As a youngster, Carmine Infantino struggled to break into comics around the demands of his school schedule, making a number of sales and working on a variety of titles for different publishers including Hillman Periodicals, Fawcett, Holyoke, and DC Comics. He also worked for Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's Prize Comics during his early days. When editor Julius Schwartz paired him with writer Robert Kanigher on a revival of the Golden Age superhero The Flash in Showcase #4, though, lightning struck more than just the main character.
The legendary artist, art director and publisher passed away Thursday, April 4, 2013, less than two months before his 88th birthday.
“Like many other comic book fans my age (and many who came after), I grew up on Carmine’s Flash. His linear style of art, which certainly increased over the years, lent itself to the fast-moving action of Barry Allen’s adventures and really helped pull readers in,” said Steve Geppi, President and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors. “He was a good paisano, and while I am saddened by our loss, I am thankful for the rich and lasting legacy of storytelling he leaves behind.”
"Carmine was a unique talent in comics history: one of the most refined artists of the Golden Age, the artist who launched the Silver Age, the artist who won the fan awards as they were first launched, the designer of many of DC's most memorable covers, an editorial leader who launched a wave of experiments and the only artist ever to lead the #1 comics publisher. He had a sharp eye, a willingness to take chances on people and ideas, and I'm honored to have served my apprentince years at his DC," said former DC Comics President and Publisher Paul Levitz.
“Carmine Infantino was a tremendous force for innovation in the comic book industry. From co-creating the Silver Age Flash to giving the go-ahead for Jack Kirby’s Fourth World titles, he was frequently an engine for change. He helped make the first meeting of Superman and Spider-Man possible, and later drew a number of now-beloved issues of Star Wars for Marvel. I was glad to have his work on the cover of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and I suspect his influence will last in our industry for a very long time,” said author and publisher Robert M. Overstreet.
Showing his illustration and design talents on characters ranging from the science fiction adventurer Adam Strange to serious superhero Batman to somewhat silly hero Elongated Man, Infantino became DC's Art Director, Editorial Director and eventually Publisher, supervising among other things the first Marvel - DC crossover, Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. Following his staff tenure, he returned to work as a freelancer, illustrating Star Wars, Nova, and Spider-Woman for Marvel and various others for DC.
As with man of the greats, it’s difficult to measure their impact solely in terms of their own work on the printed page. Often is their impact on others by which their true measure is taken.
“So sad to learn of the passing of another comic book legend. Carmine Infantino was one of the great influential artists in the history of the medium and I will always look upon his Adam Strange, Flash and Space Museum stories as wondrous examples of fantasy made even more magical at the hands of a master. RIP, Carmine,” artist George Pérez posted on his Facebook page.
“Carmine was one of the first comics artists whose style I could recognize on sight, back as the regular artist on Marvel's Star Wars book,” posed Star Wars writer John Jackson Miller.
“When you think of the definitive Flash, you think of Carmine’s brilliant work. His innovations with speed lines, ways of delineating super-speed in a panel made Flash just so much fun. Carmine will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family. We are all at a loss,” said Vincent Zurzolo, Chief Operating Officer of Metropolis Collectibles.
“I'm extremely sad to learn that DC artist, art director, and publisher Carmine Infantino has passed away today. He was interviewed and featured in our book The Batcave Companion. Carmine was the inspiration for my cover design of the upcoming issue of Noir City. Infantino was a legend in the comic book business, he redefined both Batman and The Flash and was DC's publisher when I was reading their comics as a kid,” writer-designer-historian Michael Kronenberg posted.
“The entire DC Entertainment family is saddened by the loss of Carmine Infantino,” said Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment President. “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.”
Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher commented, “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.”
“There are few people in this world that have had as much of an impact on the industry as Carmine,” added DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio. “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.”