Obit of the Day: Creator of The Flash and Batgirl
In 1956 Brooklyn-born comic book artist Carmine Infantino revived a superhero. The Flash, “The Fastest Man Alive,” arrived on the front cover of Showcase Comics issue #4. Wearing his now familiar read suit and lightning bolt logo, The Flash was literally bursting off the page.
The character was last seen, in a different incarnation, in 1948. Superhero comics which were popular before World War II (The original Flash appeared in 1940) were of little interest following it. But in the mid-1950s with millions of Baby Boomer children living in a relatively peaceful society the idea of fantasy heroes could be re-established.
Mr. Infantino was first invited to draw comics when he was only a freshman in high school. When he was 22 he headed to DC Comics. His first piece for DC, in 1947, was a short comic that introduced Black Canary to the comic book world.
He would write western, horror, and science fiction comics, until asked to bring back The Flash with writer Robert Kanigher. Mr. Infantino would work on several other superheroes in his time with DC including Elongated Man and Deadman.
In 1967 another interesting opportunity presented itself. DC Comics had allowed ABC to create a television version of the famed crime fighter, Batman. Although quite campy (nothing like the recent films starring Christian Bale), the show was immensely popular at one point airing twice a week. During the second season the creators recognized that the show lacked a female audience. Working with Mr. Infantino, Batgirl was created to appear in both the comics (Detective Comics #359) and the TV show (played by Yvonne Craig). Although the show would only last one more season, the comic book character has appeared off-and-on for nearly 50 years.
Mr. Infantino, who left the comic book industry to teach at the School of Visual Arts in New York, died on April 4, 2013 at the age of 87.
(Images: Showcase Comics #4, drawn by Carmine Infantino is copyright of DC Comics and courtesy of longboxgraveyard.com)
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