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Tag: Gun Glory

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TothPix: Only Gossip...?

A sweet panel by Toth from Gun Glory (1957 - Dell Movie Western No. 846) of a western gal gossiping about gossip.

The door and frame are perfectly vertical, no tricky angles needed when Toth leads the viewer to the lady's eye with the shadow on the door. Even the tail of her word balloon continues the diagonal, as well as her eyebrow, accentuating that through line. Her face is cropped for interest and to highlight the pretty lady is spying, tho with no ill intent. The rendering is simple, almost crude, the texture on the door contrasting with the clean, open space of her face. Toth doesn't draw the edge of the door, rather letting the viewers eye finish the picture.

Gosh, this is good.

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TothPix: Gun Glory

In 1957, Toth drew an adaptation of the movie western, Gun Glory, featuring Stewart Granger and Rhonda Fleming. It appeared in Dell Comics' self titled one-shot ("Four Color" #846). Toth did many movie and TV adaptations during the late '50s and early '60s, including Zorro, Roy Rogers, The Time Machine, Sea Hunt, 77 Sunset Strip, No Time For Sergeants and The FBI Story, among many others (some of which I'll cover in future installments).

Toth was a master of spotting blacks, well known and emulated for his shadow work and use of silhouettes, and this page from Gun Glory is a prime example.

gunglory21

He doesn't do it as a time saver, or 'cause he was lazy, or on every page or panel, but when it suited his purposes in creating a mood and telling the story. This scene takes place out in the open American West, with the sun high in the sky, so the light colors and stark shadows are appropriate.

He sets the scene with the rifleman leaving his horse atop a ridge, skipping down for position. Panel two is the true establishment frame, a brilliant bird's eye shot that gives us his location in relation to the rider below. In panel three, though entirely in silhouette, Toth indicates everything the reader needs to know with the gesture of the buck of the horse and turn of the rider as warning shots are fired, all while striking strong angles through the middle of the frame and page. A close up follows to show us the character, jittery, then it's back to another silhouette as the rider regains his defiance and bravado, continuing on. In the last panel, Toth leaves us anxious to turn the page and find out how this conflict is resolved.

Each frame works on its own, and the page composition is superb, all angles and triangles, positive and negative shapes, with cowboy's guns blazing along craggy rock. But my favorite panels are the second and sixth: both simple and clear, yet strong and complex.

Take a look at the whole page at a smaller size, and it's apparent how Toth expertly leads the eye of the reader from panel to panel, through the page, as indicated on the right by my bold red line:

Just fantastic.

I'm unsure whether these are particularly great scans, or if Dell's printer was extremely attentive in laying down a heavy black ink during printing. Toth seems to have drawn this story and others from the period so they'd carry and look good regardless of how well they were colored or printed. In this case, the coloring is kept simple, naturalistic and subdued, which supports well enough the art and story.

I grabbed the art for the entire story from the Toth Fans web site. To read Gun Glory in its entirety, email me directly a request to paul@bluemoonstudios.com, and I'll send you all the pages in a zipped folder.