Carmine Infantino, 1925-2013

Carmine Infantino

Carmine Infantino

     The world of comic books lost a legend on April 4, 2013 when artist Carmine Infantino passed away at the age of 87. His incredible career spanned the 1940’s to the 1990’s.

     I was introduced to Infantino’s work in the 1980’s with his runs on Marvel’s Star Wars and DC’s Flash. At first, I wasn’t what you’d call a “big fan.”  In fact, I actually penned what was surely a poorly worded piece of hate mail to him back when I was in 6th grade.  Flash #301 came out, and for some reason, it just flew all over me.  I honestly can’t remember what about the issue set me off, but I got out my notebook paper & crayons and proceeded to go all pre-internet troll on the poor guy.

     For years, I labored under the impression that I mailed that letter and I always regretted it.  Later on, while in the Army, I went out of my way to snag his Star Wars & Flash issues as well as his Silver Age work on Batman & Detective Comics.  I guess my twenty year old taste was much better than my twelve year old self.

    Years later, while flipping through some hardback history books left over from my childhood, I came across the infamous Carmine Infantino Hate Letter jammed inside of one. Holy crap! I never mailed it!  What a relief that was.  I had mentally kicked myself in the butt many a time over that letter and hoped it never got to Carmine.

     For me, one of the disappointing things about today’s comic book artists is that their work all looks alike to me.  Now that may just be because I’m less immersed in the hobby than I was in my twenties. But whether it’s them or just me, there are still a few “old school” artists whose work I can identify from across a room and Carmine Infantino is one of those guys.  Like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Carmine had a unique artistic style that still resonates with me.

     If you’re a comic book fan, and you’re not familiar with his work, do yourself a favor and track some of it down.  I highly recommend The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino by Carmine himself and J. David Spurlock for a great overview of this legend’s career. Finally, my boys over at Two True Freaks just posted a nicely done episode of  their Comics Monthly Monday podcast dedicated to Carmine Infantino’s career.

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