TothPix: The Land Unknown • Part 7

Mid-way through the tale, over the next five-page span, the crew meet long-haired, bearded castaway, Dr. Hunter. After the huge lizard slithers away, Maggie is grabbed from behind in a panel even more effective in color than B&W: only five colors which clarify objects and action. Toth can draw as many big leaves and shadows from which Hunter emerges, since the dark green knocks out and flattens the backdrop.

Why draw a screaming lady's face as she's carried away when you can feature her rear end? Harmless khaki cheesecake for boys!

Nice design: The rule of thirds applied, the lower 1/3 rendered with simple arcs for water ripples; a variety of outlined shapes and patterns for foliage in the upper 2/3; blacks spotted on the boat and figures for depth, contrast and interest; slight perspective on the boat so it's not a straight horizontal; textures on the boat side, rudder and rope to differentiate from the open space of the water and the background.

3/4 overhead shot. No holding line for the shore, formed instead where open water space meets chiaroscuro trees and leaves. Simple lines indicated the wake, small dots in water to prevent flatness.

The crew moves through fog in search of Maggie. The stark silhouettes softened by a single muted color, an effect Toth obviously planned for color to indicate the murky soup.

Yet another frame that works better in color than B&W, the color of the ground softening the hand silhouette and shadow on boot, all to focus on the footprints.

A thin sliver of the lake in the foreground gives way to the shore which shows the footprints which lead to the absent vessel. The characters are cropped by the edge of a hill draped in shadow, framed by exotic roots and leaves.

A panel attractive in both color and B&W. Toth could hardly simplify this shot more, but the three main shapes are interesting and abstract: the lake horizontal with swath of black (depth in color indicated by lighter water tones receding into background); the squarish sky shape, broken by the curve of the rock, rendered with vertical grooves. The centers of interest are offset in the panel, the crew in the raft pointing to the smoke (casting a shadow) emanating from an opening.

A close-up on Hunter, mysterious with his face nearly all in shadow, lit by a fire in a cave.

In panel 1 of page 19, Maggie's tookus is featured again, framing a cropped Hunter speaking from the background. The characters are cropped and framed by Hunter's handmade ladder.

Another posterior (!) - this time in the background as Maggie climbs the ladder, though her figure is cropped to avoid drawing to much attention from the talking heads in the foreground. The crew (again, cropped) then takes their leave as Hunter raves in silhouette. Simple curves and dots indicate water.

Storytelling! Back at the site, Hal counts the days. Angled heads throw shadows. A foreshortened hand. And in the final panel, sparse rendering of foliage. Subtle, pretty stuff!

For dinosaurs, chases, gunshots, leaps, roars and tentacles (!) go directly to Part 8, 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.

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