Silver Age Superman and Legion of Super-Heroes artist Al Plastino has died at the age of 91, reportedly after a long bout with prostrate cancer. The prolific Plastino may be best known to fans as the artist that co-created Supergirl in 1959’s Action Comics #252, as well as for 1958’s Adventure Comics #247 that first introduced the Legion of Super-Heroes Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl to Superboy and to DC readers.
“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,” DC’s statement reads.
“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.”
Over the last year of his life Plastino become embroiled over a dispute about artwork he drew in 1963 for a comic book called "Superman's Mission for President Kennedy."
According to the NY Daily News, DC had commissioned the book to promote Kennedy's physical fitness programs for children and Plastino was working on it when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
Publication was initially suspended, but the book was eventually published because "President Johnson wanted it published, as a tribute to his predecessor," court papers reportedly read.
Plastino was under the impression the original artwork had been donated to the JFK Library in Boston, MA (claiming DC promised in writing that’s where it would go), but discovered last month at the New York Comic Con that the Kennedy Library never possessed the artwork, and that Heritage Auctions planned to auction off the drawings this month during the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.
Plastino was suing to force Heritage to disclose the identity of the person selling the artwork. Heritage reportedly has postponed the auction indefinitely.
According to Plastino's lawyer the artwork is said to have an estimated value of about $50,000, and the book “was very meaningful for him."