Username:

Password:

Fargot Password? / Help

Tag: Disney

0

TothPix: Clint & Mac - Close the Hatch

Years ago, sometime within the last decade, while rooting my way through the archives of scans of Alex Toth pages at the tothfans.com site, I was struck by one panel in particular: a shot of two arms coming up through and opening to close a hatch behind them.

It reinforced for me the idea that Toth would often make unorthodox choices in his storytelling, an approach to material unlike anyone I'd seen. Most artists would show the two boys from below, or from above - in any case we'd see an anxious face or scurrying bodies. Instead, Toth frames the hands and closing hatch through a window from inside the boat adding drama and focusing our attention not on the boys but the main action. From such a low angle, we see just enough to establish planes and depth, where the hands emerge from the opening.

This may seem unremarkable or unassuming, but to me it's daring - superb storytelling and picture-making.

Upon first viewing, I neglected to grab and download the page/story, so for a few years couldn't place where I'd seen it! I scoured his stories to find (for me) this elusive panel (story page 21, panel 6), to finally come upon it in his wonderful Clint and Mac - an adaptation of a Disney TV serial from the Mickey Mouse Club show.

I've tried my best to explain why, but it's one of my all-time favorite Toth panels. No one else would do it this way, especially in 1960. You can view/read the entire story in a couple posts at Michael Sporn's blog. In the next few weeks here I'll be analyzing some stand-out pages and panels. (I should note I took some liberties with the frame above, tweaking and cleaning for clarity.)

'Til next week -- !

0

TothPix: Zorro - Swords, Shots and Leaps!

Here's another fine Toth Zorro, from later in the Secret Passage story. Super composition, storytelling, action, shot variety, body language and draftsmanship. He makes it all look so easy, and tops it off with a patented Zorro leap from a balcony to horse!

Let's take a closer look, tier by tier:

In panel one, the bumbling, stout sidekick, Garcia is called by his capitan for aid. The rendering here is impeccable, loose and easy, confident and expressionistic, from the shadow of leaves dappling the tree, to the rough, grassy terrain, to the folds on Garcia's pants to the simple outline of the background shape which leads us to panel two. Garcia is now inside, taken aback by the sword fight and confusing situation. What a pose! Add Zorro's forward lunge and rumpled rug underfoot as were treated to an unbelievable array of action, light and shadow, composition and texture.

In the middle tier, Toth throws us right in the thick of the skirmish as Zorro knocks the sword from his opponent's grasp. We get a good look at the hero in his element as Garcia fumbles for his gun, just behind. Gunshots zing past Zorro as he turns and retreats, dialogue and sound effects integral elements of each panel. We're in the center of the action! Simple background texture and shapes hint at staircases and stone.In the final, bottom tier, the artist pulls us back outside, first in a long shot from ground level as our hero calls for his horse and prepares to leap from the window/balcony, then from a bird's-eye view as leaps to Tornado and makes his escape. Once again, sound effects are part of the piece, all background and foreground elements rendered as appropriate, whether shadowy bushes and trees, stone wall and floor, varied textures help establish time and place and break things up visually. I love the way his cape sweeps over the ledge int he final panel, casting a shadow.

Throughout the page, Toth's choices with tone thirty years after first doing the art help add depth, clarify the action and lead the reader's eye. Sweet stuff!

Next week, a torrent of Toth links, then back to more Zorro.