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Apr 05 2013

Legendary DC Comics artist and editor Carmine Infantino dies at 87

Flash #123 Cover (Carmine Infantino)

Legendary comic book artist and former DC Comics editor Carmine Infantino has died aged 87. He is best known for his work on Batman and the Silver Age redesign of Flash.

Carmine Infantino. Photo by Seth Kushner.

Photo by Seth Kushner.

Brooklyn-born artist Infantino first began working for Harry “A” Chesler in the 1930s-40s during his freshman year of high school, for a studio that were seen as comic-book “packagers”, creating complete comics for publishers seeking to enter the then emerging industry.

Infantino’s first major professional work was inking Frank Giacoia’s pencils for the feature “Jack Frost” in USA Comics #3 (January 1942) for Timely Comics, the company that would eventually become Marvel. After working for several publishers, he would debut at DC Comics with “The Black Canary”, a six page Johnny Thunder story which introduced the Black Canary character in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947).

After freelancing for several years, including for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s company Prize Comics, Infantino began to develop his style back at DC. It was here that the equally legendary editor Julius Schwartz assigned him and writer Robert Kanigher to re-envisage their character Flash for the Silver Age, where he designed the now classic red and yellow costume for Showcase #4 (October 1956). It would be the start of a historic run that would lead to “Flash of Two Worlds” (Flash #123, DC Comics, September 1961), a comic in which writer Gardener Fox not only introduced Earth-Two but the concept of the multi-verse to DC. As a result, DC began reviving a number if its characters and began a tradition that resonates all the way to the New 52.

Flash Comics #86 - Black Canary and Johnny Thunder (Carmine Infantino)

During the 1960s, he would begin designing covers for the entire DC line. Turning down an offer from Marvel for the then unmatchable $22,000, DC ultimately promoted him to editorial director, and under his watch editor Dick Giordano, artist Neal Adams and writer Denny O’Neil were hired, changing the face of books such as Wonder Woman, Batman; Green Lantern and Green Arrow; and Superman. He consulted on plots for both Superman: The Movie and Superman II, and initiated the first inter-company crossover in Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976).

During the 1970s, Infantino would return to  freelance work, illustrating Star Wars, Spider-Woman and Nova for Marvel. He then took on the  “Batman” newspaper comic strip in 1990, drawing the strip until its cancellation in 1991.

Co-creator of such characters as Barry Allen, Wally West, countless Flash villains, Barbara Gordon, Deadman, and the original The Human Target, Infantino was an irreplaceable legend of the industry, Behind the Panels salutes this master and his impact on modern comics.

Showcase 4 - Carmine Infantino