Wednesday, April 10, 2013

RIP Carmine Infantino

Last week on April 4 artist extra-ordinaire and former Publisher of DC Comics, Mr. Carmine Infantino, passed away. He was 87 years young.

Carmine Infantino broke into comics in the 1940s, drawing such diverse characters as The Flash and Black Canary. He stuck with the industry through the dry spell of the late '40s and early '50s, then hit it big when the "Silver Age" brought super-heroes back BIG TIME. He helped usher in this monumental shift in popular culture when he helped re-design The "modern" Flash in SHOWCASE #4.

During the dry spell when super-heroes didn't rule the news-stands, Mr. Infantino worked on various space and science fiction series. His favorite at this time was Adam Strange, an American archaeologist who, through a series of accidental teleportations, becomes the hero of a far-distant planet called Rann. He always said that his favorite titles were the "odd" ones, such as Adam Strange, Detective Chimp, and The Elongated Man.

Mr. Infantino worked on THE FLASH for several years, until 1964. That was when he was asked by his friend, editor Julius Schwartz, to help him re-invigorate Batman. Batman at the time was a character in danger of cancellation. Stop and think about that for a moment: Batman, the world-famous character, was in danger of being cancelled! Carmine Infantino worked with Mr. Schwartz and together they made Batman a viable character; the TV series that made its debut about 2 years later probably helped, but if Batman had been cancelled in 1964 the TV show probably would not have made it.

In 1967 Carmine Infantino was part of another famous re-design: the "modern" Batgirl was created to appear on the TV series, so DC took the then-out-of-date character and re-created her. Mr. Infantino provided the visuals.

In 1967 Mr. Infantino was promoted to Executive Director. He immediately set out to make all of DC's covers more dynamic and exciting. He hired new editors and writers to try to shake DC out of its funk; most famously, he lured Jack Kirby to DC from Marvel. In 1971 he was promoted to Publisher.

In 1976 he left DC, going (literally) back to the drawing board. He returned to freelance work, doing mostly Marvel titles (such as STAR WARS and NOVA) for several years. Then he returned to DC, doing THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL, among other titles.

Good-bye, Mr. Infantino! 

Rest In Peace, 
Carmine Infantino
May 24, 1925 ~ April 4, 2013




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