Carmine Infantino Comic Book Artist RIP
April 4, 2013 3:37 PM   Subscribe

Comic book legend Carmine Infantino has died at the age of 87. Beginning his career in the early 1940's, Infantino created or co-created stalwart DC characters such The Flash, Batgirl, Black Canary, and Deadman. He also served as editorial director at DC, and added artists and writers like Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, Denny O'Neill and Bernie Wrightson to the company's roster.
posted by marxchivist (37 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
........the fuck is wrong with this week?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:43 PM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think Infantino is (was) still a bit underrated as an artist. I actually busted out my 80s era Cary Bates / Carmine Infantino Flash issues the other night. He was doing stuff then that would still be considered a formalist experiment today. Sadly, the letters page had a decent share of people complaining about his work. Comics letter pages were the forum comments of their era, I guess.
posted by Slothrop at 3:43 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I will always associate Carmine Infantino with Batman covers from the mid-'60s. They were always dramatic, shot from under Batman and Robin's noses or featuring some bold crazy image like the one of Blockbuster destroying the Batman logo. Where Marvel had Ditko and Kirby and Colan and other whose styles I knew at sight, DC, to my eyes, had Infantino. Later, Adams and others, but in those years around the Batman show's explosion, it was Carmine Infantino whom I associate with DC.

Great look to his work, always.


posted by the sobsister at 3:45 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

He was also responsible for the "New Look" for Batman.

posted by entropicamericana at 3:45 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by doctor_negative at 3:50 PM on April 4, 2013

I don't know if anyone could match Infantino for designing a dynamic cover. I mean, look at these.

More obits and tributes pouring in, and one from Mark Evanier.
posted by marxchivist at 3:58 PM on April 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Infantino was a giant. His line was gorgeous. He was one of the first artists I knew by name and studied.

posted by Thorzdad at 4:00 PM on April 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Faint of Butt at 4:04 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by Joey Michaels at 4:10 PM on April 4, 2013

And in the grand tradition of treating their artists like shit, DC fired Infantino in the mid-1970's. Bruce Jones had an anecdote about it in his introduction to a collection of Bernie Wrightson's Warren work:

When Bernie was a hotshot at DC, it during Carmine Infantino's reign up there. Carmine helped break Bernie in and Bernie never forgot. We walked into the Warren offices one day to find Carmine fired from DC and working alone in a forlorn little office that Warren, out of the goodness of his heart, had let Infantino use to get back on his feet. Bernie and I stopped in to say hi, and though the big Italian smiled, you could see the hurt in his eyes.

After this encounter, Jones and Wrightson cooked up the story "Country Pie," with Jones' writing, Infantino's pencils and Bernie's inks it was published in an issue of Creepy.

Of course he ended up suing DC in 2004. One source said the suit was "settled."
posted by marxchivist at 4:25 PM on April 4, 2013

Literally one of the first comics I can remember reading was an Infantino Flash with the Rainbow Raider.

Lying in a hammock that my grandpa had given us, something he'd kept from his army days, next to the 4x4 jungle gym my dad had made from whatever materials were handy. Sweating my goddamn prepubescent balls off because this was an enclosed hammock, but the only place where I could find any peace from my then-10-year-old sister and then-6-year-old sister, 30 feet from the roaring trucks and the 1979 coughing cars on the Trans-Canada Highway, reading Carmine Infantino Flash comics and sweating balls and wondering for about the first time in my life about the art of comics because he had a way of overdrawing things that really made you notice weird-ass stuff like knees and how the characters were drawn relative to each other.

Fuck me. Ebert and Infantino in one day. I didn't always get him, but he was the first guy that made me think of comics as art and not just superhero stories with drawings. RIP. Shit.
posted by Shepherd at 4:40 PM on April 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

posted by Etrigan at 4:40 PM on April 4, 2013


I'm going to go quietly listen to The Ballad of Barry Allen (written and performed by his nephew Jim Infantino's band Jim's Big Ego) in tribute.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 5:07 PM on April 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

RIP. I had Infantino as a teacher at SVA in the early 90s.
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:11 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by Bron at 5:25 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by zombieflanders at 5:25 PM on April 4, 2013

He was also responsible for the "New Look" for Batman.

Which was sufficiently good it was the "New look" for fifty odd years.

(They really should have kept it.)
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on April 4, 2013

Infantino also did the bulk of the artwork on Marvel's Star Wars comic series in the 70's, whose popularity pretty much saved Marvel from bankruptcy at the time.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:25 PM on April 4, 2013

If anyone else is curious: New Look.
posted by ersatz at 6:39 PM on April 4, 2013

I really liked his work on The Flash. He has the right style for the kooky-serious plots. On the other hand, even as a kid, I thought there was something weird about how he drew breasts. Years later, a critic remarked that he seemed to use the proportions for eyes -- the width of a breast between the breasts -- which, I dunno. Maybe it was all a trick of the Mirror Master.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:14 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by KHAAAN! at 7:32 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by Scoo at 8:12 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by MrBadExample at 9:29 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by rahnefan at 9:42 PM on April 4, 2013

I came to his work pretty late, in the seventies, and like other artists with distinct, unique and strong styles, he was sometimes put on books that didn't really suit his talents, like The Man Called Nova. (Gene Colan and Frank Quitely also fall into that category.) But, man, when he was on the right book, could he ever cook.

posted by Halloween Jack at 10:02 PM on April 4, 2013

posted by RakDaddy at 10:53 PM on April 4, 2013

Oh goddamnit.

posted by dogheart at 12:29 AM on April 5, 2013

Walt Simonson, on his Facebook page:
My own brief story is that Carmine is the guy who, more or less by accident, got a look at my portfolio the first day I walked into DC in 1972. After we had a brief conversation, he made certain that I walked out of his office with a job. Always grateful, never forgotten. Thank you, Carmine. Godspeed.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:54 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't, off the top of my head, name a single thing he did or was responsible more, but between him and Julie (and Curt Swan) is name was in almost every DC comic I had as a kid.

I remember because it was such an interesting name.
posted by Mezentian at 2:07 AM on April 5, 2013

posted by cupcakeninja at 3:23 AM on April 5, 2013

Next to Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino was the artist who most created DC's Silver Age look: all weird perspectives, high modernist backgrounds, stretched, angular characters. I first came across his art on Star Wars of all things: before I'd seen the movies, or anything else, his art was what defined Star Wars for me.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:44 AM on April 5, 2013

posted by Legomancer at 5:09 AM on April 5, 2013

Loved his work on The Flash, Adam Strange, and the "new look" Batman.

posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:47 AM on April 5, 2013

I've always associated Infantino with the Phantom Stranger. I've always had a weak spot for that character for some reason.
posted by charred husk at 6:32 AM on April 5, 2013

posted by buzzman at 8:35 AM on April 5, 2013

posted by immlass at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2013

Massive TCJ interview from 2010.
posted by Artw at 3:48 PM on April 5, 2013

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