TothPix: The Land Unknown • Part 11

Last we left, the 'copter was just taking off, the crew making their escape from The Land Unknown. From the cockpit they (and the readers) get an eyeful of T-Rex!

Toth's got the hang of these dinosaurs now, ferocious, lively, snarling and snapping. What a shot!

Looking at the entirety of page 27, we can see Toth composes the page not only by spotting blacks, but largely with a series of curves and circular shapes (as shown in red on the right). He leads the eye not only from panel to panel, but through the page and swirling back into the action from the lower right.

He mixes up the shots, too: from above (panel 1); from below eye level inside the cockpit (panel 2); looking outside the cockpit window, filled up by the large head of the beast (panel 3); to a large wide view of dinosaur rearing back as the 'copter takes off.

Moving on to page 28, we get a bird's eye view of the Land, finally seeing the tops of those stylized trees Toth has been drawing in the background throughout the story. What cool trees! They're like floating islands; tropical, green, rooty icebergs. In panel 2, he pulls way back for a long shot, all figures an elements very tiny, placed against a large slate of negative space, and a black, rectangular slab of water.

We're back in the air again now, from above the 'copter, a slight shadow thrown on Hal's cap and figure. The winch juts out and the rope leads us to tiny Maggie and Hunter below, waiting in the boat. In panel 4, Toth does a 180 and we're below, looking up at the underside of the helicopter. Boy, he's really moving that "camera" around! (I do think this frame would have been more effective had we seen all of Maggie's figure, hanging, not cropped.)

Swirls and circles abound in frame 5, the curve of the 'copter, the doorway, the rope and Maggies' figure. A super panel, telling the story well, Hal helping Maggie into the 'copter, safe and secure. Toth uses the shapes and structures of the helicopter to determine his panel and page composition, making them work for him. Hal's face in panel 6 may be stock, but that seems a better Caniff face than Milton himself ever drew, dare I say?!

The whole page holds up very well, Toth once again using curves and circular shapes mixed with a variety of angles, triangles and other shapes (as shown in red on the right) - interesting patterns, motifs and panel compositions within the larger page. Stunning!

I leave you with a small taste of original art, signed by Toth. Click either link to see page 27 or 28. You may have to sign in for a larger view.

For dinosaurs, chases, gunshots, leaps, roars and tentacles (!) go directly to Part 12, or visit the Land Unknown page for an overview and insta-links to all separate other 14 parts of this blog series. As always, one can read the story in its entirety on line.

PS - this post was prepared and composed to Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, Fanfare For The Common Man and other works. Not a bad adventure soundtrack.

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