, producing background and prop art for about a dozen different studios, including Disney and Universal, for many animated TV series.
At the same time, he continued to produce magazine and book art in both scratchboard and paint, and wrote comic book scripts for various publishers. "Captain Cosmos," Cuti's homage to the TV space-operas of his childhood, appeared in a series of comic books created in collaboration with Joe Staton, and also in Cuti's novel, "Spin a Web of Death," three radio dramas, and three short films made for television. The first of Cuti's memorable creations, Moonchild, also returned to print, appearing in two three-part comic series in 1992 and 2003. Cuti moved to Florida in 2003, where he has devoted himself to script writing for independent films--some adapted from his Charlton and Warren scripts--and consolidating his "Captain Cosmos" TV series into a full-length movie. New "Moonchild"("Moonie") and "Captain Cosmos" comics also are underway.
Date of Birth:
October 29, 1944
New York, NY
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