Friday, April 5, 2013

Carmine Infantino 1925-2013

I was working late last evening when I learned that Carmine Infantino passed away.

While best known for his work on the Flash, he was a prolific artist and touched just about every DC book there was, either as a penciler or as an editor. Many of the posts about his work talk about his Flash, his Batman, his Batgirl, and even his Star Wars books for Marvel. But for me, he is best known for his work on the Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, having drawn every issue of the title.

When I first collected Daring, I thought Infantino's are was pretty lousy. But as with many of the greats who I originally belittled in my youth (names like Ditko and Kirby come to mind), I rediscovered Infantino later in life and understood and appreciated his work better. The Supergirl in this book had come into her own, was confident in her skills, and used her powers to the maximum. There was a certain sort of strength and joy in how Infantino drew her in the book, something which is obvious to me now. I mean, look at that Kara in the panel above. She is pretty happy and comfortable with who she is.

I recently stumbled onto that picture in the 1983 DC Sampler, a free book with 2 page layouts publicizing some of the ongoing title DC was putting out at the time. The book was released on 6/20/83 (per Mike's Amazing World of Comics )  and had spreads for many of the DC books that were coming out or popular at the time, including Infantino's Supergirl.

Here is the complete Supergirl promo piece, a 2 page recap of recent issues by creative team writer Paul Kupperberg and Infantino.

"Echoes of Times Gone By" is light on content as it basically reviews Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #'s 8-12. I miss this Supergirl. She was an established character with her own personality. She was confident and strong and talked to Superman like a colleague ... not like he was a mentor and she was a sidekick.

The biggest thing here is that first page showcasing the new Supergirl costume complete with red skirt and shoulders and fancy yellow trimmed boots. This is the costume that this Supergirl wore for the remainder of her story right up to Crisis on Infinite Earths.Given the solicit date, this was probably the first place that this new costume was seen!

But Infantino adds a lot more to the pages than just that opening splash. From the first panel of the flashbacks with Kara's profile to the action scene with Reactron, everything flows nicely. His Flash was a very fluid blur running across the pages. I have a better grasp of his genius now.

I had the honor of meeting Carmine Infantino a couple of years ago at the Boston Comic Con and got to thank him for his time on Supergirl and his work in the field.

My condolences to Mr. Infantino's friends and family. Another legend has passed and he will be missed.

The Sampler is a nice little addition to any Supergirl collection given its scarcity and that it is the first place for the headband costume (oddly without headband) to be seen.


Martin Gray said...

Thanks for such a lovely tribute to one of the greats, Anj. Carmine was indeed THE Supergirl artist in her final period, and his confident, sweeping lines did indeed suit Kara in this, her most mature period. That's MY Kara and I miss her so much.

She is, though, kidding herself is she thinks her new outfit doesn't scream 'based on an original design by Ma Kent'.

Anonymous said...

Carmine Infantino and writer Paul Kupperberg made a desperate last minute attempt to pull Supergirl back from the brink. That they failed is no reflection on their considerable talents rather it is indicative of the magnitude of neglect and editorial contempt applied to the character.

Peace to is ashes, his Supergirl is that last version of the character to date to absolutely dominate her storytelling environment.
Makes ya wonder don't it?


Gustavo Delamarques said...