October 29, 1944
New York City, United States
|Area(s)||Writer, Artist, Inker, Editor|
|Notable works||E-Man, Moonchild, Captain Cosmos, Moonie|
|Awards||Ray Bradbury Award (twice)
Inkpot Award, 2009
Nicola Cuti (b. October 29, 1944), known as Nick Cuti, is an artist and comic book writer-editor, notable for his co-creation of E-Man (with artist Joe Staton) and Moonchild. He has also worked as an animation background designer, magazine illustrator and screenwriter.
In the mid-1960s, Cuti encountered the Warren horror and science-fiction magazines, which prompted him to write and submit a script, "Grub", which was published in Warren's Creepy. Cuti also drew a simple six-panel comic strip for a French friend's fledgling art magazine.
Returning home, Cuti began attending the New York Comic Art Convention and determined to make his future in comics. While employed at the Ralph Bakshi animation studio, he continued to produce scripts for the Warren magazines.
Starting in 1968, he self-published three underground comix featuring his first original character, Moonchild, a big-eyed, buxom innocent waif who had the ability to live in outer space without any life support systems. She was also featured in Mark Estren's book A History of the Underground Comics, in the first underground comic in full color, Weird Fantasies and in several issues of Cheri magazine. She was then published as a three issue miniseries, under the name Moonie, Moonchild the Starbabe, by MU Press with covers, writing, editing, pencils by Cuti and inks and lettering by Dave Simons.
Cuti had long admired the work of comic artist Wally Wood and asked if Wood would look at his portfolio. Cuti did a single-page comic strip featuring Moonwhild but it was never published in Wood's magazine Witzend; however, Cuti eventually became Wood's studio assistant at the Wood Studio in Valley Stream, Long Island. He worked on the strips Cannon and Sally Forth for Wood.
Cuti moved to Florida where he began writing and shooting indie movies for Creature Productions and then for his own company Ni-Cola Entertainment LLC. His big dream was to produce a movie based on his character but he knew it would take a fortune to do Moonie properly and so he shelved the idea.
In 2012, it was announced[where?] that the comic miniseries story "Moonie vs the Spider Queen"would be adapted by Temple of the Cave's Temple Immersive Audio as an AudioDrop, a short-form audio production. It was scheduled for release in April 2012. The production features Tom Nagel and Michael Cornacchia and is scripted and directed by Eric Paul Erickson from the original story by Cuti.
Bill Black, a friend and fellow indie movie maker, had suggested to Cuti that instead of trying to produce a high budget version of Moonchild he should do it in episodes and use each episode as a means to finance the next episode. On September 12, 2012, Cuti began shooting the first episode of a three part movie entitled "Moonie and the Spider Queen, Episode One". The movie starred Nikoma DeMitro as Moonie, Anthony Wayne and William August as the space pilots. The shooting by cinematographer, Wheat, was completed on September 15. It was then edited by Randy Carter and composited with special effects by Stuart Scoon. The movie premiered on 16 August 2013 at the Fetish Convention, held in Tampa Bay and was put on sale on Amazon.com.
In 1972, when he was hired as the assistant to George Wildman, editor of the Charlton Comics in Derby, Connecticut. Charlton was a low-paying outfit that nonetheless produced a 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 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. In less than three years, Cuti produced well over 200 story scripts and text features for Charlton.
In 1973, he teamed with Joe Staton, who collaborated with him in the creation of E-Man, a naive alien superhero who became a cult favorite. The character epitomized Cuti's disdain for the melodramatic, cape-wearing superheroes of other publishers. Cuti and Staton also co-created Michael Mauser, a grubby and uncouth private investigator, who began as an extra in E-Man but was quickly spun off into a series of his own. Both characters survived the implosion of Charlton and continue 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 positions of contributing editor, assistant editor and consulting editor.
During the same period, he taught himself the medium of scratchboard, emulating an artist he admired, Frank Kelly Freas. Cuti developed a realistic scratchboard style in contrast to his inked cartoon style and began selling illustrations to mainstream magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Analog, 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 scripting his own six-part space opera, Spanner's Galaxy, illustrated by Tom Mandrake.
Cuti moved to California in 1986 to begin work for animated TV series, producing background and prop designs for a dozen different studios, including Disney, Sony Pictures and Universal Studios. At the same time, he continued write comic book scripts and create magazine and book art in both scratchboard and paint.
Captain Cosmos, Cuti's homage to the TV space operas of his childhood, appeared in a series of comic books created in collaboration with Staton and also in Cuti's novel, Spin a Web of Death, three radio dramas and three short TV films. Moonchild returned to print in a three-part comic series in 1992 as Moonie, Moonchild the Starbabe and as novels in 2003.
In 2003, Cuti moved to Florida, where he has scripted for independent films—some adapted from his Charlton and Warren scripts—and consolidated his Captain Cosmos TV series into a full-length feature film, Captain Cosmos and the Gray Ghosts. Films produced and written by Cuti include Grub, Shock House, Tagged!, The Lady Without Substance and Moonie and the Spider Queen".
Cuti has written and illustrated text novels with his character "Moonie" as the heroine, Moonie and the Spider Queen (2009) (inks by Dave Simons), Moonie in the Slave Market of Opuul (2010) (inks by Mark Stegbauer),Moonie in Too Many Moons (2010) (inks by Mark Stegbauer) and "Moonie Moonie Goes to War". A fifth novel "Moonie and the Space Pirates" was written by a friend of Cuit's Vic Stonecypher.
- Arndt, Richard J. "Marvel’s Black & White Horror Magazines Checklist" Enjolrasworld.com. Accessed May 4, 2013.
- Wahl, Andrew. "CCI: Nicola Cuti Earns Inkpot Honor," Comic Book Resources, July 23, 2009.
- Interview with Nick Cuti, Digest Comics (August 2008).
- Moonie and the Spider Queen
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2009)|
- Ambrose, Michael (ed.): Charlton Spotlight, issues 1–5, 2005–2007
- Cooke, Jon B. (ed.). Comic Book Artist #9, 2000
- Cooke, Jon B. (ed.). The Warren Companion, 2001
- Estren, Mark James. A History of Underground Comics, 1974, 1986, 1993
- Kennedy, Jay. The Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide, 1982
- Stewart, Bhob (ed.). Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood, 2003
- Personal correspondence with Nicola Cuti, Joe Staton, Mike Zeck, Bhob Stewart, William DuBay, 2003–2007
- Nick Cuti at the Comic Book DB
- Nick Cuti at the Internet Movie Database
- Nicola Cuti at the GCD
- Nick Cuti at the GCD
- Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999: Nick Cuti
- Temple of the Cave Announces Production on Moonie AudioDrop