In memoriam of the anniversary of Alex Toth’s death (this past Sunday, May 27th), we have dug up a few of his works from the late 60s-early 70s. A page from issue number 12 of the DC Comics series “The Witching Hour”, and a page from one of the many romance comics he illustrated (penciled, in the case of our sample), “Young Romance”.
But first, a powerfully simplistic self-portrait that Toth did for collector Mark J. Cohen, whose collection resides here at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and contains over 370 cartoonist self portraits. A number of these pieces were displayed in our 2011 exhibit, Gallery Of Rogues: Cartoonist Self-Caricatures.
Widely considered to be one of the greatest cartoonists of our time, and a protege of Milton Caniff (our founding donor!), Toth is revered not for the creation of any particular character or brilliant strip, but for his absolute command of the comics art-form at large.
Below, an original page from DC Comics’ 1969 The Witching Hour, which quite perfectly displays Toth’s supreme understanding of design and the layout of a page.
Known best for his work on Zorro comics and animation work for Hanna-Barbera Productions (including the design of Space Ghost), Toth was an influence on many and a placater to few. He was strong willed and outspoken about disliking much in the field; from gratuitous violence in comics to the abstract and experimental.
To quote his autobiography in Kitchen Sink Press’ 1995 book Alex Toth: “I detest stupidity, ignorance, and arrogant disregard for craft in a “professional,” and I’ve made enemies of such people through the last thirty-three years! Much to my own disadvantage, I might add! But I am what I am, and it’s the only way I know to live a life, in as honest a manner as is possible! Play it, and say it, straight!”
In May of 2006, Toth passed away at his drawing table at age 77, in his home in Burbank, CA.