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Al Plastino (1921- ) 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.
Early life and career
Interested in art since grade school, Plastino won several prizes hosted by Youth Today magazine, which hired Plastino when he was 17. Plastino later did work for Funnies Inc., where he "helped out" Bill Everett with Sub-Mariner. His earliest known credited comic-book work is as penciler-inker of the cover of Novelty Press' Blue Bolt Comics Vol. 3, #9 (Feb. 1943).
In 1941, Plastino designed an airplane that resembled the space shuttle, and eventually showed a model of it and blueprints to Grummond Aircraft executives. Drafted shortly afterward, he spent much of World War II assigned to the graphic arts office in The Pentagon, drawing war posters and producing them in silkscreen. He was next assigned to the Adjutant General's Office, working on illustrations for U.S. Army training manuals. He continued working on these after the war, while with Steinberg Studios. He also began taking on comic book art and commercial graphics.
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 got comfortable with his own style. He ended up doing 48 Superman covers as well as countless stories during his career there.
Plastino worked on several titles within the Superman family of comics, including Superboy and Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane. With writer Otto Binder, he co-created Supergirl in Action Comics #252 (May 1959). Plastino also drew the Superboy story in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958) and also co-created the Legion of Super-Heroes, a teen superhero team from the future that would eventually become one of DC's most popular features.
Plastino drew the syndicated Batman comic strip from 1966-72, and the Superman strip in the late 1960s. In 1968, when he and other older creators were ousted from DC Comics, Plastino, who continued to work on the DC comic strips, additionally took over the syndicated strip Ferd'nand, which he drew until his retirement in 1989.
Plastino also worked on Sunday episodes of Nancy in 1983 after Ernie Bushmiller died, and was commissioned by the United Media newspaper syndicate to write and draw a year's worth of Peanuts strips in the early 1980s in case Charles Schulz became ill.
Later life and career
Since retiring, Plastino has focused on painting.