Carmine Infantino 1925-2013

April 5, 2013

This week has seen the passing of a number of entertainment greats, from Jane Henson to the recent death of Roger Ebert. In that shuffle, one name shouldn’t get lost and that’s Carmine Infantino. A legend in comics, he was also one of the guys who (unknown to me when I was a kid) was a huge influence on my art. I never bothered to check the names in the credits when I was little (what kid cares so long as the art is cool), and by the time I started to pay attention to stuff like that, I had moved on to other artists and books. It didn’t really matter, because I had already soaked up valuable influences from great artists without realizing it until much later, and Mr. Infantino was a big one of them.

When I was little, as I may have mentioned before, my mom would let me loose in the “Great Escape”; the best comic shop in Nashville at the time. They had long-boxes out the ears —for non-comic peeps it’s just a cardboard box for storing books vertically so you can read titles while flipping thru them—

longbox

I was a huge Super Friends fan (still am) so I gravitated to books about the characters on that show. One of my favorites was the Flash (being a slow, fat kid, it’s obvious why I’d idolize a guy who could run the speed of light after being struck by lightning and doused in unidentified chemicals), and as I pick wine now, I chose books by the cover art. Yes, a pretty label catches my eye, and although you normally shouldn’t judge a book by, you know— when you saw one drawn by Carmine Infantino, you knew you were gonna get something fun. The best thing about being a kid? You don’t get caught up in the crap over book conditions and all that, just the question of “will it be a fun read”? Scotch tape on the spine, missing staples, creased corners, faded reds, falling out interiors, BAH! This was perfectly acceptable to a kid of 6, and and dirt cheap prices I could get a stack for the few bucks mom would give me.

Flash_118

Most of his art that I knew was from his work on the Flash, and they always seemed to be packed with tension and excitement. Something dangerous, or tragic, was about to happen, and the Flash (despite his great speed) always seemed to be arriving a fraction of a second too late.

Flash_116

Or his power was so strong that he couldn’t stop in time to prevent something from happening, like the Kid-Flash getting a new costume by accident (isn’t that always the way it happens)?

Flash_135

There always seemed to a race with another hero over some issue or another, but any true fan knew who the “fastest man alive” was!

Flash_199

Flash_123

He also taught me that the coolest villains were they ones with the same powers, but who used theirs for e-vil. You have to say it that way- Eeeeeevil.

Flash_139

Mr. Infantino also scared the crap out of me as a kid. When he wasn’t working on the Flash, he was drawing other characters with the same level of intensity. Case in point, this Batman cover scared the poop out of me. Surely Batman couldn’t be dead?! As a kid, believe me, I was actually worried (ah, silly boy).

Detective_355

More than that, Mr. Infantino taught me some of the first basics of drawing. While teachers in school were making me glue macaroni onto heavily dyed sheets of plywood, textured paper, I was getting proper art lessons from Mr. Infantino. Ok, not personally, but there it was in a comic- how to draw the Flash!

How to Draw Flash

Mr. Infantino was a a great artist, and his contribution to comics can’t be forgotten; I know I won’t. Rest well sir.

For more information on his actual career check out this link on Comic Resources. 

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