Blue Beetle, by Charles Nicholas

Charles Nicholas Cuidera was a native of Newark, New Jersey. He attended the Pratt Institute, and graduated in 1939. Afterwards, he started his career at Fox Comics, working under Joe Simon. His first job was working with the early superhero 'Blue Beetle', which he signed with Charles Nicholas. Most of his work at the time was done through Will Eisner's shop. Cuidera moved over to Quality Comics in 1942, where assisted on 'Spirit' sections and helped create 'Blackhawk'. Cuidera drew the first eleven stories that ran in Military Comics before heading off to war. He served as a commando in the 36th Infantry Division's 143rd Regiment, while 'Blackhawk' was continued by Reed Crandall.

Blackhawk, by Chuck Cuidera

Back in civil life, Cuidera was assigned to a feature called 'Captain Triumph', and also returned on the 'Blackhawk' feature, although this time mainly as inker. Eventually, he became art director at Quality, where he became known as the "Drill Sergeant". In 1956, 'Blackhawk' moved over to DC, and so did Cuidera and his regular penciler Dick Dillin. He inked 'Blackhawk' and other features like 'Hawkman', 'The Brave and the Bold' and the ghost titles for fourteen years. Around 1970, he left the comics field and became involved in city planning in his hometown and scuba diving.

Blue Beetle, by Charles Nicholas

The fact that three artists worked under the name Charles Nicholas has led to a lot of confusion among comic historians. Chuck Cuidera is often credited as the creator of 'Blue Beetle', and he also confirmed this at a panel during the 1999 San Diego ComicCon. However, the original creator of the character is most likely Charles Nicholas Wojkoski (1921-1985), who also signed with Charles Nicholas. Even Jack Kirby drew 'Blue Beetle' for a while, and signed it... Charles Nicholas!

Transcript of the panel discussion at ComicCon
featuring Will Eisner and Chuck Cuidera

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