Thursday, April 04, 2013

R.I.P. Carmine Infantino

   I just learned that comic book artist Carmine Infantino passed away today at age 87. When I started reading DC comics in the early 1970s, Infantino was actually running the company. My earliest exposure to his art was probably in reprints of Flash stories he had drawn. I was immediately taken with Infantino's design oriented, stylized art and began finding it in other reprints featuring characters like Batman, The Elongated Man, and perhaps my favorite Infantino illustrated series, Adam Strange.
   By the 1980s, Infantino was working at Marvel Comics where he drew some of my favorite issues of Nova. He had a long run on Marvel's Star Wars comic and did fill ins for The Avengers, Howard the Duck, The Hulk, and Daredevil. Whatever series he worked on, he brought his own unique look to it.
   Infantino will probably always be best remembered as the co-creator and long time artist on the Silver Age version of the Flash. In some ways he was perhaps the perfect artist for the series because he seemed to understand something that many, maybe even most, later Flash artists didn't get, and that was that the Flash needed to be drawn as a lean, lithe figure, not a bulked up muscle man. Flash's power was speed and nobody drew it better than Infantino. His layouts on the book tended to emphasize rectangular panels over square so that Flash could zoom across the pages against those unmistakeable Infantino cityscapes.
   Infantino was one of those guys like Joe Kubert and Gil Kane who started drawing comics as a teenager in the Golden Age of the 1930s-1940s and was still turning out terrific art into the 1990s. Infantino definitely has a spot on my top ten list of all time greatest comic book artists. Another legend gone, but thanks to DC Archives and Showcase volumes, it isn't hard to sit down and enjoy the furious speed of the Flash illustrated by the artist who made him a star. Do yourself a favor and track down the work of Carmine Infantino. Me, I'm going to go read a few Silver Age Flash stories.


James Reasoner said...

I loved those early Silver Age Flash stories by Infantino, Gardner Fox, and John Broome. Wonderful stuff. Rest in peace, Mr. Infantino.

Keith said...

I really hate to hear this. Infantino was one of the artists I grew up reading.