Al Plastino

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Al Plastino
Al Plastino in 2007.jpeg
Al Plastino in 2007
Born(1921-12-15) December 15, 1921 (age 91)
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker, Editor, Letterer, Colourist
Notable worksAction Comics
Adventure Comics
Superboy
Superman
 
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Al Plastino
Al Plastino in 2007.jpeg
Al Plastino in 2007
Born(1921-12-15) December 15, 1921 (age 91)
NationalityAmerican
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker, Editor, Letterer, Colourist
Notable worksAction Comics
Adventure Comics
Superboy
Superman

Al Plastino (born December 15, 1921)[1] is an American comic book artist best known as one of the most prolific Superman artists of the 1950s, along with his DC Comics colleague Wayne Boring. Plastino also worked as a comics writer, editor, letterer and colorist.

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Career [edit]

Interested in art since grade school, Plastino attended the High School of Industrial Arts in New York City[2] and afterward began illustrating for Youth Today magazine. He was accepted into the college Cooper Union but chose to continue working as a freelance artist.[1] His earliest known credited comic-book work is as penciler-inker of the Dynamic Man and Major Victory superhero features and Green Knight medieval-adventure story in Dynamic Publications' Dynamic Comics #2 (cover-dated Dec. 1941).[3] Before the war, Plastino inked some issues of Captain America.[4]

With the outbreak of World War II, Plastino and his brothers were drafted, and he served in the U.S. Army. There, a sketch he had made for a model airplane he had designed[1] caught an officer's attention, leading to his being assigned to Grumman Aerospace Corporation, the National Inventors Council and then the Pentagon.[2] He was assigned there to the Adjutant General's office,[1] where he designed war posters and field manuals.[2] After his discharge he began working for Steinberg Studios, drawing Army posters.[2]

Comics [edit]

While working out of a studio in New York City with two other cartoonists in 1948, Plastino showed sample art of Superman to DC Comics, which offered him $35 a page. Plastino, who had heard that Superman artists were receiving $55 a page, negotiated a $50 rate, high for a beginning comics artist at the time.

Now settled in the comic book field, he largely dropped other commercial work for two decades. Early on at DC, Plastino was forced to copy Wayne Boring's style until the editors became comfortable with his own style. He did 48 Superman covers as well as countless DC stories.

Plastino worked on several titles within the Superman family of comics, including Superboy and Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane. With writer Otto Binder, he co-created Supergirl in Action Comics #252 (May 1959).[3] Plastino also drew the Superboy story in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958) that introduced the Legion of Super-Heroes, a teen superhero team from the future that eventually became one of DC's most popular features; with writer Binder, Plastino co-created the first Legion characters: Cosmic Boy; Lightning Lad (as Lightning Boy) and Saturn Girl.[3] In the early 1970s, DC assigned Plastino to retouch Jack Kirby's renditions of Superman and Jimmy Olsen, fearing that Kirby's versions were too different from the established images of the characters.[5]

Comic strips [edit]

Plastino drew the syndicated Batman comic strip from 1966–72, and the Superman strip in the late 1960s. Plastino drew the first appearance of the Superman villain the Parasite in Action Comics #340 (August 1966).[6] In 1968, when he and other older creators were ousted[citation needed] from DC Comics, Plastino, who continued to work on the DC comic strips. In 1970, he took over the syndicated strip Ferd'nand, which he drew until his retirement in 1989.

Plastino also worked on Sunday episodes of Nancy from 1982 to 1983 after Ernie Bushmiller died. During this period, David Letterman showed on TV a Nancy panel with a close shot of Plastino's signature and then made a joke about Plastino as a superhero name. (The writers for Letterman were apparently unaware that Plastino was known for his superheroes.) Plastino's official website says the artist was commissioned by the United Media newspaper syndicate to ghost Peanuts when Charles Schulz underwent heart surgery in 1980s,[1] but David Michaelis, author of Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, told columnist Brian Cronin that in actuality, syndicate president William C. Payette had hired Plastino to draw a backlog of Peanuts strips during contract negotiations with Schulz in the 1970s. When Schulz and the syndicate reached a successful agreement, United Media stored these unpublished strips, the existence of which eventually became public.[7]

Bibliography [edit]

References [edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "About Al". Al Plastino (official site). Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bubbeo, Daniel (August 16, 2012 web, August 18, 2012 print). "Long Islanders behind Batman comics". Newsday (Long Island). pp. B4–B5. Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Al Plastino at the Grand Comics Database.
  4. ^ Plastino bio, "Living Legends," New York Comic-Con program booklet #4 (Reed Exhibitions, 2009), p. 14.
  5. ^ Evanier, Mark (August 22, 2003). "Notes From ME". POV Online. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2012. "Plastino drew new Superman figures and Olsen heads in roughly the same poses and positions, and these were pasted into the artwork." 
  6. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1960s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "With a story written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Al Plastino, the Parasite entered Superman's life." 
  7. ^ Cronin, Brian (January 11, 2013). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #401". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 

Further reading [edit]

External links [edit]

Media related to Al Plastino at Wikimedia Commons