Press Releases & Awards


Nominated 2017 Best Educator Blackmen Rock Image Awards


The Virginian Pilot - The Current

WHRO "Curate" January 2017


WHRO "The Scene" August 2016

WHRO The Scene

Click the Link Above to view the WHRO The Scene Interview


Behold Magazine Feature 2015

Nominated 2015 Best Illustrator NAACP Blackmen Rock Image Awards


Making WAVES, Alumni News Letter March 2015


News Herald 2015

Creative Genius


Gates County Index 2015

Cordy's Career Continues to Blossom


Blessed/Lifestyle Magazine

Excellence Awards

Won 2014 Educator of the Year across Hampton Roads



The Hampton Roads Show 2014

The Hampton Road Show / City Earth Comics

Click the link above to watch the Hampton Road Show Interview


Wall Magazine / 2008

The Wall Magazine™ | Art, Music, Fashion, and Inspiration

Interview and Photo by Bryon Summers

For Willie Cordy Jr., painting is a thing of relaxation. The Portsmouth, Virginia native can remember being an artist as far
back as third grade. He remembered entering an art competition in grade school and coming up short behind friend.
Cordy spoke ecstatically of drawing a cartoon character, and his friend (the winner) just drawing a car. We recently sat
down with Cordy and talked about his experiences as an artist.

TheWallMag (TWM): How long have you been painting for?
Willie Cordy Jr.: Since… I think 3 rd grade. Third grade was my first art contest… Man a long time, longer than you
were born.

TWM: How did you get into painting?
Willie Cordy Jr.: I don’t know it’s just something I liked to do, I just picked it up. It was relaxing. I could do it at home, I
didn’t have to worry about going outside in the cold weather or if I got tired of messing with friends I just stayed in the
house and drew. I liked cartoons. My main thing was cartoons. Cartoons are what got me interested.

TWM: Why do you paint?
Willie Cordy Jr.: To relax. I’ve got a lot of things going through my head constantly. Expression pretty much.

TWM: Any big plans for the future?
Willie Cordy Jr.: When I graduate, I want to teach and also I want to open my design studio back up. Before, I had a
car accident and lost my studio. I’m doing better now. So when I graduate, and start working again in my field, I want to
put my design studio back up. And I want my art work to be known world wide.

TWM: What would you say your best experience in art would be?
Willie Cordy Jr.: I think my best experience was my art taking me places that most people told me I couldn’t go. They
said you couldn’t get a regular job messing around with art. I worked in the music business for a while. I did some work
for the ‘96 Olympics. I had my own clothing line too. Art has always been my first love. It’s always taken me places. Art
has never cheated on me.

TWM: What is your favorite piece, if you have any?
Willie Cordy Jr.: I did a Curtis Mayfield airbrush, but I sold it. I needed money at the time. Overall, I’ve always loved
comics. I’ve interviewed for a couple of comics companies back in the early 90’s. I liked that. Comics have always been
cool to me. That’s what got it, I didn’t like to read when I was little but comic books helped me out. The rest of the stuff,
I think was kind of boring, but the comics got me going. I’ve always loved comics.


Virginia Pilot / Current /July 3, 1985

Artist's dreams stuff of which cartoons are made

By IDA KAY JORDAN, staff writer

He's working in construction, the job he could get when he graduated from high school.

But while he struggles with aching muscles and the oppressive heat and humidity, Willie C. Cordy Jr, dreams.

He dreams of "The Arkillian." Thats a comic strip charecter that belongs to him, a charaecter that popped from his imagination in the seventh grade.

"I just made it up, and I've been working on him ever since," said Cordy, a graduate of Gates County, N.C., High School who attended Woodrow Wilson High until the 10th grade.

Born at Portsmouth Navel Hospital, he is "back home" staying with his grandmother, Clarine McRae, in Prentis Park.

"I'm trying to get me a steady job," said cordy, who had in his pocket a page of classified ads with all of the art-related jobs circled.

Meanwhile, he thinks all the time about "the arkillian" and his friends.

"I keep adding charecters, " he said. "i made the prince up one day on the way home on the bus, You need a group to make the strip more exciting, to add adventure. And you also can get into emotional problems between them."

He's been into comic books ever since he was old enough to read "Captain America" and started collecting them.

Cordy's dream of becoming a comic book artist began in the third grade, when he entered an art competition.

he lost out to a friend for the prize, but he never lost his belief that he had talent.

He displayed a scrapbook with five first place ribbons won at various times in drawing competitions.

Cordy's family encourages his obsession with drawing.

His No.1 booster, he said, is his mother, Vernette Cooper of Gatesville, N.C. And father, who lives in Georgia, recemtly sent himpapers to get his charecters copyrighted.

"I've got my own style of drawing," he said. "But it's hard, sometimes, to come up with new charecters without making them too much like others I've seen."

And, he added, you have to come up with a name "that's not like a real person's necause they take of-fense."

Cordy is not bashful about selling himself.

"I've sent my drawings to Marvel and DC Comics," he said. Marvel seemed interested. They wrote me a letter saying what they wanted."

But they haven't said the magic words of acceptance yet. His teacher, he said, also have encouraged him. "One teacher in Portsmouth was going to make a cartoon strip with me, but we left."

Penny Heishman-Brown, a Gates County teacher, nominated him this year as a U.S. National Art Award winner and he recieved an award for fine arts from Elizabeth City State University.

He was listed in the U.S. Achievement Academy yearbook and chosen as one of 10 outstanding seniors.

"I had a good year," he said.

Heishman-Brown, he said, helped him in many ways.

"People used to tell me I drew good, but she helped me bring my drawings out," he said. "She even lent me equipment that I didn't have."

And she showed him an article about the success of another 19year old, Jerome Moore. Moore, said Cordy, was accepted on the staff of DC Comics at that age. Today he draws Batman and Superman. Moore's story is Cordy's inspiration. "I read it over and over again," he said.

The average comic book artist makes $50 a page, said Cordy, adding, "The good money makes me push even harder to make it."

But he also has fun with his drawing. "I made up one called 'Serpent Squad' about my Portsmouth friends and some crooked cops," he said. Most of the time, however, he is occupied with the mythological creatures who live in a supernatural world spanning past, present and future.

Although he hopes one day to go to art school. that dream is on a back burner.

"I just have my mind set on drawing right now," he said. "Whenever I am, I have pencil and paper. I deas pop into my head and I want to draw them."

Staff photo by Mike Williams




Gates County Index

Marvel Man

Art student dreams of life as comic book artist

Missing photo under search.

GATESVILLE - His eyes widen with boyish enthusiasm when he speaks of the dream - the one that has been with him since entering a third grade art competition. His voice fairly drips with impatient longing for the day when he will be Willie Cordy - comic book artist.

The 19-year-old senior art student at gates County High School sometimes seems like a man possessed. he is, with talent.

Even though Willie lost the third grade competition to a friend, he didn't allow his considerable artistic gift to deteriorate with age. Willie stuck with his drawing. Hard work and dedication is evidenced through hours and hours of practice and sheet upon sheet of drawings.

But with Willie Cordy it is obviously, and always has been, a complete labor of love. Willie's mother and number one booster, Vernette Cooper of gatesville, will attest to that. She shares Willie's dream. several competitions and many drawings later the result of Willie's devotion to his task is obvious even to the most untrained eye.

Willie Cordy will be a comic book artist one day because he just can't allow himself to be anything else. The imagination that invented "Guardians of the Galaxy", "The fantasy Four" and "The Immortals" and the hand that served as the tool for that imagination are locked in a never -ending battle with blank paper - much like Willie's comic book charecters are forever battling the forces of good and evil. and the battle is real.

"Sometimes it's hard to come up with new characters without making them too much like those I've seen," Willie obseves. "Sometimes it's hard to come up with a name that's not like a real persons name because they might take offense to it."

But it is obvious that Willie has the freshness of mind needed to become an artist for Marvel Comics, or DC Comics. Willie would settle for a professional life with either. A mind that invents over 425 individual comic book characters and almost as many plots for them to become entangled in is certainly fresh, if not prodigious. That mental energy and raw talent have led Willie's art teacher, penny Heishman-Brown, to nominate him as a U.S. National Art Award winner. Less than 10 percent of all art students recieve this honor.

It could land Willie a college scholarship, amoung other tidbits. But college may have to wait a while, Willie says.

"Right now I have my mind set on drawing characters," Willie offers. "It's what I want to do right now." College is in the plans, however.

As determined as he is to realize his goal, Willie hasn't forgotten who helped get him where he is now.

"People used to tell me I drew good but Ms. Heishman-Brown helped me bring my drawings out," notes the young artist. She has given him much counsel and loaned him necessary equipment that Willie didn't always have. And she has added to his will to succeed. He remembers an article Ms. heishman-Brown gave him concerning another 19-year-old, a man named Jerome Moore, Moore was turned down at that ripe age by Marvel but was accepted on the staff of DC Comics. Today, while drawing Superman and Batman, Moore is one of the best comic book artists alive.

"I read it over and over again, Willie says mystically of the clipping he has plastered on his wall at home.

While Ms. heishman-Brown extols the virtues of young student, a character takes shape on the paper in front of Willie in a matter of seconds. Willie is all the while explaining that his mother deserves a large portion of the credit for his drive.

"She has always stood behind me in my drawing," Willie says. "I don't know why but I used to be shy about showing my drawings to other people but she has helped me there in so many ways." The characters that occupy most of Willie's time these days are gods and mythological creatures of myriad description. And Willie relishes in describing them all. They are his lovers.

Over the chalkboard in the art classroom at Gates County High reads the following word to the driven: "to be good is not good enough when you dream of being great." Now, if we could only get Willie to believe it!




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