Al Plastino (Alfred John Plastino)

Al Plastino

While working out of a studio in New York City with two other cartoonists in 1948, Al Plastino showed sample art of Superman to DC Comics, which offered him work at $35 a page. Plastino, who had heard that Superman artists were receiving $55 a page, negotiated a $50 rate. 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 but gradually began using his own style. He did 48 Superman covers as well as countless DC stories. Plastino and writer Bill Finger produced the story for Superman #61 (Nov. 1949) in which kryptonite, which had originated on The Adventures of Superman radio program made its way into the comic books. He drew the Lois Lane feature in Showcase #9 (Aug. 1957) which served as a tryout for the character’s own series. Plastino worked on several titles within the Superman family of comics, including Superboy and Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane. Plastino 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 Otto Binder, Plastino co-created the first Legion characters: Cosmic Boy; Lightning Lad (as Lightning Boy) and Saturn Girl. Binder and Plastino debuted the villain Brainiac and the Bottle City of Kandor in Action Comics #242 (July 1958). The two men co-created Supergirl in Action Comics #252 (May 1959). Al Plastino drew the first appearance of the supervillain the Parasite in Action Comics #340 (Aug. 1966).

Al Plastino’s “greatest pride”‘ was a story he drew for Superman #168 (April 1964, scheduled for publication Feb. 1964), titled “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy.” The piece was done in collaboration with the Kennedy administration to help promote the president’s national physical fitness program. In the story, Superman visits the White House, and trusts President John F. Kennedy with his secret identity. The story was produced shortly before Kennedy was assassinated, which led to the cancellation of its publication. At the behest of President Lyndon B. Johnson, it was published two months later, in Superman #170 (June 1964), with Plastino adding a title page showing a ghostly figure of Kennedy looking down from the heavens at Superman flying over Washington, D.C. Al Plastino had always believed the artwork had been donated to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, but the artwork was placed on auction by a private entity in late 2013. DC Entertainment subsequently purchased the art and donated it to the Library. In the early 1970s, DC Comics, fearing Jack Kirby’s versions of Superman and Jimmy Olsen were too different from their established representations, assigned Plastino (among other artists) to redraw those characters’ heads in Kirby’s various titles. In 1996, Plastino was one of the many artists who contributed to the Superman: The Wedding Album one-shot wherein the title character married Lois Lane. Al Plastino lived for many years in Shirley, New York, on Long Island. At the time of his death on November 25, 2013, at Brookhaven Hospital in Patchogue, New York, Plastino had been suffering from prostate cancer and Guillain–Barré syndrome.

Born

  • December, 15, 1921
  • USA
  • Manhattan, New York

Died

  • November, 25, 2013
  • USA
  • Patchogue, New York

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