10:30am PT by Graeme McMillan
Comic Book Artist Al Plastino Dies at 91
Veteran comic book artist Al Plastino, known for his work on DC Comics' Superman family of titles in the 1950s and '60s, has passed away at the age of 91 from prostate cancer, according to reports.
Plastino's comic book career began in 1941 when he illustrated the "Dynamic Man" and "Major Victory" strips in the little-remembered series Dynamic Comics, with other early work including inking issues of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's Captain America. It was only after World War II -- during which Plastino worked for the Adjunct General's office, creating war posters and illustrations for field manuals -- that he arrived at DC and started work on the character who would make his name.
Plastino's work on the Superman family includes many important milestones. Not only was he responsible for the art on stories introducing Supergirl and, later, the Legion of Super-Heroes, but he also drew the famous story "Superman's mission for President Kennedy," created before the death of JFK but published afterward in tribute to the fallen leader. (In his last days, Plastino was trying to assert ownership of the original art for that story.)
The artist also worked steadily in the field of newspaper comic strips, beginning with the syndicated Batman strip that ran from 1966 through 1972 and going on to ghost episodes of Ferd'nand and Nancy. Plastino also was hired by United Media to create a backlog of Peanuts strips in the style of creator Charles M. Schulz in the 1970s as a potential replacement for the creator in the event that then-ongoing contract negotiations were to have broken down.
TV and comics writer Mark Evanier announced his death online last night. Plastino is survived by his wife, four children and six grandchildren.