Carmine Infantino and Roger Ebert.


Carmine Infantino, taking a short break from kicking ass.

In 1947, Infantino drew his first story for DC Comics at the age of 22.   It was a Johnny Thunder back-up story in FLASH COMICS # 86.  It happened to introduce the world to the BLACK CANARY, a character still popular sixty-five years later.

black canary first

So Carmine Infantino was making comic book history, literally from the word “go”.

You need more history?  Okay, the entire comics industry as it exists today, is built (essentially) from this single issue from 1956:

showcase 4When Carmine Infantino and Bob Kanigher (along with Julie Schwartz) re-imagined the moribund character of The Flash in Showcase #4,  they started the Silver Age of comics.  Adopting the new, science fiction style of the atomic age, they made the modern super-hero streamlined, slick, sexy, and a huge hit.  Soon followed Green Lantern, then the Justice League, then the Fantastic Four and Marvel Comics and us all getting into the hobby, and you reading this blog.  The floodgates started here.

And any time you think Batman was rescued from obscurity by Frank Miller graphic novels in the 80s, you should know that Carmine Infantino was the first one to pull that re-designing the Dark Knight voodo-kung-fu s*** back in the early 60s.  Before Infantino, The Caped Crusader was doing this:

rainboy batman

Carmine’s “New Look” Batman, saved us from Rainbow Batman, Zebra Batman, Monkey Batman and the Ghost of Batman-Monkey of Rainbow Zebra World with this kind of thing:

I dare you to tell me you've never seen this iconic version of Batman from the 60s...

I dare you to tell me you’ve never seen this iconic Carmine Infantino version of Batman from the 60s…

That image is so iconic, we stole it for a cover of Batman and Robin Adventures I worked on.

Rick Burchett did the cover here.

Rick Burchett did the cover here.

But hey, it’s not like we were the only ones to do this cover…

action steal

captain atom steal

manhunter steal

robinspoiler stealDat’s what I mean by an ICONIC image.

Now a few more of my favorite things:

Deadman.  Infantino co-created Deadman.  I freaking LOVE Deadman.

Infantino co-created Deadman. I freaking LOVE Deadman.

Batgirl (the one you like) is  Infantino as well.

Batgirl (the one you like) is Infantino as well.

The whole Earth-2 meshuga that DC Comics is still dealing with.  Carmine's there for that one.

The whole Earth-2 meshuga that DC Comics is still dealing with. Carmine’s there for that one.

Guess who got this fanboy jeans-creamer up and running?

Guess who got this fanboy jeans-creamer up and running?   70s era DC COMICS publisher Carmine Infantino, obviously, or I wouldn’t have brought it up.

Infantino is the one who lured Kirby over to DC Comics when Carmine was made publisher...

Infantino is the one who lured Kirby over to DC Comics around the same time.

Which led to the creation of my favorite comic book series of all time.

Which led to the creation of my favorite comic book series of all time.  Yeah, I said it, and I’ll defend it with my bare hands.

We’ve barely skipped over the surface of this man’s long and very impressive career, and there are more qualified writers out there to tell the details of that story.  I didn’t know Carmine Infantino personally, but he was such a huge presence in the comics that shaped my love of this art form, I had to say thank you in my own way on the occasion of his passing away.

Even though it’s too late to do any good.

So thank you, Mr. Infantino.  You made so much of it wonderful.



Another iconic image. The thumb is up.

Earlier in the same day, beloved film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert also died.

I didn’t know Roger Ebert personally, either, but apparently he’d read some of my Batman comic books, and had come across one of my Bun Toons or something and he sent me a facebook friend request  a couple of years ago.  After determining that it was, indeed, the real Roger Ebert, I was delighted to accept, and ended up having a few little IM chats with him over the next couple of years.  Not often, and never anything long or meaningful, but I did get the chance to tell him how much I loved his writing, and greatly admired his courage in continuing to be a public person after losing his jaw to cancer.  

When I heard he’d died yesterday, I was quite sad, of course…but I also had this strange joy that I lived in the internet age and that I had actually gotten a rare chance to tell Mr. Ebert directly how much I appreciated him, instead of saying so only in a posthumous blog post like I just did with Carmine Infantino.

What a world.

Ty the Guy OUT!


Bonus Carmine Infantino Moments:

Flash 163

That Batman and Robin Adventures cover wasn’t the ONLY time I was involved in swiping stuff from Mr. Infantino… I stole a Flash cover from him for an issue of Marvel’s MAD DOG:

mad dog steal

When I was drawing my ELONGATED MAN issue of Secret Origins (many moons ago), I stole the layout style (as well as a few more cover compositions shown here) from the way Carmine used to cut up a page.  Those three ‘n’ three panel layout pages were very Infantino.

Panels 2 and 3 are Infantino Flash covers, line for line.

Me doing a pastiche of Carmine.  Panels 2 and 3 are Infantino Flash covers, line for line, by the way…

Here’s me doing an Infantino-style Justice League cover for the Silver Age Month that DC Comics did a dozen years ago.

Silver JLAAnd while we’re on the subject of the SILVER AGE MONTH…I had the mind-boggling good fortune of being asked to draw the Flash issue of that cross-over….

Silver_Age_Flash_Vol_1_1…which featured a CARMINE INFANTINO COVER!!

Damn, that was cool.

11 responses to “Carmine Infantino and Roger Ebert.

  1. Paul the Curmudgeon

    Carmine Infantino taught me how to read when I was four – I would ask my Dad to read and re-read issues of Flash and Mystery In Space out loud to me as bedtime reading, while I looked over his shoulder. To shorten the ritual he’d begin selectively skipping some of the word balloons, and I’d say “Hey, you missed the part where Captain Boomerang says such-and-such”. That’s when my Dad knew I was reading.
    Many years later I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Infantino at a convention – walked up to him and said “May I shake the hand that drew Adam Strange?” (He didn’t give the reply that James Joyce gave to a similar question – “Oh no, it did plenty of other things, too”). Sadly (I thought), he told me he didn’t miss drawing in the least. Apparently the same was true of Bob Oksner, who went so far as to give away his drawing board. I suppose everything becomes just a job eventually. But those two were among the very best.

    • Thanks for the shared memories, Paul. I have a friend named David Henman, who was a founding member of the group APRIL WINE. David is a magnificently skilled guitar player, but he once told me he will not even pick the instrument up unless there’s a pay cheque involved. It’s no longer “fun” for him to just pick it up and play. That shocked me when he told me, but he then asked me how often I drew Batman when I wasn’t being paid, and I realized I don’t do that either. I DO sketch every day to keep my hand agile, but I’m still a working professional, who draws for a living and it’s part of my work day. I wonder how much I’ll draw once I retire…hmm…probably not that much. It all becomes a job to all of us, but I’m still aware of how lucky we are to have these gigs.

  2. Losses that are more than words can express. Good coverage Ty.


    Steven Willis

  3. One of the first comics my dad ever bought for me was a Millennium Edition Reprint of Flash 123. I loved that book so much and I read it all the time, and after yesterdays new I dug around and found it to read it again. RIP Carmine, you will not be forgotten.

  4. I know a similar anecdote. Michael Hutchison, the other crazy Elongated Man fan (more like the original EM fan) once asked Infantino about his ductile character and he got an unexpected answer, I’ll let him tell the story: “I was so nervous, but I finally saw an opportunity and raised my hand. I told him how I was the world’s biggest fan of his creation Elongated Man, I babbled on a bit about how I thought he had a lot of unrealized potential, and what did he think about Elongated Man now?

    “Carmine, looking rather perplexed by my devotion to his creation, narrowed his eyes a bit and asked, “You, uh, you’ve heard of Plastic Man, right?”
    I’ll admit it. I was a little stunned. I had been defending Ralph Dibny as his own unique character for years. I explained to other fans time and again how they were different in personality, powers and their place in the DCU. And yet the guy who created him saw him as little more than a copy of Plastic Man!”

    It seems to me that Carmine used to be a little pessimistic and perhaps unsatisfied with his own work. I think it’s possible that the look never satisfied him, dumping his original design in favor of something that looks closer to Plastic Man.

    These days we know that even a concept as lame as Vibe has potential. I think that Carmine is wrong Ralph is under-looked. Vibe had nothing going on for him and Johns apparently fixed him. Morrison did the same for Animal Man (another Infantino guy). Ralph on the other hand, besides the amazing visuals (Infantino set the bar pretty from the start), he has a power that is built for spying and a fail-safe formula for serial fiction: the peculiar detective. At least Julie and Wein seem to have had faith in the character, placing him on ‘tec and then the League.

    Sticking to the Flash for so long seems a sign on the opposite, and it is posible that he was just joking with Michael, but I still wonder if Carmine, like many artists, had low self-satifaction, and didn’t realize how great were all his creations.

  5. I met and got to interview Carmine back in 2007 at the Fan Expo Toronto ComiCON. I enjoyed talking with him, he was a very nice guy.

  6. A great post and tribute Ty!
    Both of these gentlemen add wonderfully to the world and wil be greatly missed. : )

  7. Pingback: Meet The Cuddly Defenders A Teddy Bear Tales illustration and a look at things to come… | The Teddy Bear Tales Of Wonder And Adventure

  8. An endlessly epic post.

  9. Rick Burchett

    Ty–thanks for including my small contribution to the Infantino tribute, but there’s one you may not know about. Back when DC was doing those Batman pin-up books (Dark Knight Gallery, maybe they were called) I was asked to ink a piece that mirrored the famous 60’s roof top image, only featuring Nightwing and Robin. It had a quick turn around, as did just about everything else I was handed at the time. I had just completed another pin-up for the same issue where I had inked Dick Sprang. The penciller of the new one? Carmine Infantino. Sometimes you just get lucky.

  10. Pingback: Meet The Cuddly Defenders A Teddy Bear Tales illustration and a look at things to come… « Alt World

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