Carmine Infantino, the legendary DC comic artist and editor, died Thursday at age 87 in Manhattan, according to a statement issued by the publisher.
Infantino had a huge impact on the industry. He drew the iconic cover to Showcase no. 4, which featured the Flash running out of a piece of celluloid film. That comic is widely seen as marking the start of the Silver Age of comics in 1956 by revamping the World War II-era hero for the Space Age.
But to a generation of comics' fans who came of age in the 1970s he is remembered as DC's counterpart to Stan Lee, having served as editorial director from 1967 to 1971 and publisher from 1971 to 1976.
Despite the rivalry between the companies, the two men were friends, occasionally meeting for drinks and dinner.
He and Lee collaborated on bringing about the first inter-company crossover in 1977 with the giant size Superman vs. Spider-Man Treasury Edition.
He was also involved in the development of 1978’s Superman: The Movie, starring Christopher Reeve.
Among his other important contributions were introducing the idea of an alternate "Earth Two", redesigning the look of Batman in 1964 (which influenced the the Adam West TV version on ABC).
He also created such characters as Wally West (Kid Flash), Deadman, The Human Target, Captain Cold and Barbara Gordon, who would become Batgirl.
He also worked at Marvel in the 1980s.
Infantino got his start with Marvel predecessor Timely Comics, illustrating a Jack Frost story in 1942's USA Comics no. 3. He wrote his first Flash story in 1947. He also wrote Green Lantern and Justice Society of America comics in the 1940s.
In the 1950s he freelanced for Prize Comics, which was founded by Captain America creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, before returning to DC Comics.
Fellow artist George Perez broke the news on Facebook, adding, "Carmine Infantino was one of the great influential artists in the history of the medium and I will always look upon his Adam Strange, Flash and Space Museum stories as wondrous examples of fantasy made even more magical at the hands of a master."
Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher commented, “Carmine was a legend. The number of classic covers he created is innumerable. His influence, reach and impact is humbling and will always live on.”
“There are few people in this world that have had as much of an impact on the industry as Carmine,” added DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio.
“He bridged both the Golden and Silver Ages of comics, shepherding in some of the most successful periods in our history and setting the course of our characters that is still seen today. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will remain forever.”
A statement from Marvel Comics said his "numerous contributions to the comics industry cannot be overstated and his unique outlook toward art and storytelling can never be replaced."
Infantino was born in Brooklyn on May 24, 1925 and attended high school at the School of Industrial Art (now known as the High School of Art and Design), before breaking into comics.