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Tag: Zorro


Toth Zorro Cover

The original cover of Toth's Zorro Volume 1, published by Eclipse (1988). Most of the stories ain't much, but the work and storytelling is top notch. And the Introduction by Howard Chaykin is worth the price of admission itself.

toth_zorro_cover_cropCropped original art.

Complete_Alex_Toth_Zorro_color_lowres Color version of the cover as published. The entire background was intended and printed as a extreme deep purple, but shows in the scan as black, alas.


Black & white original art of the full cover.



TothPix: Z

Zorro by Alex Toth. 'Nuff said.



TothPix: Zorro

zorro_3 'Nuff said.


TothPix: Under the Gun

I'm up to my neck, under the gun, behind the eight ball, in a tight spot - way too much work to complete and post my review of Genius, Isolated. Probably next week.

This one one sweet Toth panel from his Zorro run: Sergeant Garcia is caught unawares.Most of Garcia's head and figure are in shadow, as is the gun and finger on the trigger.  This creates the highest contrast  with the gun, so the center of interest, also focusing attention on Garcia's reaction/expression. The gun is cropped, Garcia's head tight to the right side of the frame. So, the point at which the tip of the gun meets Garcia's neck is at lower-center panel, though in shadow, obscured.

All lines and curves of this composition leads one's eye to that center point (as shown below).

Another Zorro page is analyzed here and Zorro sketches here.


TothPix: Chasing Zorro

Following the Toth Zorro page I covered last week is a portion of the next - a chase!

In this panel (3), after establishing  in the first two panels (not shown) who's riding and who's chasing, Toth crops in tightly, again placing the reader in the middle of the action. Can't get simpler than this, really, with a close-up on Zorro in the foreground and the silhouetted figures riding in the distance. But how bold and sophisticated! He spots his black areas on the hat, mask and in shadow, breaking the frame almost exactly down the center vertically, but slightly askew. Contrasting from the solid dark shapes, he varies his line work nicely. There's no stylistic swagger here, no showing off. The texture of the hat, cape, cord around the crown, and mustache are rendered as dictated by form.

I love how he cropped Zorro's right eye from our view to focus on the left as he peers behind him, an effect enhanced by simple but careful toning he added later.

For the lower half of the page, Toth pulls back again to set up the closing chase and coming leap. Almost entirely in silhouette, this sequence takes place at night, starkly moonlit. That small sliver of rock on the right side of the long, horizontal panel make clear Zorro's destination, and the precarious nature of his situation. The leap itself is dynamic and sweeping, but grounded in reality. Toth cleverly merges Tornado's hind legs to the rock from which he jumps, bits of loose dirt and stone falling, when many artists might have been tempted towards the fantastic, showing horse and rider spread fully in the air. Toth's choices make us feel the gravity, make the leap truly fantastic.

The final panel is again in silhouette, but Toth leaves bits of light show on horse, rider, cape and rock to add depth and prevent a flat, static, graphic image. The following riders and horses rear up and stop, while we see the triumphant Zorro and Tornado taunting on the other side. Classic.

Next week: a break from Zorro, as I point you to plenty of other peerless posts on Master Toth!


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.


TothPix: Zorro Sketches

I grabbed both of these gorgeous Toth Zorro sketches from the Toth Fan Site, but cleaned them up a small bit. Zorro was Toth's favorite hero, I think, and it shows in these sketches. These two are so brilliant, I'm almost at a loss to articulate why and how. Almost.


In this first, Toth strips everything down to it's barest form, but all the details are there, even if vaguely suggested, like the structure of the sword, the buttons on his shirt, the ties of his mask hanging under chin, the belt, the exquisite reflections in the boots, the holster for the sword, and the graceful drapery and flow of the cape. Wow. Couple that with the assured and powerful angles and swaths of black, capturing the character perfectly, along with the playful en garde atop, and lucky Glenn owns a real winner. I'm so jealous.

And as much as I love the first, this next I find even more clever and sophisticated. Toth adds tons of depth and drama as Zorro peers around the corner, the sword poking past the wall, a mirror-image shadow thrown below. And these he balances with all the other angles throughout the piece: the sweep of the cape, the triangle shadow at the base of the wall, the scabbard again poking from below the cape, the diagonal horizon line. Toth has also added grey tone for more depth, the soften the more harsh shapes in semi-shadow and for texture.


Then take in the cock of Zorro's head, the mask, the hat, the ties of the cape, shapes zig-zagging back-and-forth, all adding interest, but again the character and personality of the hero. And Zorro's left foot is raised, weight on his toe as he leans forward, all adding to the suspense, tho we know not what awaits him 'round the corner.


Next week I'll continue with more Zorro - some favorite panels and pages from his superb run for Disney.