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The Greatest Carmine Infantino Stories Ever Told!

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5. “The Planet That Came to a Standstill!” Mystery in Space #75

Gardner Fox, Infantino and Murphy Anderson combined for this acclaimed story that had the first meeting of the Justice League and Adam Strange as they take on Kanjar Ro together.

4. “Gauntlet of Super-Villains” Flash #155

Gorilla Grodd manipulates the Rogues into fighting the Flash so that Grodd can take control of Barry’s mind. Story by John Broome, art by Infantino and Joe Giella. This was the first time that the Rogues teamed up as a unit.

3. “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl” Detective Comics #359

Infantino gives the world Batgirl in this debut issue, written by Gardner Fox with inks by Sid Greene.

2. “Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt!” Showcase #4

Before he gave the world Batgirl, Infantino helped give the world the brand-new Flash, in this issue written by Robert Kanigher with inks by Joe Kubert.

1. “The FLash of Two Worlds” Flash #123

One of the greatest tales of the Silver Age, this brings Barry Allen face to face with his hero, Jay Garrick – the original Flash! (I occasionally see this argued as a classic only in hindsight, due to its importance in introducing the concept of Earth-2 and bringing back all of the Golden Age versions of the DC superheroes. However, it is worth noting that this was a highly acclaimed story at the time – it won all the fan awards back in 1962). Written by Gardner Fox with art by Infantino and Joe Giella.

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!

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24 Comments

One of the most interesting Greatest Stories Ever Told lists so far. Aside from the Flash stuff this was really unpredictable.

Infantino’s done so much ….I’ve only read one of those…(the Star Warsone ..maybe my 11th or 12th choice)
My votes included his black and white work on Starlord and Conan
a couple of Spiderwoman stories
One fairly obscure (but good) Star Wars story(and a better known but not as good Star Wars story)
A couple of Adam Strange stories from when it was a back-up in Green Lantern
and one Flash story from my short time reading it (after getting the issue for the Firestorm backup)

Wow.

Infantino was probably the most under-rated Silver Age artist. That is such a terrific body of work.

You really think so, Dean? I’ve always heard him well-regarded.
I’m not sure how much these picks are about landmark Infantino work as much as “great stories he drew”–not that he didn’t contribute to their success, For example, I’d think his Elongated Man work is awesome and worth mention, but the stories are obviously not high-profile ones.
I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of his Bat-work–it seems more bland in a way than the more stylized 1950s stuff (though I know it was a huge and welcome change at the time).
Brian, in an interview in one of Twomorrow Publishing’s books (I think), Infantino says he drew the cover for that Flash on impulse, then gave it to Julie and challenged him to come up with a story to fit. Any truth to that, which would make him the ultimate inspiration for Earth 2.

@fraser —

WOW!

Any chance of a future Comic Book Legends Revealed on that story?

Infantino stated several times that he did covers first which were assigned to the writers-a longtime pulp magazine tradition.

But that one is so specific that it practically writes the story itself.

From this perspective, yes. But that Jay Garrick could’ve been someone inspired by the old comics. There was no necessity to build an alternate Earth, except that the editor and writer had strong sci-fi backgrounds.

Oh, I know Infantino did lots of covers before Schwartz and the writers worked out the stories. But did he do this one? And did he come up with the concept for it?
But you’re right, even given the image, it could have gone in a dozen different directions.

He specifially did it as a challenge to Schwartz, given that Infantino drew the Garrick Flash originally.

This is covered in “Penciller, Publisher, Provocateur” by Jim Amash, a book-length interview. OOP now, but maybe be reprinted….

I’ve read it elsewhere. But if there’s one thing Comic Book Legends reminds us, not everyone remembers things accurately, which is why I’m curious about it.

But it’s cut-and-dried that he submitted covers first to Schwartz. I’ve never read any of the principals involved deny that. Eventually Infantino laid out covers for most of the DC line.

When I look at all the “intro” stories like the Flash and Batgirl on here, it makes me wish that DC would put out a collection of intro books. Everything from the introduction of heroes like Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern to the villains like Luthor, Grodd and The Shade.
Maybe done like the “Absolute” series of Sandman. A massive, high quality collection.

He should be mentioned about his short art stint in Daredevil, inked my Jason Klaus.

Chris Schillig

April 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I’m glad the Star Wars “Wheel” story made the cut. Those were some of my favorite issues of the original SW run. I also remember an issue of Batman that I’m almost certain Infantino drew where the Caped Crusader had to hold a gorilla (Grodd?) over his head for a certain length of time to keep it from exploding. That really made an impression on me as a youngster — an act of sheer will and determination by Batman, exquisitely rendered by Infantino (I believe). Some people talk of the power of that Ditko sequence where Spidey hoists some equipment off himself while thinking of the people in his life; this Batman sequence had a similar effect on me.

This list is more a Best Known Carmine Infantino Stories than a Greatest Carmine Infantino Stories Ever Told. The first Human Target story belongs on the list, as does his innovative work on the “Strange Sports Stories” for Brave and the Bold. I agree with Frazer that his best work usually came on secondary titles, where he was able to ink his pencils himself. Pow Wow Smith, “Detective Chimp” (his favorite series, by the way), and “Elongated Man”—even “Super Chief”—all featured Carmine at his best. And his short stories for Warren (Eerie, Creepy, and Vampirella) after he was fired from DC blow most of the work on this list out of the water. The “Deadman” story, though, absolutely deserves to be on this list, but in the top 5 if not #1.

As for the blandness of the his Batman stories, that had everything to do with whoever was inking him. The inkers didn’t follow his pencils very closely; they smoothed it out and made it slick in the house style.

Also, the Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur book is still in print.

I agree, it was good to see some of Infantino’s Star Wars issues on this list. Understandably, his Silver Age work at DC is well regarded as classic material. But those SW issues he did were really nice, especially the issues inked by Terry Austin.

For my money, the best Silver Age artists were Infantino and Mike Sekowsky (I’ve always liked Kirby’s Bronze Age Fourth World art better than his Marvel stuff anyways). They both had this brilliant, clean design sense that just exudes late-50s/early60s (which I love), they were dynamic as all hell, and they made things look epic. Kirby may have been King at Marvel, but DC was the Distinguished Competition for a reason!

Chaim Mattis Keller

April 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm

A shame that no “Interplanetary Insurance Agent” stories made the cut.

Chris, the story is “Batman Battles the Living Beast Bomb” in Detective 339–it isn’t Grodd, but a gorilla that gained intelligence and increased physical power from a lab experiment gone wrong. But yes, it is a striking image.

I have never been a fan of Infantino. But since his death I have looked back at some of the comics he drew. One that I remember liking even at the time was his work on Starlord for Marvel Preview #14 (written by Chris Claremont). Of course, my interest in the story may be more due to the fact that the heroine in the tale was topless most of the time. Ah, 1970s Marvel magazines…

@nweathington: Good to know “Penciller, Publisher….” is still available. Sorry to ignore your credit.

Jonathon Riddle

April 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Good to see his work on Star Wars got a little notice here. I was kind of hoping for “Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt” from Secret Origins Annual 2 to make the list. It’s a great Flash retrospection piece and the art of Infantino really sells that aspect of the story.

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