Edward Cartier: Artist and illustrator who drew for 'The Shadow' and 'Unknown'

Edd Cartier was the last survivor of a remarkable trio of American artists, all three, even more remarkably, born within 31 days of each other in the summer of 1914, and all destined to become renowned for their work during the golden age of fantasy and science fiction from the late 1930s to the 1950s.

One of the three, Virgil Finlay, specialised in horror and science-fiction illustrations, characterised by an almost obsessive use of stipple and a fondness for voluptuous nudes. The pictures of Hannes Bok, meanwhile, a disciple of Maxfield Parrish and a friend of Ray Bradbury, verged on the surreal, especially in his often bizarre use of autumnal colours. Both worked at one time or another for the leading horror pulp Weird Tales.

Cartier eschewed outright horror while at his drawing-board, although he could work up a wonderfully phantasmagorical world of smoke and shadows. His artwork at school outclassed his teachers', and he later enrolled at the Pratt Institute of Fine Arts in Brooklyn, where one of his teachers, Harold Scott, a well-known illustrator himself, pointed him in the direction of the pulps.

At the age of 22, and while still at college, Cartier began working as an illustrator for pulps such as Wild West Weekly and Detective Story Magazine, and then graduated to the post of chief illustrator for "The Shadow", one of the most iconic pulp characters of the 20th century.

The Shadow, crime-fighting hero of a famous radio show (played by Orson Welles in the late 1930s), was also the chief character in The Shadow magazine, mainly written by the professional magician (and erstwhile friend of Harry Houdini) Walter Gibson. A master of disguise, the Shadow roamed the night-enshrouded canyons of Manhattan with a pair of blazing .45 Browning automatics, a billowing cape and the slouchiest of slouch hats: a vengeance figure who dealt death to evil men and spread terror among their minions.

Cartier provided over 800 atmospheric illustrations for The Shadow as well as countless dramatic, action-packed covers, which were hugely influential with his peers, especially those comic-book artists such as Lou Fine, Wally Wood and Will Eisner, whose "The Spirit" strip (released as a film last year by Frank Miller) drew heavily on Cartier's chiaroscurist effects.

At one stage, the artist Norman Rockwell was so taken with Cartier's work that he offered him a job, but the younger artist preferred to plough his own furrow.

However, in 1939 he did succumb to the blandishments of John W. Campbell, the influential editor of Astounding Science Fiction, who was just launching what most commentators consider to be the greatest fantasy magazine of the 20th century. Unknown (later to become Unknown Worlds) worked a vein not of heroic, but of comic fantasy.

Cartier filled its pages not with shadowy horrors but with pixilated elves, potbellied peris and cockeyed monsters in a clean, unfussy style quite unlike his Shadow work. His art perfectly matched that of Campbell's stable of authors such as Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, L. Ron Hubbard and Theodore Sturgeon. Much of Unknown's reputation is owed to this perfect melding of humorously written fantasy and Cartier's superb whimsy.

In 1941 he was drafted into the US army, as a machine-gunner in a tank squadron, and was severely wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, then wounded again on a hospital train which was attacked from the air. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.

After the Second World War, Cartier continued to draw for the pulps (including Doc Savage, home to another American icon) as well as for the newly emerging comic-book industry. In 1953 he was the recipient of a Baccalaureate in Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute and, as the low-paying pulps were dying, he found work in the field of graphic art and design, becoming art director for a major printing company, Mosstype.

Cartier's illustrations, for both The Shadow and Unknown, are now eagerly collected.

Edward Daniel Cartier, artist and illustrator: born North Bergen, New Jersey 1 August 1914; married (two sons); died Ramsey, New Jersey 25 December 2008.

Arts and Entertainment
TV Review: Sabotage, a meltdown and, of course, plenty of sauce
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100'Geography can be tough'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Louis van Gaal looks dejected after Manchester United's 4-0 defeat by MK Dons on Tuesday night
sport
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teacher required with Early Years...

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?