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TothPix

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TothPix: Space Ghost Comics

I was pleased to discover a few years ago that Toth had drawn a Space Ghost comic book story (TV Stars #3 (1978), all five pages of which I present below. I cleaned up and tweaked the images as best I could - remastered, if you will. Enjoy!

SG_pilgreen01 SG_pilgreen02 SG_pilgreen03 SG_pilgreen04 SG_pilgreen05

Mark Evanier's title is a play on Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, which doesn't have anything to do with the story, really. Funny that while the character is named "Pilgreem" throughout the story, lettered by Toth, near as I can tell, whoever lettered the title (might've also been Toth) misspelled it as "Pilgreen." Whoops!

I love the design and set-up of the splash panel. Jan never looked curvier than in the 1st panel on page 3. There's a gorgeous sweep and flow to the last three panels of page 3, and the first three of page 4. And it'd be great to see the black and white art of the final panel of that same page to better check out the sexy lady alien feeding Buzzard grapes.

All in all, a tasty trifle, and great to see Toth handle these characters in print.

Extra! Space Ghost links, model sheets and video.

Next: The Many Moods of Toth, a gallery of faces and expressions.

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TothPix: Foxy Shadows

toth_fox04

Mmm-hm.

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TothPix: Z

Zorro by Alex Toth. 'Nuff said.

zorro_4

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TothPix: The Shadow

Toth. Shadow. Marker and grease pencil. 1998.

1974. Marker & pencil.

Toth's closing thoughts on The Shadow and creator Walter Gibson, drawn 12-18 months before he died at his drawing table. Look closely and I swear you can see he drew the cloak before filling it in/over with black, stripping it down to just hat and nose which reads: The Shadow.

He simplified further as he grew as an artist. We should all take the lesson.

 

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TothPix - CARtoons: Love Life

Toth takes advantage of his simple gag of with a decent punchline to play with angles, action, composition, sound effects, lettering and tone in what amounts to one heckuva page!

He utilized the two-tone Craftint paper to great effect for lighting and contrast. Just take a gander at the wonderful black-spotted curves, angles and shapes Toth uses in each panel and throughout for superb page composition. Panel 5 is probably my favorite as the driver threads the needle between the two semis going opposite directions. Though the car is nearly centered in the frame, the rest of the composition is dynamic and asymmetrical, with the trucks and center line of the road in perfect perspective. I love the slight curve of the horizon line, those bold, dotted center lines shooting right us, the stark shadows on the semis, those headlights poking from the shadows. Gorgeous!

In each frame, the car is fairly small, but drawn from a different angle in each, all the details spot-on. It's evident Toth had a blast drawing this page!

Some artists love the Craftint look so much, they've developed methods to replicate the effect digitally.

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TothPix - CARtoons: Copping Out

Another super page by Toth from his mid-'60s CARtoons, collected in the now-rare One For the Road - Toth employed a less cartoony style for this one-pager, tho the sarge's face in the last panel for the punchline is comical. Great page composition here with a variety of angles to balance the page. Clever bits throughout like the badge shape for the title, the superb use of perspective (that unmarked vehicle in panel 1 - WOW!), low-angle shot for panel 3 and nice use of craft-tint board for tones and texture. Though more realistic, the drawing is still as simple as can be with so many details still there. That figure in panel 4 kills me - it could come off as awkward, but is natural as the young cop approaches the vehicle. My only complaint is the placement of the word balloon in panel 3 - no need to have placed it over the bumper of the car in panel 1. Could've/should've been placed at the bottom of the panel - plenty of room. More CARtoons next week...!

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TothPix - CARtoons: All Show, No Go

Another fun Toth page from his hot rod CARtoons from the mid-'60s -


I don't get the final gag, exactly, 'cept the decal guy is a poser/neophyte, but the characters and cartooning here are great! Toth effortlessly swings a cartoony and expressive style here, one that'd easily have fit in the pages of MAD magazine in its early heydays.

Superb movement, gesture and body language in this panel (above). The sweep of Mr. Decal's legs as he works under the hood - those folds! That short, stocky kid leaning in, toy dragster in tow. Lovely! Wonderful faces and expressions in the middle panel of the page: the dude all nonchalant with his single-tooth smile; that kid with the over-sized Harry Carrey glasses - fun! This is the kind of cartooning we'd see more and more from Toth the rest of his career - in his character designs for cartoons, his one-shot humorous strips and daily doodles. Embarrassed, the guy makes his exit in a pose that is positively Kurtzmanesque! (More here.) Even in this simple frame of three figures with no backgrounds, notice how Toth finds way to place shadows on his figures for depth, direction and design. So many sweet details: the big grin, the spastic motion lines, dangling cigarette, questions marks over Dad's head, the twisty chinstrap, and that kid and his goofy glasses! So good. More CARtoons next week...!

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TothPix - CARtoons: Zig-Zag

So much of this blog over the last 2+ years has focused on Toth's late-'50s/early '60s Dell work, which, given the content (TV and movie adaptations) dictated a somewhat realistic approach. Only a few years later (1963-1967), Toth pulled out the stops on his cartoony side with a series of fun and footloose hot rod comics for a few titles, collected in the now-rare One For the Road. Just a quick flip through those pages and it's easy to see that Toth would've held his own along side the best of the best of the MAD crew: Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Mort Drucker, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman, among others. Toth displays such verve, versatility and vivaciousness in these comics, writing a good chunk of his CARtoons output, drawing in a variety of styles and approaches. And though having been paid the bare minimum, it's obvious he was having a blast, playing on paper in ways not seen again til perhaps the first chapter of his Bravo for Adventure. Here's a taste -


Fun display/title lettering, a kooky narrator hanging for the side of the page, and some wild, graphic skateboarding action! The dialogue is playful, nonsensical gibberish, a bit of boppin' beatnik poetry which leads us to a zig-zag path, scattered stars, silhouettes and sound effects. As the Beach Boys said, these comics are "Fun! Fun! Fun!"

A closer look:

Superb design here with that winding series of "S" curves and twisty figure. Toth nails the twisty figure of skateboarding Billy with an ease and natural flow that could've been in many artists' hands an awkward mess. I just love that stylized, flappy hand, the stretched folds in Billy's shirt, the twist, bend and balance of the legs and feet. All of which breaks the panel border at bottom left, leading us to the two bottom panels...

Just a joy! These comics sparkle with electricity and energy - dazzling!

More next week...!

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TothPix: Johnny Hazard covers

In the mid-'80s, Toth did a handful of covers for collections/reprints of Frank Robbins' Johnny Hazard. The first is particularly clever, in regards to concept, composition and color.


I blew out the color and most tone for the cover to #2. The colors did absolutely nothing for me, detracting from a decent action cover.


The colors for the third are better, though faulty. Cool composition and angle by Toth here.


Another action cover for the 4th. Bright, primary colors in the main, with a nice use of white and umber shadows.


All in all, Toth did justice in tribute to one of his comic strip heroes. The first volume of a new series collecting Johnny Hazard dailies is now available.

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TothPix: The Fox


You're kiddin' me, yeah? What a great sketch! I'd never seen this one before. Man, so good!

Not much for me to add, except: superb composition, positive/negative space, what balance - you can feel the hero's weight and weightlessness. Every line is in its place, just a smidge of rimlighting here and there, sometimes clean, sometimes with a rough edge. Clever: the space in the "O" is the Fox logo.

I love that The Fox's eyes are different sizes/shapes.