The great comics artist, designer, editor, and publisher, Carmine Infantino, died earlier today at age 87.
In tribute to the master, I’ve assembled a small gallery of scans, displayed below, that includes several comic covers from the 1950s, pencilled by Infantino and finished by various inkers, including Sy Barry and Bob Lander, along with one cover from 1964, inked by Murphy Anderson, and a couple of pages of original art from Vampirella #59, inked by Alex Nino:
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“You know, the most important thing about my artwork: It never matured. Because just before it reached maturity, I stopped and became an editor. Because a good friend of mine once said to me, ‘Why don’t you ever talk about your artwork? Why don’t you have any around your apartment?’ And the answer is very simple: My artwork to me is like an unfinished symphony, a painting that has never been completely done, a baby that never was produced… You understand what I’m saying?” — Carmine Infantino, in conversation with Gary Groth, The Comics Journal #191.
From Vampire Tales #3 (February 1974; reprinted from Adventures into Terror #13 [December 1952]), here’s “Don’t Try to Outsmart the Devil,” with script by Stan Lee and pencils by a much-admired artist who, by his own admission, never actually lived up to his considerable potential, Carmine Infantino, while, depending on what source you trust, the inks were either by Infantino himself or by Gil Kane; this is followed by a cool picture of Stan Lee typing at an improvised stand-up desk on the terrace outside his house in the early 1950s:
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Carmine Infantino writes:
The enigma of my art is that it never fully matured. In the 1960s, as I was maturing as an artist, I stopped drawing in favor of attaining the executive positions. A good friend of mine once asked, “Why don’t you ever talk about your artwork? Why don’t you have any around your apartment?” The answer is simple: my artwork is an unfinished symphony, a painting never completed, a baby never raised.
I don’t know what direction I would have gone into had I continued to draw through my executive tenure. There were all sorts of works coming out of me at the time. I could see the growth that applying myself very differently was bringing. Right up to my becoming Editorial Director, the art was constantly growing and changing.
It was almost like someone else was controlling the work. It was gaining sophistication, but the evolution was never completed. To this day, I know not what it was to have become. Or it might not have grown any further. Considering I was working in the commercial medium of comics, it could have stopped quite naturally at that point.
[Source: Carmine Infantino, The Amazing World of Carmine Infantino: An Autobiography, second printing (Lebanon, N.J.: Vanguard Productions, 2001), pp. 172-174.]
To mark the season, here’s an old favourite of mine from Creepy #125 (February 1981): it’s “Jacque Cocteau’s Circus of the Bizarre,” with script by Roger McKenzie and amazing art by the odd couple of Carmine Infantino and Alex Toth: