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Tag: Alex Toth

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TothPix: Z

Zorro by Alex Toth. 'Nuff said.

zorro_4

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TothPix: The Shadow

Toth. Shadow. Marker and grease pencil. 1998.

1974. Marker & pencil.

Toth's closing thoughts on The Shadow and creator Walter Gibson, drawn 12-18 months before he died at his drawing table. Look closely and I swear you can see he drew the cloak before filling it in/over with black, stripping it down to just hat and nose which reads: The Shadow.

He simplified further as he grew as an artist. We should all take the lesson.

 

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TothPix - CARtoons: Love Life

Toth takes advantage of his simple gag of with a decent punchline to play with angles, action, composition, sound effects, lettering and tone in what amounts to one heckuva page!

He utilized the two-tone Craftint paper to great effect for lighting and contrast. Just take a gander at the wonderful black-spotted curves, angles and shapes Toth uses in each panel and throughout for superb page composition. Panel 5 is probably my favorite as the driver threads the needle between the two semis going opposite directions. Though the car is nearly centered in the frame, the rest of the composition is dynamic and asymmetrical, with the trucks and center line of the road in perfect perspective. I love the slight curve of the horizon line, those bold, dotted center lines shooting right us, the stark shadows on the semis, those headlights poking from the shadows. Gorgeous!

In each frame, the car is fairly small, but drawn from a different angle in each, all the details spot-on. It's evident Toth had a blast drawing this page!

Some artists love the Craftint look so much, they've developed methods to replicate the effect digitally.

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TothPix - CARtoons: Copping Out

Another super page by Toth from his mid-'60s CARtoons, collected in the now-rare One For the Road - Toth employed a less cartoony style for this one-pager, tho the sarge's face in the last panel for the punchline is comical. Great page composition here with a variety of angles to balance the page. Clever bits throughout like the badge shape for the title, the superb use of perspective (that unmarked vehicle in panel 1 - WOW!), low-angle shot for panel 3 and nice use of craft-tint board for tones and texture. Though more realistic, the drawing is still as simple as can be with so many details still there. That figure in panel 4 kills me - it could come off as awkward, but is natural as the young cop approaches the vehicle. My only complaint is the placement of the word balloon in panel 3 - no need to have placed it over the bumper of the car in panel 1. Could've/should've been placed at the bottom of the panel - plenty of room. More CARtoons next week...!

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TothPix - CARtoons: All Show, No Go

Another fun Toth page from his hot rod CARtoons from the mid-'60s -


I don't get the final gag, exactly, 'cept the decal guy is a poser/neophyte, but the characters and cartooning here are great! Toth effortlessly swings a cartoony and expressive style here, one that'd easily have fit in the pages of MAD magazine in its early heydays.

Superb movement, gesture and body language in this panel (above). The sweep of Mr. Decal's legs as he works under the hood - those folds! That short, stocky kid leaning in, toy dragster in tow. Lovely! Wonderful faces and expressions in the middle panel of the page: the dude all nonchalant with his single-tooth smile; that kid with the over-sized Harry Carrey glasses - fun! This is the kind of cartooning we'd see more and more from Toth the rest of his career - in his character designs for cartoons, his one-shot humorous strips and daily doodles. Embarrassed, the guy makes his exit in a pose that is positively Kurtzmanesque! (More here.) Even in this simple frame of three figures with no backgrounds, notice how Toth finds way to place shadows on his figures for depth, direction and design. So many sweet details: the big grin, the spastic motion lines, dangling cigarette, questions marks over Dad's head, the twisty chinstrap, and that kid and his goofy glasses! So good. More CARtoons next week...!

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TothPix: Johnny Hazard covers

In the mid-'80s, Toth did a handful of covers for collections/reprints of Frank Robbins' Johnny Hazard. The first is particularly clever, in regards to concept, composition and color.


I blew out the color and most tone for the cover to #2. The colors did absolutely nothing for me, detracting from a decent action cover.


The colors for the third are better, though faulty. Cool composition and angle by Toth here.


Another action cover for the 4th. Bright, primary colors in the main, with a nice use of white and umber shadows.


All in all, Toth did justice in tribute to one of his comic strip heroes. The first volume of a new series collecting Johnny Hazard dailies is now available.

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TothPix: The Fox


You're kiddin' me, yeah? What a great sketch! I'd never seen this one before. Man, so good!

Not much for me to add, except: superb composition, positive/negative space, what balance - you can feel the hero's weight and weightlessness. Every line is in its place, just a smidge of rimlighting here and there, sometimes clean, sometimes with a rough edge. Clever: the space in the "O" is the Fox logo.

I love that The Fox's eyes are different sizes/shapes.

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TothPix - Casebook: Alcoholism

Looks like Toth did this stand-alone Casebook: Alcoholism page for the military, probably sometime in the late '70s. Kind of a comics PSA (Public Service Announcement). It's dated - the black character is in a position of authority, but still says "Dig?" But Toth's drawing is assured and sensitive, spotting black areas with usual panache, employing a grease pencil (from the looks of it) for tone and texture.


I'm such a believer in line variation - the thick and thin of brushwork to create weight, depth and interest - I'm still surprised Toth created such great work with a "dead line." There are subtleties in his initial marker drawings (expressions, hands, the hair and ear, the 3D treatment of the "US" on Jake's button/pin) which is buttressed by beefing up some lines and blackspotting.

More great stuff in the 2nd panel: expressions, cropping, details of hands and clothing folds. These guys could all look the same, but their faces and noses are different shapes. I'd need reference to really capture the tilt of the head of Jake shaving, but no doubt pulled it off right outta his head.

Check this bit of copy from below the comic! Sounds like recruitment: "Know any would-be alcoholics?" - LOL! Alcoholism is obviously dangerous and destructive - I know - and it's great it was tried to reach people with this PSA, but I'm guessing were it done now that text would include how to deal with such a situation without insinuating one should rat out a fellow soldier! Or am I reading too much into it...?

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TothPix: Model Sheets

Alex Toth spent a portion of twenty-five years of his career doing character design and storyboards for TV animation. And for about a decade after artists and animators passed along to each other huge stacks of those designs (and still do). In 1996, Toth friend and fellow animator Darrell McNeil gathered it all together is one big package, the Alex Toth: by Design book. I was fortunate to snap up a copy upon its release, and good thing I did, ’cause the book fetches around $300 nowadays, long out of print. Folks have taken to selling small stacks of portions of what’s included in the book on ebay.

Here's some faves I scanned. (Check out more I posted previously.)  

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TothPix: Clint and Mac part 10

Nearing the end of Alex Toth's Clint & Mac. For context, and/or to check out the story in its entirety, visit Michael Sporn's splog.

A single panel comprises the top tier of page 27, a nice shot, almost entirely in silhouette, the boat and all players hiding beneath the dock. I desaturated this because the coloring isn't good and the effect of the searchlights in the background come across more. Other than minor rimlighting all is in shadow, save what is backlit by the lights. Between the swaths of light, Toth rendered those areas with crosshatch.

After a slap to the face, Toby's had enough and strikes back against the bully, Smith. Action! Toth uses motion lines at the point of contact and to indicate Smith is reeling, but otherwise the motion is conveyed by the sweep of a scarf, the flow of jackets, and a cigarette dangling in the air. Though he uses comics techniques and tricks and that vibrant sound effect, the drawing is naturalistic, but not nearly static. Toth's use of shadow and spotting black solidify the figures and action, adding depth and weight.


There's a lot crammed into the next panel, but it all works. Toby's imposing figure looming over the fallen Smith, Clint & Mac and the Skip in the background.
The boat is on the move again, now with Toby in charge. What a wonderful 3/4 overhead view, the composition defined by wake as the boat slices through the dark waters. There's an illustrative touch here again, with the wake bleeding into an open border of the panel. All details of the ship, now from another angle are spot on, the water rendered with impressionistic virtuosity.



Atop the next page, Toby is in control as they head out to sea.


A nice shot of Toby, underlit, finishes off the page. What an expression! What a character!

I'll wrap up Clint and Mac next week. Be here next Tuesday for the fireworks!

In the meantime catch up on other Clint & Mac installments or the 80+ Toth posts I've done the last two years for TothPix.