JIM INFANTINO

songwriter, author & nerd

Infantino Street

Infantino Street

My Uncle Carmine drew and designed the comic book character we now know as The Flash. To put a fine point on it, he redesigned the original flash - which had a helmet (Jay Garrick drawn by Harry Lampert in 1940) into the Flash with a hood-mask (Barry Allen) and the new lightning logo in a circle we all know. I think this happened in the 1960s, but it was near to the start of the Silver Age of comic book characters, as opposed to the Golden Age which preceeded it.

He passed away a few years ago, and shortly after, The Flash launched on TV as Barry Allen. On May 16, the show gives a significant nod to it's comic book creator with an episode titled "Infantino Street."

My last name is not all that common here in the states. It's pretty strange to hear it or see it on TV. I don't think it's ever been used as the title of an episode.

My father drew some cowboy comics in the 1950s but like most brothers, he didn't continue with it, maybe not wanting to do the same thing as his older brother. My dad went into advertising, working on campaigns for BMW and Apple, and Carmine went on to become Publisher of DC comics and to work on many projects that connected to hollywood, such as Star Wars and others.

Likewise, my brother John has been instrumental in the creation of cartoons on Cartoon Network (The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Regular Show, among others) and Disney (Star Vs. The Forces of Evil), while I, well, you can find out more about me on this site.

I remember years ago, when Carmine and I were eating and drinking too much wine at an italian restaurant in the village in NYC. I was bragging to the waiter that my uncle was famous, mostly teasing my uncle, and mentioned that he created The Flash. The waiter, who grew up in Brazil got really quiet and emotional, and told my uncle that those comic books meant so much to him as a boy, gave him courage, and the ability to imagine another life. Until then, I didn't understand the power and reach of these characters worldwide. The books were translated into many many languages and published internationally, something you can't do as easily with TV shows. Then Carmine drew a picture of the head of the Flash on a napkin and gave it to the waiter. I naturally felt like an ass, and was humbled.

I'm not sure what Carmine would make of the TV rendition of his character now on the CW. No doubt he would be pleased, as I think it's pretty faithful to his vision. That said, like many creators of the time, the artists of the Silver Age worked really hard for not a lot of compensation, considering the power of what they created. Of course, those comic books were not as closely connected to TV and movies in the Silver Age. They were popular, but not a billion dollar industry. They started to make forrays into TV with Superman and Batman (Batman was also re-designed by my uncle) and Shazam and Wonder Woman and Isis and He-Man in the 70s and 80s.

I keep this in mind when creating new things. There is no way to judge the power of what you are doing as you do it. You just have to do it the best you can, and keep doing it.

updated: 4 months ago

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I got a question regarding the Ballad of Barry Allen.

I got a question regarding the Ballad of Barry Allen

Barry Allen, the Fash, created by my uncle Carmine Infantino.

His question:

Hello Jim Infantino,

I was listening to your song "The Ballad of Barry Allen" and its a really enjoyable song, but very sad at the same time. I was hoping if you could explain the flash alittle more for me. In the song, it says things like "I've got time to think about my past as I dodge between the bullets how my life was so exciting before I got this way " and also " How I wish I'd never gone into my lab to experiment that night before lightning flashed around me". It seems like its hard for him to be the flash, and is that because everything is so slow? Like say he has to save someone in Florida and he is in Texas. In the human mind it would seem as 0.001 secs but to him does it take days? Is he able to speed up the process of things so it wouldn't take forever to get to places? Also last question, I know that he can read books really fast but does it take regular time in his mind, or he can just look at the words really fast. How does he perceive time? I have read so many reddit post, but I know you could give me logical answers because of the song you made and also because you are the nephew of the creator of the flash. So if you could help me understand, that would be great because he is my favorite superhero, and please if u could get deep into detail that would be awesome. Hope you have a nice day.

My response:

So, there was no real help from Carmine on this, I was just thinking about his Barry Allen character and the song is a thought experiment.

1. If you act and react in super speed, doesn't your mind need to be sped up to react to events around you? Hence, running from Florida to Texas, you would need to be sure not to trip over anything, or run into a car, so your mind needs to match your speed. If your mind remained slow while dodging bullets, or whisking someone away from a fall, you would not dodge, or catch accurately.
2. If your mind speeds up, your sense of time slows down. You would remember all the details, so your memory of the events would be in a slower timeframe than other people's. Looking back, events would be in slow motion. During time that the flash is sped up, events would elongate during those times, or maybe all the time, depending on whether he can turn it on and off. Except for the instances where he is actively dodging bullets or fighting foes, there's a lot of waiting for things to happen. He still has to put his costume on one leg at a time. The mind does not blur with his speed. Acting on instinct alone would not allow him to do things like get his costume on, or comprehend what he reads.
3. In the present moment, there is no sense of time, only now. Nothing happens now, things only happen when we compare now with before. In other words, we only measure the passing of time by remembering what has already happened. For the flash, a lot happens in a short period of time, so his days are longer.
So the line: "I've got time to think about my past as I dodge between the bullets, how my life was so exciting before I got this way " expresses (and this is just my take on it) Barry Allen's lack of patience with how slow events transpire around him when he is sped up. I leave the question open, whether is is always sped up, or only when he turns it on. From everyone else's point of view, his life must be very exciting, moving quickly, but for him, everything is slowed down so he can react to what is happening. He has to "wait for calamity to strike because when things change in an instant it's almost fast enough for me." In the song, he wishes he could experience events in normal time so that his life might be more exciting "before I got this way."
All this said, the song, in my point of view, is a metaphor for someone who is in a constant state of distraction, staying pretty much on the surface of things, always wishing for a more speedy moment, something exciting enough to keep him/her from staying put with the ordinary passage of time.
I hope this clears things up. Again, I never got to process this completely with my uncle. He liked the song, but we didn't discuss whether my ideas fit with his sense of the character. I think ultimately, he might have felt that I took the philosophical issues with the flash too far, but who knows?
Hope that helps. Thanks for asking.

updated: 3 months ago

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My music is featured as a theme for this awesome new podcast.

My music is featured as a theme for this awesome new podcast

My Friend Sarah Lipton has launched the first episode of her new podcast Genuine. The episode starts with an instrumental version of my song "Habits And Plans" from our album Stay.

The podcast is launching from Patreon.com - and is available right away with a subscription to support it. You can get access for as little as $1 per month. I think these micro-patron models are particularly powerful, because we can help bring about advertising free content for new creators who are doing something awesome. This episode will go public for non-subscribers April 30.

Click here to become a patron and listen.

This episode focuses on Claudelle Glasgow who talks about their experience with living as a gender fluid life.

Here is what Sarah Says about the first episode:

At long last, Genuine: Episode One: Living the Challenge is finally ready for your listening ears!

Join us as we share an exploration of what it means to live the challenge. This is not just for you to sit back and listen to, but also to engage in.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • pause and be present
  • listen to some wonderful music by good friends of Genuine: Jim Infantino and Jon Sousa as well as some tuning sounds from the London Symphony Orchestra and ambient sounds of Portland, Oregon and New York City
  • hear commentary by myself - Sarah Lipton and my friend Carlton Green
  • soak in the dulcet tones of Claudelle Glasgow as she shares with us his journey of living a genuine gender fluid life
  • travel to New York City and South Africa....

and more!!

If you wish to become a Patron you can listen now, otherwise, you can listen on April 30th.

To hear the full song with words:

To hear the complete version without words:

updated: 4 months ago

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Wait. I'm writing a novel?

Wait I039m writing a novel

I got a brainstorm 5 years ago and it would not let me go. I have to write this novel to be free of it. So yes. I am now writing a book.

The working title is

The Wakeful Wanderer’s Guide to New New England and Beyond.

Marto can read the thoughts of everyone around him and they can read his thoughts as well. The people of his generation send messages not with their phones but with their minds. Their technological telepathy accelerates social interactions, eliminating the need for speech, money, property, family and travel. In the aftermath of severe climate change, 80 years from now, theirs is one of a few surviving cultures.

Raiding gangs of bikers control the dry lands of the Midwest and South. Neo-Feudal luddite families struggle to bring back a pre-technological way of life to the former United States. The interconnected tribes, populated by technologically augmented people like Marto, live a life of constant virtual interaction, where one’s worth is a calculation of one’s generosity. Theirs is a strange utopia, free from ownership, free from tradition, and defined by their online status. The Raiders and the Neo-Feudalists call them xombies.

Marto is a travel writer. He live-posts his journeys for his followers, who prefer to stay put and view the world only through their implants. Riding his unicycle from town to town, Marto becomes aware that his origins are a blank. Large parts of his memory are missing, and his past is steadily tracking him down.

The Wakeful Wanderer’s Guide to New New England & Beyond is set in a richly imagined near future, complete with dystopias and utopias in constant conflict, a newly envisioned economy of Merit, astonishing and disturbing new technologies, and the continual struggle between those who adapt to change and those who resist it. It paints a picture of a world that has been turned inside out, where people must fight to defend what it means to be genuinely human.

- Jim

updated: 4 days ago

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Before and After Silence

Before and After Silence
I am working on a new project in my office called "Before and After Silence" - those who are fans of Brian Eno will get this title right away. It involves documenting a year of office sitting via haiku. I will be publishing the haikus here in advance of a possible publication at the end of the year.

updated: 4 months ago

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