Thursday, April 4, 2013
THE FLASH's Carmine Infantino Passes at 87
A very sad day in the world of comics as we learned that one of the industry's legendary artists, Carmine Infantino, passed away at the age of 87.
Infantino is probably best remembered as the co-creator and longtime artist of DC Comics character Barry Allen, the second person to become The Flash. He drew The Flash's first four appearances in Showcase #4, 8, 13 and 14 in 1956 through 1958, and stayed with the character from the relaunched The Flash (vol.1) #105 in 1959 through #174 in 1967. Infantino eventually returned to the book in 1981 after a long hiatus in issue #296 and remained with the series until its end in 1985 with issue #350.
During this time, Infantino co-created an incredible number of classic Flash characters and Rogues, including Iris West Allen, Wally West/Kid Flash, the Elongated Man, Professor Zoom the Reverse-Flash, Captain Cold, the Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, the Trickster, Abra Kadabra, the Pied Piper, Heat Wave, Mr. Element, Dr. Alchemy, and Grodd. He also drew the 1961 comics classic, "Flash of Two Worlds," in The Flash #123 that reintroduced Jay Garrick, the original Flash, and introduced the parallel world concept of Earth-Two.
The artist was also responsible for the co-creation of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, Black Canary, Deadman, The Human Target and Animal Man. In addition, he drew a number of notable series runs, including Batman, the Dial "H" for Hero feature in Adventure Comics, The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, V, and Marvel Comics' Star Wars, Nova and Spider-Woman.
While at DC, Infantino held a number of managerial and editorial positions, including art director starting in 1966, editorial director in 1967 and publisher from 1971 to 1976. During this time, DC hired significant creators such as Jack Kirby, Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil, and published the first DC/Marvel crossover special, Superman vs. Spider-Man. Infantino was also involved in the development of the 1978 Superman film adaptation starring Christopher Reeve.
On a personal note, I was able to meet Infantino for a brief time at the Orlando, Florida comics and sci-fi convention MegaCon in 2002, where he graciously signed my copies of Flash Archives Vols. 1 - 3 as well as my large hardcover copy of DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes by Les Daniels. I remember him as a bit gruff but otherwise polite, yet still engaged even at the age of 76.
My sincerest condolences to Infantino's family, friends and, of course, my fellow fans. And to Infantino himself, my many thanks for all the wonderful characters and issues of The Flash that remain such an important part of my life to this day. Rest In Peace.