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.
You need more history? Okay, the entire comics industry as it exists today, is built (essentially) from this single issue from 1956:
When 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:
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:
That image is so iconic, we stole it for a cover of Batman and Robin Adventures I worked on.
But hey, it’s not like we were the only ones to do this cover…
Now a few more of my favorite things:
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.
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:
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:
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.
Here’s me doing an Infantino-style Justice League cover for the Silver Age Month that DC Comics did a dozen years ago.
Damn, that was cool.