Carmine Infantino, legendary comic book artist and former DC Comics editorial director, passed away today. He was 87.
Born May 24, 1925 in Brooklyn, New York, Infantino attended the School of Industrial Art for high school in Manhattan. Perhaps best known for his work on “Batman” with writer John Broome during the reinvention of the character in 1964, Infantino also designed the Silver Age Flash’s now-iconic red and yellow costume and co-created a number of his rogues, including Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Gorilla Grodd and Captain Boomerang. Infantino worked for a vast array of publishers during his career as a comic book artist, starting with the story “Jack Frost” in Timely Comics’ “USA Comics” #3. After working for a number of other publishers, Infantino started his work for DC Comics and introduced the original Black Canary in “Flash Comics” #86 before going on to co-create a Barbara Gordon as a new version of Batgirl in “Detective Comics” #359 with Gardner Fox, and co-creating Deadman with Arnold Drake.
Infantino took on the position of DC Comics editorial director in the 1960s, hiring Dick Giordano and promoting Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert and Mike Sekowsky to editors at the publisher. During Infantino’s tenure as editorial director, Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil joined DC — Infantino even managed to hire then-Marvel mainstay Jack Kirby to the publisher. Before Infantino was replaced as editorial director in 1975, he co-created “Human Target” and helped coordinate the cross-publisher comic “Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man.” After his time at DC editorial, Infantino went back to freelance work, illustrating “Star Wars,” “Spider-Woman” and “Nova” for Marvel, and took over the “Batman” newspaper comic strip in 1990, drawing the strip until its cancellation. Although he retired in the ’90s, Infantino continued to make convention appearances in the 2000s, appearing as a special guest of the Florida Supercon just last year.
During an interview with The Comics Journal in 2010, Infantino offered some insight on his career in comics, choosing to finish the interview by thanking his colleagues.
“I really do want to thank all those wonderful artists, writers, editors, staff people, every one of them that I worked with. I think they were wonderful people, brilliant and creative, and I enjoyed every minute with them. And they made my job a joy,” Infantino told The Comics Journal. “I’d like to finalize this with some quotations from two people that I think will sum up my whole world of comics. One was Charles Dickens, in The Tale of Two Cities when he said, ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.’ And then, Paul Anka’s wonderful line, ‘I did it my way.’ That sums it up for me pretty much.”
A true comic book legend, Infantino leaves behind a legacy of work and contributions to the history of comics that will always be remembered by his fans. CBR’s thoughts and wishes go out to Carmine Infantino’s friends and family.
UPDATED: Via DC Comics’s The Source blog, DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio as well as DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson have expressed their thoughts about Infantino’s passing.
“Carmine was a legend. The number of classic covers he created are innumerable. His influence, reach and impact is humbling and will always live on.” – Jim Lee
“There are few people in this world that have had as much of an impact on the industry as Carmine. He bridged both the Golden and Silver Ages of comics, shepherding in some of the most successful periods in our history and setting the course of our characters that is still seen today. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will remain forever.” – Dan DiDio
“The entire DC Entertainment family is saddened by the loss of Carmine Infantino. His contributions to the comics industry and to DC Comics in particular are immense and impossible to quantify. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans during this difficult time.” – Diane Nelson