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 Carmine Infantino  (1925 - 2013)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: comic strip illustration, Batman

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Ad Code: 2
Carmine Infantino
from Auction House Records.
The Flash #137 Earth-1/Earth-2 Crossover Cover Original Art
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is The New York Times obituary of the artist:

"Carmine Infantino, Reviver of Batman and Flash, Dies at 87"
Published: April 5, 2013

Carmine Infantino — the man who SAVED BATMAN! — died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. Mr. Infantino, a celebrated comic-book artist who also drew the Flash, was 87. His agent, J. David Spurlock, confirmed the death.

Mr. Infantino’s dynamic, avant-garde aesthetic helped usher in the “silver age” of comic books, which held sway from the mid-1950s to about 1970. He was known in particular for his long association with DC Comics, where he began as an artist, became an editor and was later the publisher.

Sleek and streamlined, Mr. Infantino’s work married comic-book art — formerly busier and baggier — to midcentury modernism. He was considered one of the industry’s finest pencilers, as the artist who first gives a story visual form is known. (An inker follows behind, filling in the penciler’s lines.)

As a cover artist Mr. Infantino was a master of motion, and on each of the blizzard of covers he drew for DC, the title character seems to spring from the page, straight toward the viewer.

He was also famed for his death-defying resuscitation of two of DC’s most terminal cases: the Flash, selling poorly at midcentury and threatened with cancellation, and Batman, similarly consigned.

Carmine Michael Infantino was born in Brooklyn on May 24, 1925. As a boy, he adored drawing and dreamed of becoming an architect, but family finances amid the Depression put that calling out of reach.
The young Mr. Infantino enrolled in the School of Industrial Art, a Manhattan public high school now known as the High School of Art and Design. When he was still only a freshman there, he began working part-time for the noted comic-book packager Harry Chesler.

In the coming years, Mr. Infantino did freelance illustrations for several comic-book publishers. His first comic for DC was The Black Canary (1947), which introduced the sultry superheroine of the title.

By the mid-1950s, when Mr. Infantino was contributing regularly to DC, comic books were under siege. The chief assailant was Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist whose inflammatory 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, argued that they were, for America’s youth, the first big step on the road to the depths of degradation.

Dr. Wertham’s primary targets were the crime and horror comics whose popularity had by then eclipsed the superheroes of an earlier, gentler age. As the comic-book industry scrambled to allay the public’s fears, those tired superheroes would be called upon to come to its rescue.

In 1956, DC’s editor, Julius Schwartz, asked Mr. Infantino and the writer Robert Kanigher to revamp the Flash, created in 1940 and by the mid-’50s in woeful decline. If sales did not improve in six months, the two men were told, the series would be dropped.

Mr. Infantino put his minimalist eye to work, streamlining the hero, creating his now-familiar red-and-yellow costume and capturing his preternatural speed in a dynamic blur of color. The new Flash was a hit, and Mr. Infantino became the artist most closely associated with the character.

In 1964, Mr. Infantino and the writer John Broome were asked to work similar magic on Batman. In Mr. Infantino’s hands, Batman took on an urbane, Bondian aspect. This “new look” Batman, as he was known to the trade, inspired the ABC television series starring Adam West and originally broadcast from 1966 to 1968.

In the late 1960s, Mr. Infantino became DC’s art director and, soon afterward, its editorial director. In 1970, he lured the artist Jack Kirby, one of the brightest stars in the comic-book firmament, away from Marvel, a coup akin to the Yankees’ acquisition of Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox. During the 1970s, Mr. Infantino served as DC’s publisher.

Mr. Infantino, who leaves no immediate survivors, was a former faculty member of the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

In 2004, Mr. Infantino, whose illustrations for DC were done on a freelance basis, sued the company and its corporate parent, Time Warner, for the intellectual-property rights to a range of characters he created. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Though Mr. Infantino was long famous as a creator of a spate of superheroes — including Batgirl, Elongated Man, Wally West and Deadman — he did not care for the superhero genre very much, a fact he made plain in interviews.

He much preferred humorous figures. Of all the characters Mr. Infantino drew, Mr. Spurlock said, his favorite was Detective Chimp, a simian Sherlock in a deerstalker cap.

Biography from Heritage Auctions:
Carmine Infantino attended both the School of Industrial Arts and the Art Students League in New York City, and broke into comic books as the illustrator of Timely's Jack Frost feature in 1942.  In 1946, he began working at DC, illustrating the Golden Age Flash, Green Lantern, the Black Canary, and Johnny Thunder.

In the fifties Infantino's drawing style evolved into a streamlined, design-oriented style, said to have been influenced by artists Edd Cartier and Lou Fine.  Perhaps Infantino's most celebrated work is his Silver Age version of the Flash, which he drew for eleven years, from 1956 -1967.

During this peak period, he also drew the fan-favorite features Adam Strange, Batman, and the origin episode of Deadman.  From the late sixties to the late seventies, Infantino served as the Editorial Director and then publisher of DC. He oversaw innovative new titles like Bat Lash, Captain Marvel, Hawk and Dove, Creeper, The Shadow, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Jack Kirby's Fourth World titles, and Joe Kubert's Tarzan comic books.

Under his reign many artists became editors at DC for the first time.  When Infantino was replaced as an executive at DC, he returned to the art board and drew features for Warren Publishing, Marvel, and DC.

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