Charles Nicholas “Chuck” Cuidera was born on September 23, 1915, in Newark, New Jersey, according to his World War II draft card. Cuidera’s Social Security application said his parents were Leonard Cuidera and Lena Bruzzo.
Cuidera’s father, a barber, signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His address was 48 Warwick Street in Newark. The same address was recorded in the 1920 (below), 1930, 1940 and 1950 United States Censuses. In 1920 Cuidera was the fourth of five children; in 1930 he was the fourth of six siblings.
After graduating high school, Cuidera studied illustration at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 22, 1939, reported on his class.
Pratt Art School to Graduate 26Twenty-six students will be graduated from the mid-year class of the Pratt Institute School of Fine and Applied Arts in Brooklyn at the conclusion of the present term next Friday. A tea in their honor will be given by members of the faculty at the school on Wednesday afternoon. James C. Boudreau, director of the school, will speak. Those receiving certificates of graduation will be:Pictorial Illustration… Charles Nicholas Cuidera, Newark, N. J.
The 1940 census said Cuidera was an artist in the magazine design trade. He earned $160 working eight weeks in 1939.
On October 16, 1940, Cuidera signed his World War II draft card. He was working for the comics company, Fox Features. Cuidera was described as five feet eight-and-a-half inches, 156 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.
Cuidera drew the first Blackhawk story which appeared in Military Comics #1, August 1941.
Cuidera enlisted in the Army on February 18, 1942.
Sometime in the 1940s, Cuidera married. The 1950 census recorded cartoonist Cuidera, his wife, a daughter and son in Newark, New Jersey at 48 Warwick Street. His family lived on the second floor. Two of his siblings were on the first.
At different times, Cuidera and Reed Crandall were the artists on Blackhawk which was adapted into a serial by Columbia. The Blackhawk serial was promoted in several trade magazines including The Exhibitor, May–July 1952; Motion Picture Daily, July 11, 1952; Motion Picture Herald, August 2, 1952; and The Exhibitor, August–October 1952. Crandall and Cuidera were credited in the advertisements. Both were mentioned in the book, In the Nick of Time: Motion Picture Sound Serials (1984).
Mark Evanier wrote about Blackhawk on his website, News from ME.
Alter Ego, #34, March 2004, “I Created Blackhawk”, Chuck Cuidera interview
Comics Buyer’s Guide, September 21, 2001, Remembering Chuck Cuidera
The Comics Journal, October 2001, Blackhawks Creator Chuck Cuidera Dies at 86
Science Fiction Chronicle, December 2001, obituary
(Next post on Monday: Leroy Lettering, Robert N. MacLeod, Lou Cameron and His Wife, Phil)