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Carmine Infantino (1925)

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  Summary  

Carmine Infantino is an American comic book artist and editor who was a major force in the Silver Age of Comic Books. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2000, and was cited in Comics Buyer's Guide Millennium Poll as the greatest penciller of all time.

  Biography  

 early life
Carmine Infantino was born via midwife in his family's apartment in Brooklyn, New York City. His father, Pasquale "Patrick" Infantino, born in New York City, was originally a musician who played saxophone, clarinet, and violin, and had a band with composer Harry Warren, but in the poverty of the Great Depression he turned instead to a career as a licensed plumber. Carmine Infantino's mother, Angela Rosa DellaBadia, emigrated from Calitri, a hill town northeast of Naples, Italy.

Infantino attended Public Schools 75 and 85 in Brooklyn before going on to the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan. During his freshman year of high school, Infantino began working for Harry "A" Chesler, whose studio was one of a handful of comic-book "packagers" who created complete comics for publishers looking to enter the emerging field in the 1930s-1940s Golden Age of Comic Books. As Infantino recalled:

 career
With Frank Giacoia penciling, Infantino inked the feature "Jack Frost" in USA Comics #3 . He wrote in his autobiography that

Infantino would eventually work for several publishers during the decade, drawing Airboy and the Heap for Hillman Periodicals; working for packager Jack Binder, who supplied Fawcett Comics; briefly at Holyoke Publishing; then landing at DC Comics. Infantino's first published work for DC was "The Black Canary", a six page Johnny Thunder story which introduced the Black Canary character in Flash Comics #86 . Infantino's long association with the Flash mythos began with "The Secret City" a story in All-Flash #31 (Oct.-Nov. 1947). He additionally became a regular artist of the Golden Age Green Lantern and the Justice Society of America.

During the 1950s, Infantino freelanced for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's company, Prize Comics, drawing the series Charlie Chan, which in particular shows the influence both of Kirby's and Milton Caniff's art styles. Back at DC, during a lull in the popularity of superheroes, Infantino drew Westerns, mysteries, science fiction comics. As his style evolved, he began to shed both the Kirbyisms and the gritty shading of Caniff, and develop a clean, linear style.

 The Silver Age
In 1956, DC editor Julius Schwartz assigned writer Robert Kanigher and artist Infantino to the company's first attempt at reviving superheroes: an updated version of the Flash that would appear in issue #4 of the try-out series Showcase. Infantino designed the now-classic red uniform with yellow detail , striving to keep the costume as streamlined as possible, and he drew on his design abilities to create a new visual language to depict the Flash's speed, making the figure a red and yellow blur. The eventual success of the new, science-fiction oriented Flash heralded the wholesale return of superheroes, and the beginning of what fans and historians call the Silver Age of comics.


Infantino drew the "Flash of Two Worlds" a landmark story that was published in The Flash #123 . It introduces Earth-Two, and more generally the concept of the multiverse, to DC Comics. Infantino continued to work for Schwartz in his other features and titles, most notably "Adam Strange" in Mystery in Space, replacing Mike Sekowsky who did the penciling in Showcase 17-19. In 1964, Schwartz was made responsible for reviving the faded Batman titles. Writer John Broome and artist Infantino jettisoned the sillier aspects that had crept into the series (such as Ace the Bathound, and Bat-Mite) and gave the "New Look" Batman and Robin a more detective-oriented direction and sleeker draftsmanship that proved a hit combination. Other features and characters Infantino drew at DC include "The Space Museum", and Elongated Man. With Gardner Fox, Infantino co-created Barbara Gordon as a new version of Batgirl in a story titled "The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!" in Detective Comics #359 . Deadman was created by writer Arnold Drake and Infantino and first appeared in Strange Adventures #205 . This story included the first known depiction of narcotics in a story approved by the Comics Code Authority.

After Wilson McCoy, the artist of The Phantom comic strip, died, Infantino finished one of his last stories. Infantino was a candidate for taking over the Phantom Sunday strip after McCoy's death, but the job was instead given to Sy Barry.

 DC Comics editorial director
In late 1966/early 1967, Infantino was tasked by Irwin Donenfeld with designing covers for the entire DC line. Stan Lee learned this and approached Infantino with a $22,000 offer to move to Marvel. Publisher Jack Liebowitz confirmed that DC could not match the offer, but could promote Infantino to the position of art director. Initially reluctant, Infantino accepted what Liebowitz posed as a challenge, and decided to stay with DC. When DC was sold to Kinney National Company, Infantino was promoted to editorial director. He started by hiring new talent, and promoting artists to editorial positions. He hired Dick Giordano away from Charlton Comics, and made artists Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert and Mike Sekowsky editors. New talents such as artist Neal Adams and writer Denny O'Neil were brought into the company. Several of DC's older characters were revamped by O'Neil including Wonder Woman; Batman; Green Lantern and Green Arrow; and Superman.

In 1970, Infantino signed on Marvel Comics' star artist and storytelling collaborator, Jack Kirby, to a DC Comics contract. Beginning with Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Kirby created his Fourth World saga that wove through that existing title and three new series he created. After the "Fourth World" titles were canceled, Kirby created several other series for DC including OMAC, Kamandi, The Demon, and, together with former partner Joe Simon for one last time, a new incarnation of the Sandman before returning to freelancing for Marvel in 1975.

Infantino was made DC's publisher in early 1971, during a time of declining circulation for the company's comics, and he attempted a number of changes. In an effort to raise revenue, he raised the cover price of DC's comics from 15 to 25 cents, simultaneously raising the page-count by adding reprints and new backup features. Marvel met the price increase, then dropped back to 20 cents; DC stayed at 25 cents for about a year, a decision that ultimately proved bad for overall sales.

Infantino and writer Len Wein co-created the "Human Target" feature in Action Comics #419 . The character was adapted into a short-lived ABC television series starring Rick Springfield which debuted in July 1992.

After working with writer Mario Puzo on the Superman movie, Infantino collaborated with Marvel on the historic company-crossover publication Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man. Yet in January 1976, before sales on that hit book had been recorded, Warner Communications replaced Infantino with Jenette Kahn, a person new to the comics field. Infantino returned to drawing freelance.

 Later career

Infantino later drew for a number of titles for Warren Publishing and Marvel, including the latter's Star Wars, Spider-Woman, and Nova. In 1981, he returned to DC Comics and co-created a revival of the "Dial H for Hero" feature with writer Marv Wolfman in a special insert in Legion of Super-Heroes #272 . Infantino returned to The Flash title with issue #296 and drew the book until its cancellation with issue #350 . Other projects in the 1980s included penciling The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, a Red Tornado miniseries, and a comic book tie-in to the television series V.

In 2004, he sued DC for rights to characters he alleges to have created while he was a freelancer for the company. These include several Flash characters including Wally West, Iris West, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Mirror Master, and Gorilla Grodd, as well as the Elongated Man and Batgirl. , Infantino is retired.

Infantino has written or contributed two books about his life and career: The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino (Vanguard Productions, ISBN 1-887591-12-5), and Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur (Tomorrows Publishing, ISBN 1-6054-9025-3)

Infantino is the uncle of Massachusetts musician Jim Infantino, of the band Jim's Big Ego. He contributed the cover art to the group's album They're Everywhere, which features a song about the Flash called "The Ballad of Barry Allen."

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Carmine Infantino", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.