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.