Beard: Infantino, co-creator of The Flash, diesWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
omic book legend Carmine Infantino died on April 4 and pundits like yours truly are attempting to sum up his incredible life and career. But trying to pick only one of his accomplishments is like trying to pick one single brick from the Great Wall of China; the list is long and the task is daunting. Best, perhaps, to go with the most colorful, the most dynamic, the most iconic of his comic creations, The Flash.
Showcase No. 4 from 1956 is considered the book that ushered in the Silver Age of comic books. Superheroes had not been popular for almost 10 years before that and DC Comics’ editors decided to try them again. Infantino was assigned the art chores on the issue along with Robert Kanigher scripting. Together they created a new version of an old character from the 1940s: The Flash.
Doused with chemicals from a lightning strike on his laboratory, police scientist Barry Allen gained the power of speed and set that power against the forces of evil. In doing so, as Christopher Irving said in 2008’s “The Flash Companion,” “he became the lynchpin for the DC Universe, the character from whom new things would spring.”
Because of the success of The Flash, more Golden Age revivals followed at DC.
Infantino is credited for not only his streamlined design for the hero’s striking red costume, but also for his overall design of the strip and its unique speed effects. Design was paramount for the man, and that remained so throughout his 11 years on The Flash and as he rose from artist to art director, then editorial director and then to publisher at DC.
In Infantino’s own 2001 autobiography, “The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino,” Julius Schwartz opined, “When a writer or I would come up with an idea for a new character … it would be Carmine who would come up with the perfect design. When I’m asked, ‘What was the best thing Carmine did for DC?’ the answer is: ‘Everything Carmine did was the best for DC!’”