In a press release this morning, DC Comics announced the passing of legendary Silver Age artist Al Plastino. Comic book historian Mark Evanier, in his blog, stated that Plastino passed after a long battle with prostate cancer. Known for his work on Superman, The Legion of Superheroes, and Batman; Plastino also helped debut Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, in her original Silver Age appearance.
In recent months, the late Mr. Plastino was in the process of litigation for the return of art he originally made for an issue where Superman was promoting then President John F. Kennedy’s physical fitness program. The book went to print just as two bullets ended the life of the president. DC was about to cancel it when President Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s successor, encouraged it to be run with some edits to honor President Kennedy’s memory. For years, Plastino had thought his raw pencils had been sent to the Kennedy Library in Boston; only to find out that someone had lied to him and hidden away the art for years. This only came to light as an auction house in Dallas, Texas, was selling the pages at an auction commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination. Before Mr. Plastino died, he was fighting to get back his artwork; as that issue had much meaning to him. As of now, it’s a mystery who originally took the art; the auction house has postponed selling the drawings indefinitely.
We at Word of the Nerd offer our sincerest condolences to his friends and family; and I personally hope that his estate will be able to win back his art and take it to its intended home in Boston.
Press Release is as follows:
We are deeply saddened by the news of legendary artist Al Plastino’s passing.
One of the most talented and prolific Superman artists of the Silver Age, Plastino made a name for himself with the Superman family of titles. His biggest contribution to the lore of the Man of Steel was illustrating Supergirl’s blockbuster debut in the pages of ACTION COMICS #252, in 1959.
Plastino’s fluid, graceful linework, paired with a dynamic knack for facial expressions and subtle characterization made him one of the definitive Superman and DC artists of his time, and one held in high regard to this day.
In addition to Superman, Plastino also left a lasting mark on DC Comics’ team of the future, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and lengthy stints on the Batman comic strip.
“We’ve lost a great member of the DC Entertainment family today,” said Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment President. “Al Plastino was one of the most recognizable talents at DC for decades, and his art still resonates with so many fans of the Superman family and the Legion. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.”
“Al Plastino helped redefine Superman in the 1950s,” said Jim Lee, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher. “His work on SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE, ADVENTURE COMICS and pretty much any title in the Superman family will be fondly remembered for years to come. He will be missed.”
“When you think of Superman in the 1950s, only a handful of artists come to mind – and Al Plastino’s one of them,” said Dan DiDio, DC Entertainment Co-Publisher. “Along with the likes of Wayne Boring and Curt Swan, Plastino brought a level of humanity to Superman that had never been seen before. This amazing, super-human being now had a smile like you or me. He brought out the human side of a modern myth. It was nuanced but game changing. We can’t think him enough for his work at DC, and we’re thinking of all those close to him during this difficult time.”