Saturday, April 06, 2013

THE FLASH ARTIST OF TWO WORLDS, ICON OF ONE: Carmine Infantino (1925 – 2013)

The man who drew the interiors to the one singular comic that made me a lifetime fan of the medium has passed on. Sure Carmine Infantino has bigger credits to his name, like his seminal work on The Flash, Batgirl, Adam Strange or Spider-Woman, and even as art director, editor and publisher of DC Comics, but without his art inside DC's The Brave and The Bold #194 there would be no It's A Dan's World. There would be a Mustang in the garage from years of not having comics take all my disposable and not so disposable income (heck there would even be a garage), and I wouldn't have a graphic design career, as comics would've never inspired me to draw.

And I never got to say thanks.

With work that spans both the decades and the worlds of Marvel and DC, plus as the creator of some of comics most creative and iconic cover concepts and designs, I don't think I'm the only one who can say that. Still, it strikes me writing this post how one person can have a massive indent on someone's life, and yet be completely unaware of their impact at the same time. What a great aspect of life to be able to have, and what a great legacy to have left in your name.

Rest easy Mr Infantino, and after all these years, 'Thanks'.


5 comments:

  1. A wonderful tribute to Infantino. With the current views in comics that only sales matter and that comics are simply entertainment, I think TPTB forget that there is something more to comics that is hard to describe. The stories, art and their creators have a big impact on their readers.

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  2. Here, here. A lovely and well-worded tribute to a true icon of the business. What's sad, but often so typical of us as people in general, is our ability to easily forget the men and women like Infantino, who helped insure that there'd even be a comic business for us to enjoy.

    Things become even more sad when you add the plights of other industry vets like Dixon and Ordway to the equation, and men like Shuster and Siegel before them, who had a very hard time finding working despite their accolades.

    It's also interesting to note how many other similar, older creators have also died this week or close to.

    Like you said, how do you say thank you to someone who has no idea, and may never know just how much their work meant to you?

    In that case, you simply make sure to educate and influence the next generation of comic readers about the famous creators of the characters they'll love and go from there.

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  3. What an incredible tribute, thank you for this, Dan.
    Carmine Infantino did so much for the industry, most of it went unspoken but never overlooked; his art helped to inform the Silver Age of comics [my favourite era].
    My three favourite memories are as follows;
    1] his Spider-Woman comics. He drew a conventionally ordinary woman with sharp angles and odd panels that looked like crazy paintings at times. He made the freaky Jessica Drew almost spider-like even in normal clothes. He could make ordinary superheroes books look like horror comics.
    2] his Flash, surely his seminal hero which he helped create the official 'look' for. In particular I recall the many, many panels which were drawn virtually in long, long widescreen, as you saw Barry Allen run straight across a long panel. He drew thin, widescreen shots long before the likes of Bryan Hitch did. You could feel the Flash's speed.
    literally fly off the page.
    On my local shopping channel we used to have a comics section where Niok someone-or-other would wax lyrical over Infantino whenever an Issue of the Flash would come up for sale, saying he was one of the silent heroes of the early DC.
    With his 'Flash of Two Worlds' one could justifiably claim his was the beginnings of the first ever comics crossover, and the beginnings of the Silver Age.
    3] his Star Wars. It was so odd to look at, so unlike the hit movie, yet buying Star Wars Weekly every week in the late 70s after the movie became a monster smash was a ritual for many. He made that comic his own, with his Millenium Falcon being used as the official point-of-art for future artists that came to draw it. I don't think his was the first choice to draw the adaptation of Star Wars [I think Marvel wanted Simonson at first] but many of the numerous minis out now featuring the same universe often cite him as the starting point.


    A LEGEND.

    R.I.P. Carmine Infantino.

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  4. And lest we forget, three other notable landmarks Carmine invented;
    He co-created the original Black Canary.
    He created the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl.
    And he was instrumental in the Diana Prince/Wonder Woman non-superpowered reboot in the late 60s.

    For me he reinvented Wonder Woman when she desperately need it, and gave us an unique and much beloved take on my favourite heroine, and by creating Batgirl and Black Canary one could go so far as to say he was partly responsible for creating Birds of Prey!

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  5. Thanks guys for the great feedback, glad the post was well received, and the idea of invisible impact resonated as much with each of you as it did with me.

    @ToB EXACTLY! I think the aura of comics (for lack of a better term) goes waaaay overlooked. Comics aren't about tying everything back to Batman, X-Men or in modern days Iron Man to make a buck. It's about creativity, imagination, talented creatives producing talented creations and escapism. Surely as the world develops, that variety of escapism comics used to offer, is now needed more than ever.

    @ Dale I have struggled with what to do with IADW of late. It came after I walked into a massive comic shop here in Melbourne and felt I couldn't buy any DC back issues because its now cannon, and the 90% of the 52 is not for me. As a lifelong DC over Marvel fan it took some adjusting. Marvel too felt like they were rebooting away from my history. What I have pretty much resolved to do is use the website to show why I love comics, the 'other' great characters there are like Cloak and Dagger, Plastic Man and X-O Manowar. Plus all the lengths fans go to homage their love of the medium. I think that will be the best way forward.

    @Karl Awesome list. I too loved his Spider-Woman. I'd buy any issue I could find after being addicted during the cartoon. I think that is Bendis' best Marvel achievement is dusting off that iconic character who oddly was absent for waaayyyy to long.

    His Flash covers are completely out there, but that was what was so cool. Insane concepts but you are like 'I may not be able to afford to eat tonight, but I've gotta read how that ends!' we need those covers back. Generic pose covers look cool and all, but they don't stir the mind as much. Whatever happened to cover captions anyway?

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