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Carmine Infantino

Biography

Carmine Infantino

Carmine Infantino, born in Brooklyn, New York on May 24,1925, is a comic book artist and editor who was a major force in the creation of the Silver Age of comic books.

He started his comics career in the 1940s, and one of his earliest jobs came when he and friend Frank Giacoia drew Jack Frost, with Giacoia penciling and Infantino inking. Infantino worked for several publishers during the 40's, drawing Airboy and The Heap for Hillman, working for the low page rates of the Jack Binder shop (supplying Fawcett Comics ), stopping briefly at Holyoke, then landing back at DC where he became a regular on the Golden Age Black Canary, Green Lantern, Justice Society of America and the Flash.

During the early '50s, he freelanced for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby 's company Prize Comics, drawing Charlie Chan, showing the influence both Kirby and Milton Caniff had on the young artist. At DC, with the demise of most of the '40s heroes, Infantino drew within many genres, including westerns, mysteries and science fiction. As his style continued to evolve, he shed the Kirbyisms and the gritty shading of Caniff, developing his clean linear style of almost pure design, aka the Infantino touch - as though one were seeing a fresh blueprint for the future.

In 1956, he walked into the office of editor Julius Schwartz to drop off some artwork, when Schwartz told him he was going to be drawing super heroes again. Schwartz had made the decision to bring back the Flash for DC's newest title Showcase. The script would be by Robert Kanigher, and Infantino was in charge of finding the look for the new science-fiction based Flash.

Going home to draw the character in a red and yellow uniform, Infantino strived to keep it as simple as possible. He used the theme of blinding speed as a motif for the lighting bolts and wings on the cowl and boots. He relied upon his design abilities to create a new visual language to depict the Flash's speed, making the figure a red and yellow blur. It took a bit for this new version of the Flash character to catch on, going through six tryout issues of Showcase before gaining his own book. Numbering was started with #105, continuing the numbering of the old Flash title of the Golden Age - thus causing most new fans to think that somehow they'd missed 104 issues!

Infantino continued to work for Schwartz in his other titles, most notable becoming the second artist to draw the strip Adam Strange after Mike Sekowsky . With his design sensibilities (he once said he tried to take all the "drawing" out of his pages, but Murphy Anderson kept putting it back in) he soon made the strip his own.

In 1964, Schwartz was also handed the fading Batman titles and asked to try to bring them back to life. Tapped for the job were scripter John Broome and Infantino.

They got rid of the sillier aspects that had crept into the series (Ace the Bathound, Bat-Mite, various alien villains, etc.) and put Batman and Robin back to solving mysteries.

Carmine Infantino