RIP Carmine Infantino, 1925-2013 – His Wonder Woman Legacy


Yesterday, legendary comic book artist Carmine Infantino passed away at the age of 87.  Infantino is perhaps best known for helping to launch the Silver Age of comics when he co-created and designed the costume for an all-new Flash in Showcase #4 in October 1956.  He co-created many other famed characters as well, including the original Black Canary and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl.

In terms of Wonder Woman, Infantino had a surprisingly significant impact.  He never drew much art for the character, only contributing layouts to the covers of Wonder Woman #173 and Wonder Woman #174 that were then finished by Irv Novick:


But behind the scenes Infantino was a big game changer for Wonder Woman.

In 1967, Infantino became the editorial director at DC Comics.  He hired new creators like Dick Giordano, Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams, and many others who are now legends in their own right.  It was Infantino who tasked Denny O’Neil and Mike Sekowsky with revitalizing the lagging Wonder Woman series in 1968.  After nearly two decades with Robert Kanigher at the helm, the series was in a creative and financial rut.  The result was the mod revamp where Wonder Woman gave up her superpowers to become the human Diana Prince, kung fu master and globetrotting foe of the criminal mastermind Dr. Cyber:


These changes didn’t go over well, and the execution left a lot to be desired, but Infantino was right in deciding that something had to be done to mix things up.  Wonder Woman had been a mess for most of the 1960s, and while the mod revamp wasn’t so hot either, it ultimately culminated in the restoration of the Amazon Wonder Woman a few years later in 1973.  This return was met with celebration from key members of the women’s liberation movement, Wonder Woman made the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine, and she’s been a feminist icon ever since.  Infantino ran DC throughout all of these changes, finally leaving his editorial role in 1976.

So while Infantino is best known for his art, he played a key role in the history of Wonder Woman as well.  The man was a comic book legend ten times over, and while like many Silver Age creators he never got the financial credit he deserved for his many creations, his contributions to comics will be remembered by fans forever.

Published by Tim Hanley

Tim Hanley is a comic book historian and the author of Wonder Woman Unbound, Investigating Lois Lane, The Many Lives of Catwoman, and Betty and Veronica: The Leading Ladies of Riverdale.

4 thoughts on “RIP Carmine Infantino, 1925-2013 – His Wonder Woman Legacy

  1. R.I.P. Carmine

    Batgirl and BlackCanary, two amazing female comic book characters. Not very fond of the new 52 Birds of Prey but at least Gail Simone is carrying on his legacy with respect and quality.

    So it was Carmine who started the whole Wonder Woman Diana Prince reboot thing. That’s funny. But yeah I guess your right, sometimes big changes can lead to good things, no matter how bad they are.

    Speaking of big changes and reboots, I recently a couple of months ago read the JMS costume reboot, Wonder Woman: Odyssey. Heard many average things about it. I found it to be freaking brilliant. An amazing love letter to WW and who she is as a person. Kept hearing from people that they changed WW as a character…yeah that was a complete lie. Also, I personally liked the outfit 😛 lol! I guess the moral is that what people expect in execution isn’t usually the right thing. I mean people are now liking the new Azzarello launch, which is cool. More people reading WW is always good 🙂

    I do remember Gail Simone’s run being very good too but I’m not sure how well it did in popularity? Especially after coming right off the heels of Amazons Attack…the dark days.

    1. I’m surprised to hear you liked the JMS run so much! I didn’t care for it myself, but maybe it reads better all at once instead of month to month. I’m glad you dug it though.

      Simone’s run had to deal with a relaunch with tons of delayed issues and then Amazons Attack before she took over the book, so the series wasn’t in a great place where she started. Towards the end it was pretty low in sales, though the JMS run, after a big bump from WW #600, fell to numbers that were almost as bad after only 12 issues or so.

      1. Good to know, thanks for that. Could always count on your knowledge to get the right info 🙂

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