Archive | Alex Toth

The Raves Have Started! Bravo for Alex Toth!

Treasures Retold: The Lost Art of Alex Toth is just hitting stores and the raves have already begun:

The Library of American Comics has “put together an exciting and insightful new companion volume to their Eisner Award-winning Alex Toth: Genius trilogy…a superb mix of material.” —Scoop

“An eye feast of words and pictures…Over 290 pages of eye popping, adventure, art, and creativity by Alex Toth. AMAZING stuff. This is an addition that every creative person must have in their personal library.” —Beau Smith

Important News for All Caniffites

Last June, we ran this piece to ask you to join us in wishing a Happy 100th Birthday to Lieutenant Colonel Bernice V. Taylor, the World War II Army nurse who served as Milton Caniff’s model for Terry and the Pirates‘s popular character, Taffy Tucker.

Lt. Col. Taylor’s niece, Judith Bernice Taylor Holliday, reached out to us with this news from April 28th, 2019:

It is with great sadness that I am notifying you that Lt. Col. Bernice Taylor, who was the ‘face’ of Nurse Taffy Tucker in the Terry and the Pirates series of comics during WWII, died peacefully this morning in hospice at the age of 100 years, 10 months and 7 days.  She had been in failing health for several months. She lived an extraordinary life, and her race is run.  

She will be interred after graveside military services at Olive Branch Cemetery, White Cloud, KS, in mid-May.  

While ‘Aunt Bernice’ didn’t engage in the antics of Nurse Taffy, her character in the comics cheered many lonely Air Force soldiers far from home, most of whom are now gone.  For Terry and the Pirates fans, though, she will live on. 

You paid a wonderful tribute to Bernice on her 95th birthday, which the family appreciated.  Please add this final chapter to her story.

Like so many of The Greatest Generation, Lt. Col. Taylor was reluctant to speak of her War-years experiences, even to family members. “The war has been over for a long time,” Judy Holliday quoted Bernice as saying during our initial e-mail exchange in 2013. But it was — and remains — a great honor to have a picture of her, at age 95, with a copy of our fifth Terry and the Pirates volume:

We know you will join us in paying respects to Lt. Col. Taylor, and thanking her for both her service to our country in its time of dire need, and for her place in helping to shape comics history.


During their lifetimes there was little overlap between Milton Caniff and Walt Disney, but news reached us a few days after Judy Holliday’s sad note that provides a modern-day intersection of sorts between the two: Disney Legend Floyd Norman — who needs no introduction to Disney fans worldwide, and who was so gracious and helpful to us during the preparation of our third Alex Toth book, Genius, Animated — will receive the National Cartoonist Society’s Milton Caniff Award in mid-May.

You can read — and see — more about Mr. Norman and the NCS award in this Daily Cartoonist article. Congratulations, Mr. Norman, for this richly-deserved accolade!


Episode 009 with special guest Lorraine Turner

Dean Mullaney and Kurtis Findlay are back for another episode of the Library of American Comics & EuroComics Podcast!

In this episode, Dean and Kurtis talk about The Silence of Malka and For Better or For Worse, Vol. 2! Plus, Lorraine Turner returns to the show and she and Dean share stories from their recent trip to Italy! And if that isn’t enough: San Diego Comic-Con panel and signing info! The fate of Red Barry! Info about a new Alex Toth book! And a tease about an upcoming volume of LOAC Essentials!

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Back to the Shelves

Several years ago we took some time in this space to show you what my LOAC bookshelf looked like. I shelve my books in alphabetical order by author, or by publisher where that makes more sense — for instance, while my William Saroyans are under “S”, my Fantastic Fours are under “M”, with the rest of my Marvel Comics collections. My Library of American Comics titles are therefore under “L,” and then shelved alphabetically in a logical way (well, logical to me, anyway), as you can see:

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2017: The LOAC Year in Review

The Library of American Comics marked its tenth year of publication this summer, and using this milestone as a launching point, 2017 was the year LOAC took the comics world by storm. The familiar “word balloon” logo was emblazoned on a wide range of products including t-shirts, coffee mugs, towels, baseball caps, and even lace doilies to drape over the back of sofas or love-seats. There were the LOAC events at major conventions on both coasts. The article on us (with the biographical sidebar about Dean) in that July issue of Entertainment Weekly. And how about …

Wait. None of that really occurred. Sorry — sorry!

Instead, what happened during 2017 was that LOAC continued its mission to collect a wide range of entertaining and significant newspaper comics in permanent hardcover editions, helping to preserve the “strips” portion of comics, one of the handful of truly native American artforms.

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“Bravo” on Steroids

“A coffee table book that needs only four legs to make it a real coffee table!!!”

That was the reaction of one of our longtime Friends of LOAC when he got a look at the Bravo for Adventure Artist’s Edition. This release marks The Library of American Comics’s first collaboration with the Artist’s Edition program so masterfully orchestrated by IDW editor Scott Dunbier, and this beautiful new book is a fitting capstone to Dean’s and my eight-year odyssey through the life and art of the Genius — Alex Toth.


For those who’ve been living on Ceres for the past several years, an Artist’s Edition collects significant comics and reproduces them from the original artwork, at the original size. So yes, as our ol’ pal indicates, this version of Bravo For Adventure is jacked and pumped and larger than life!

How big is it, the longtime Tonight Show fans among you ask?

The Bravo A.E. is even taller than our oversize “Champagne Edition” books, such as Polly and Her Pals, and is much, much bigger than the standard-size books found at either comics shops or bookstores. If you’ll excuse just a little bit of flash glare, here’s the Bravo A.E. in comparison to both a collection of Simon and Kirby’s Boys’ Ranch (which is the same size as a typical Marvel Masterwork volume) and The Golden Peril, which is the very first Doc Savage paperback I ever bought, back in the early 1970s.


You get the idea — you may have seen Bravo For Adventure before, but you’ve never seen it like this!

In addition to all three of Alex’s “Jesse Bravo” stories, this Artist’s Edition includes a wide variety of Toth’s sketches, scrap, and false starts on other, never-completed Bravo stories. Readers will also get to enjoy the previously-unpublished color pages intended to form part of Bravo‘s original 1975 release as a graphic album in France.

It is always a delight to study and enjoy an Alex Toth comics story, and it has been an enormous honor to be involved with preserving his work and chronicling his life in our three-volume set: Genius, Isolated; Genius, Illustrated; and Genius, Animated.


Again, we sincerely thank Alex’s four children — Dana, Carrie, Eric, and Damon — for their invaluable support and assistance, and all those who helped us put so much of Alex’s remarkable work back into print for new generations of readers to learn from and savor.

Alex Toth, Genius Slipcases Pre-Order!

In answer to the many inquiries from Alex Toth fans about the slipcase for the Alex Toth, Geniustrilogy, we’re happy to announce not one but two versions!

1. For those who have already bought the books, we’re producing a special limited edition slipcase with a signed and numbered “library card” that can be placed in your previously purchased first book of the series. This Limited Edition Slipcase and Library Card set is exclusively available in the IDW online store and limited to advance orders. This listing is for the Slipcase & Library Card set only; no books are included. It’s our “thank you” to readers who’ve bought each book as it was published. The Slipcase and Library Card set will tentatively be available for shipment in late October 2014.

You can pre-order at the IDW online store.

The slipcase artwork features Alex Toth sketches on both sides; the library card features a previously unpublished pencil sketch of the Fox. The library card is signed by authors Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell.




2. For those who haven’t yet bought the books, the complete three-book set will be available in October in a standard edition slipcase featuring an Alex Toth self portrait.


Sites for Sore Eyes

It’s been awhile since I’ve occupied this space. Not by choice—y’see, I started the month of April being called out of state to deal with a family issue. Where I was hanging my hat for a few weeks brought me reasonably close to Dean’s home, close enough to allow us to get together one day for a Real High Level LOAC Strategy Session (well, as high level as we ever get, anyway!).

On the personal front, the good news was that the results of my familial visit were all positive. I got to return home feeling my time away from hearth and home was well spent. The bad news was that once I returned, I had to run like mad to get caught up on all the things that had been given short shrift while I was out-of-pocket. I looked and, *blink!*, April was gone, baby, gone.

I took a couple days here in early May to catch a figurative breath and while I did, it occurred to me that, as hip-hop happening as this site may be, it’s not the only site that may be of interest to LOAC readers. Here are some other places you might enjoy visiting:

As we get ready to close out our definitive Flash Gordon/Jungle Jim “Champagne Edition” series (and prepare to shift gears for the Alex Raymond Secret Agent X-9, a project slated to go into production later this year for a 2015 release), this entry in noted comic strip historian Allan Holtz’s blog-site caught my eye. I quoted a portion of this piece in my essay for the upcoming Flash/JimVolume 4.


One of the joys in my LOAC duties is reading through old newspapers and magazine containing articles about the cartoonists and series we’re re-publishing. These periodicals are real-life time machines, transporting me to the time period in question the way no modern-day, special-effects-laden movie or TV show can ever do. Those 21st Century confections are like Cool Whip, but the from-period material I study is like pure whipped cream—I not only get to see the articles of interest, I see the ads, the photographs, the names of the men and women making news at the time. Even the typography and page layout is vastly different from what we experience today. This is a pursuit that’s probably not for everyone, but fortunately it’s right up my alley.

Another LOAC release coming soon is our third Alex Toth volume, Genius, Animated. (Dean and I have each seen advance copies from the printer and, well, we’re pretty happy with the results. We hope you’ll feel the same!)




One person we consulted for the book was the estimable Floyd Norman (Google him or check his bona fides at if you’re unfamiliar with his work). This Disney Legend worked with Alex several times throughout their respective careers. When I recently spoke to Mr. Norman, he said he’d been so busy doing publicity for Disney he had forgotten what he had said to whom!

He had only interesting and meaty things to tell us about Toth, as you’ll see when Genius, Animated goes on sale. Meanwhile, here’s one way to see what Mr. Norman said at one stop during his tour:

Thanks to our good friend Bill Peckmann for passing along that link to us and making sure we didn’t miss it! Bill has a distinguished animation/advertising career of his own (those of us who fondly remember ABC’s Schoolhouse Rock cartoons owe Bill a debt of thanks for his work on that fine series, and if you’ve ever seen the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee, guess who created him …?).

As they say on the late night infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!” readers of our prior Toth volume (Genius, Illustrated, currently nominated for two Eisner Awards) may recall seeing examples of Alex’s Conan pin-ups produced at the behest of editor Louise Jones (now Louise Simonson) for Marvel’s Savage Sword of Conan magazine.


You can see nine Tothian takes on the iron-thewed Cimmerian here.

Finally, zooming away from individual titles and thinking at the total-LOAC level, are you aware the IDW website maintains a message board devoted to The Library of American Comics? It tends to be one of IDW’s livelier boards, with a thoughtful and articulate group of posters (I sometimes appear there, though I wouldn’t use terms like “thoughtful” or “articulate” to describe myself!). The site is easy to navigate, so if you’re curious about what goes on there, feel free to swing by sometime.

Speaking of swinging by, I plan to be back here more often going forward—though I do have to make another familial trip for five days from the tag-end of May through the first few days of June …

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