Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 24: Happy birthday, Carmine Infantino!

Born today in 1925: legendary comics artist, editor, and publisher Carmine Infantino, who co-created Batgirl, The Flash (Barry Allen and Wally West), Black Canary, Animal Man, Bat Lash, Phantom Stranger, Deadman, and more! He's drawn pretty much everybody in books like Detective Comics and Batman, Star Wars, Adventure Comics, The Avengers, Mystery in Space, Spider-Woman, The Brave and the Bold, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Nova, Phantom Stranger, Daredevil, and so much more!

from Fifty Who Made DC Great one-shot (DC, 1985)

Oh what the heck, here's some more he co-created: Christopher Chance, Paladin, Bat Lash, King Faraday, Captain Comet, Gorilla Grodd, Detective Chimp, and Star Wars's Domina Tagge!

from (top) Amazing World of Superman (DC, 1973) and
(bottom) Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (DC/Marvel, 1976)

Infantino was the artist of the team responsible to bring Batman into the sixties, adding the yellow circle around the bat symbol on his chest — but more important, moving Batman and Robin out of the lighter SF and fantasy stories that were traditional for the character in the 1950s, and finally giving Batman a "New Look."

cover of Detective Comics #327 (DC, May 1964), pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella, letters (and new logo?) by Ira Schnapp

(This history of the move from the Millennium editor of 'Tec #327 minimizes Infantino's contributions and glorifies Julius Schwartz's, but i bet the first thing you remember of when you think of Batman's "New Look" is...well, his new look.

from Millennium Edition: Detective Comics #327 one-shot (DC, March 2000)

Another famous Infantino invention: the visual trope I call "Infantinoville" — his portraits of heroes and villains against parallel-lined sidewalk receding to a vanishing point in the far distance, often with a background of an impossibly far-away city! You can find Infantino drawing this everywhere, from Central City to Metropolis to Gotham to a galaxy far, far away!

In fact, it's due to that Infantino artwork on Marvel's Star Wars that I became such a comics fan when I (and John!) picked up my very first Marvel comic ever, Star Wars #21. See the story here over at 13th Dimension. Infantino's art is therefore near and dear to my heart!

cover (and the full page splash that wowed me) of Star Wars (1977 series) #21 (Marvel, March 1979), script by Archie Goodwin, cover and interior pencils by Carmine Infantino, cover inks by Terry Austin, interior inks by Gene Day, colors by George Roussos, letters by John Costanza

(Even though his space cruisers sometimes looked like Brooklyn's Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower!)

Infantino within comics as a character!:

from Justice League of America (1960 series) #123 (DC, October 1975), plot and breakdowns by Cary bates, script by Elliot Maggin, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Frank McLaughlin

I believe this is Carmine, as an imp (or four), in a Gill Kane story about Kane being bedviled by editors:

from "His Name Is...Kane" in House of Mystery (1951 series) #180 (DC, May 1969), script by Mike Friedrich, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Wally Wood, letters by Milt Snapinn (?)

Infantino draws Infantino, in this special salute to Carmine issue:

from DC Special #1 (DC, October 1968), pencils and inks by Carmine Infantino, letters by Gaspar Saladino

(Although the stories are all reprints, DC Special #1 is a great pick-up for the between-matter on and by Infantino! Look out for it in your local long box!)

from DC Special #1; pencils and inks by Carmine Infantino, letters by Ira Schnapp

Another magazine devoted to the life and work of Infantino. A nice tribute while you're still around to be appreciated!

(top) cover of Amazing World of DC Comics #8 (DC, October 1975) pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Murphy Anderson, and
(bottom) house ad in DC comics cover-dated December 1975

Jack Kirby on Carmine Infantino: he thought his art was great...

from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed, July 2020), script and art by Tom Scioli

...but his editorial aauthority was, to Jack, annoying:

Carmine "raps with the kids" about comic book price increases!:

from DC Comics cover-dated September 1971

Carmine's Barry Allen is rightfully iconic. Now you too can draw him speedily! Oh wait, I meant you can draw him speeding.

"How I Draw the Flash" in Flash Annual #1 (DC, Summer 1963); script, pencils, and inks by Carmine Infantino
(Click picture to Big Sir-size)

Infantino Miscellany:

from (top) DC comics cover-dated December 1970, pencils by Neal Adams; and
(bottom) Showcase #76 (DC, August 1968)

A huge amount of the contemporary DC Universe (and decent chunks of the Marvel U) owe a major debt to Carmine Infantino for his work and influence.

Carmine Infantino passed away in 2013. Miss ya, Mister I.

from DC Comics cover-dated June 2013

Happy birthday, Carmine Infantino!

from DC Special #1

Oh, and we picked you up some coffee.

from The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive (2022 series) #2 (DC, November 2022), script by Kenny Porter, pencils and inks by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr., letters by Steve Wands

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