From many news sources online, and from George Perez’s fan page on Facebook, I am very sad to announce the passing of longtime DC great Carmine Infantino at the age of 87. He had a long and illustrious career throughout the comics industry starting in the 40’s, working at several companies, including Fawcett, until he settled in to DC in the late 40’s as Jay Garrick Flash artist until the title was cancelled. He also did other DC titles, including several pages in several different issues of All-Star Comics whenever the Flash was featured.
He was also there when DC via the late Julius Schwartz was deciding to help DC’s then struggling line of comics by recreating several heroes, the first being the Flash, in the 1950’s. The new Flash, Barry Allen, made his debut in Showcase #4 in 1956. Following 6 issues of being in Showcase, he was graduated to his own title, and Carmine decided rather than create a new issue #1, he would continue the numbering sequence with #105 (vol.1). As a result of this successful creation, which is considered by many as the heralding of the ‘Silver Age’, many other recreated heroes followed such as Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Atom Ray Palmer, and alien Thanagarian Hawkman Katar Hol, all based on science rather than history or magic like their Golden Age predecessors. Carmine also helped in the restoring of Batman back to his Golden Age roots a bit by eliminating all those alien and Bat-Mite stories, and returning him to his detective roots once more, alongside Robin, and his newest creation: Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, still a mainstay in the DCU to this day.
By the 1970’s, he was promoted up to Editor, and was responsible for bringing in the next generation of new writers and artists, such as Dick Giordano from Charlton comics, and an up and coming artist named Neal Adams, who had also worked alongside Dick, and at Marvel, carving his niche out on the X-Men book alongside Roy Thomas as writer. Through these hirings, he was also later appointed Publisher by DC and helped usher in new heroes to add to the then-DCU, such as the acquisiton of both the Quality comics heroes (such as Uncle Sam, who was joined with other Quality heroes to form the Freedom Fighters in 1975 as a new title as part of DC’s line expansion), and the loaning from Fawcett of Shazam! aka the original Capt. Marvel (alongside the Marvel family as well when he was given his own title by DC in 1973, as well as having his own live action tv series from 1975-78 from Filmation) to DC. He was also there when real life issues were tackled in comics such as drug use, or racism, or feminism at DC. After a few years, he left DC in late 1978 after the ‘DC explosion’/implosion fiasco by their new owners, Warner Brothers (who had purchased DC via their acquisition of National Periodical Publications), and went to Marvel for a few years, where he did several titles for them, including a run on Star Wars from issues 11-38 (before the Empire Strikes Back adaptation in 1980 started in issues 40-44 with a new art team, with a fill-in by Michael Golden on issue #39. Of note: He did the covers though for the U.K. edition of Star Wars Weekly when The Empire Strikes Back was adapted) then his return from issues 45-48 and Nova.
By mid 1981, Carmine returned to DC in full force by returning to draw his most favorite character: Flash Barry Allen, and continued drawing him in his title until the title was cancelled at issue #350- cover dated Oct. 1985, one month before Barry had met his fate during Crisis on Infinite Earths, in issue #8- cover dated Nov. 1985. He still continued drawing for DC on occasion, and kept on it until his retirement circa 2000. He was also on the convention circuit as well making personal appearances until his failing health made those appearances less and less, the last known of which was in late 2012. I myself had the pleasure of seeing him in person one last time at Supercon 2012, and even had him sign a few of my books, the proudest in my collection being a poor copy of Flash (vol.1) issue 123.
Overall, Carmine has made many contributions to the comic industry and he will be truly missed- May he truly Rest In Peace, his spirit now one with the fabled ‘Speed Force’.