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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!

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