Monday, April 8, 2013

Remembering Infantino

Carmine Infantino,

Since he's better equipped to send the man off than I am, having been a fan of his work for fifty some years, here's a few words about Carmine Infantino from my dad:

I have just learned of the passing of my greatest comic book idol, Carmine Infantino.  He, more than any other comic creator, awakened in me an appreciation for comic book art, an appreciation that survives yet today.

Although he had his start in the comics business during the so-called Golden Age, I first became aware of his significant role in the rebirth of "super-hero" books during the Silver Age, with my first exposure t

o his work in a special 25 cent giant annual called Secret Origins.  I had been reading Superman and Batman for several years, and was stunned in that annual by the freshness of the artist drawing the Silver Age Flash story in that book.  I learned later that this artist was Carmine Infantino.  (I pronounced his name as Carmen for years.)  Shortly thereafter, I began to buy all of the Julius Schwartz-edited books, many containing Infantino artwork.  I was a late reader of Mystery in Space, which (for too short a time) featured Adam Strange stories drawn by Mr. Infantino.  The anticipation I felt as I hurried to the drug store on the day a new MIS was to appear was only heightened by the excitement as I opened the pages to a new adventure.  When Jack Schiff took over as editor of Mystery in Space, Carmine Infantino passed his artist duties for Adam Strange to Lee Elias, and the Adam Strange magic (at least for me) was gone forever.

 His attention to anatomical accuracy was  superb, his architectural images always "modern", and his page layouts set the the style that became the standard.  His art felt somehow more "adult" than what I had been reading, and made even a lackluster plot sparkle. His work onThe Space Museum stories, Strange Sports StoriesThe FlashBatman, uncounted sci-fi adventures in the Schwartz anthology books was all unforgettable, and his contributions as publisher at National/DC helped save that company and infuse it with new artistic talent that took it to new heights. I was tempted on several occasions to contact Mr Infantino, to thank him for his wonderful work.  Alas, I didn't do that, and my window of opportunity has passed.
Yes, other great artists have come along, but Carmine Infantino was unique.  He will be sorely missed.

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