Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Loves Me Some Atlas Era Infantino

I've been making my way through the Essential Man Called Nova (more on that when I get through it), and I must say that I found the transition from Sal Buscema to Carmine Infantino to be incredibly jarring. Infatino's artwork in the late 70s and early 80s was a far cry from what his glory days at DC. Whether its his stylish work on strips like Phantom Stranger or Danger Trail (the Sy Barry inks helped a lot) or his lean and mean superhero work in the 60s, Infantino delivered artwork with an interesting mixture of power and finesse. By the time he was just a penciller for pay, the tight pencils and creative layouts were long gone.

Instead of praising his Golden and Silver Age DC work, I thought it was time to declare my love for his work for Atlas in the 50s. Here's an example of his artwork from Adventures Into Weird Worlds #9 from August, 1952. I've included a few panels to show you just how fantastic his artwork was back then. The one above indicates that both Alex Toth and Mort Meskin were major influences on his work. This is a shift from his late 40s work at DC, which was pure Caniff school. There is a much greater sense of texture, more variety in the facial expressions and an infusion of energy and atmosphere. By the way, does that handsome ape to the left look familiar to anyone? In particular, I really love his use of shadows and silhouettes (something he'd nail on the Strange Sports Stories books). Just check out the three panel strip below and you'll see what I'm talking about. It's hard to imagine this is the same guy who doodled his way through Nova and Star Wars when I was a kid.

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