Archive | Alex Toth

Alex Toth model sheets

Genius, Animated, the third book in our Alex Toth trilogy, is — tada — at the printer. It will be in stores in May. Adding the 336 pages in this volume, the complete set contains, as Bruce noted, more than 1,000 pages of Toth.

Even with 1,000 pages, there is some art that we just couldn’t fit. Here are five model sheets from 1967’s Young Samson and Goliath reproduced from the original artwork. (All TM and © Hanna-Barbera)

Samson_MonarchHenchman

Samson_OperationPeril

SamsonDrZuran
SamsonTheCoralCreature

 

Alex Toth, Storyboarder (part two)

Some more “extras” that we couldn’t fit in the forthcoming GENIUS, ANIMATED: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, the third book in our Alex Toth trilogy.

More to come…! (Art TM and © Hanna-Barbera.)

Superfriends6

Superfriends7

Superfriends8

Superfriends9

Alex Toth, Storyboarder (part one)

We’re in the final stages of production for GENIUS, ANIMATED: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, the third book in our Alex Toth trilogy. Deciding what art makes it into the book is a challenge. It’s like trying to put together a 500-piece puzzle with 1,500 pieces!

We’ll start sharing some of the pieces that aren’t going to be in the book. If you think these are great, wait ’till you see what did make the final cut! (Art TM and © Hanna-Barbera.)

SuperFriends1

Superfriends2

Superfriends3

Superfriends4

Superfriends5

Rare Alex Toth!!!

We were recently granted access to the Warner Bros. animation archives so we could scan more than ONE HUNDRED pieces of Alex Toth presentation artwork for Hanna-Barbera. Most of these pieces have never been seen outside of H-B and will be the centerpiece of Genius, Animated, the third book in our Alex Toth, Genius trilogy schedule for 2014.

Here’s a tease of two presentation boards. Click on each to see a larger version. Sorry, but you’ll have to wait for the book to see the rest!

TothHB_600 TothHB2_600

ristina Toth Hyde, R.I.P.

Alex_Christina

Christina Hyde passed away on Monday, July 29, in her sleep. She was Alex Toth’s former wife and mother of their four children. The family made the announcement:

“She celebrated her 80th birthday last week. She was living independently in her home in southern Oregon. She loved her dog Flash, her cat Hugo and tending to her yard and garden.Most of all, she loved her family including her twelve grandchildren. She will be greatly missed as she was very present in all of our lives, especially her grandchildren’s.”

Eldest daughter Dana adds, “As we begin to embrace what comes next—my dear brother Damon, and Aunt Darlene have driven immediately to Oregon to secure my mom’s house due to the threat of fire. There have been many homes evacuated and burned in the outlaying area. Now the fire is 3 miles from her house.

“All my adult life my mother would say that someday when she left the earth, we would sift through all the special things she saved for us. She was not materialistic, but saved notes, things she’d written but not shared yet—little items with history—they were her legacy. It brought her so much joy to imagine us finding them.

“Please pray for my family and all the families that are fighting those fires. Please pray for the safety of my brother and Aunt and all the people trying to secure their property and evacuate.

“My mom’s last words about the fire were that if her house burned to the ground she would take the insurance money and build a little cabin even further into the woods…citing that “that is another dream.” I believe that right now she is in that cabin (just not on earth).

“Thank you. Have a blessed day.”

We at LOAC add our sincere thoughts for the Toth family. Christina was very gracious in granting us interviews and sharing precious family photographs (like the one above of she and Alex in 1958) for our Alex Toth books.

Genius is Here

SeaLab_selfportrait

 

Here are the first two reviews—in Comics Bulletin and Comics Alliance—of Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth, which goes on sale today!

Jason Sacks writes in Comics Bulletin: “The generosity of artistic material in this book knows no bounds, and the quality of the biographical material is absolutely unparalleled in comics scholarship…. Genius Illustrated sets the absolute gold standard for deluxe artist biographies. There have been some wonderful comics history books released in the last few years, but this book surpasses them all in terms of its production values, its comprehensiveness and the quality of the biographical information presented. Alex Toth was one of the greatest artists ever to work in the comic art medium. This book merits the highest possible compliment: it’s a worthy tribute to Toth.”

And in Comics Alliance, John Parker says: “Genius, Illustrated is a soaring success…. The amount of material collected in Genius, Illustrated is bordering on the ridiculous…. Add to that a nuanced, heavily-researched, and even-handed biography, and you’ve got one of the most fascinating books about comics in recent memory”

Toth Re-Redux!

You’ll recall Dean’s recent post in this space showing off the advance copy of Genius, Illustratedhe received from the printer. After he finished giving it a good going-over, he sent it my way. It traveled fifteen hundred miles and showed up on my doorstep only two days later!Bruce_Illustrated

My initial reaction after a fast skimming was: “I thought it would be good, but I didn’t imagine it would be this good …” What prompted that reaction?

Part of it is that, since the book covers Alex Toth’s life and career from the mid-1960s to its end in the early 21st Century, we have more color to offer—more color snapshots, more color artwork (wait’ll you see that full-color presentation piece Toth did for The Herculoids—wow!). Part of it is that Illustrated has even more pages than its predecessor, Genius, Isolated, yet it also forms a nearly seamless whole when combined with that earlier book.

Part of it is that we were fortunate that comic art fans, other professionals, and “The Friends of Alex” were generous in providing us original artwork to use in the book—we once again reprint many full stories for readers to enjoy, an impressive number of them shot from the original art, as well as a wide variety of rare pieces. (OK, you Toth fans, you say you’ve seen the Rape: A Man’s Problem art Alex did for Uncle Sam—but have you seen the unaltered Rape art? You will, inGenius, Illustrated!) And part of it is that Alex’s story is a compelling one, a story that impresses, inspires, and yet touches us in vulnerable, all-too-human ways. We owe a huge vote of thanks to Alex’s family, friends, and peers for their candor and insights, for helping us pay what we hope is fitting tribute to the Master.

A couple of extra teaser pages, to whet your appetite.

ILLUS_HannaBarbera

ILLUS_Conan

Genius, Illustrated goes on sale very soon; be watching for it! Me, I’m settling down over the next day or two to give it a detailed reading and savor every page…

Alex Toth Redux!

After two years or researching, writing, and gathering rare and wonderful art, our advance copy ofGENIUS, ILLUSTRATED: The Life and Art of Alex Toth has arrived. Here’s a quick look at the cover and a couple of interior spreads. The book will be on sale late next month!

Toth2_covers

Toth2_int1

Toth2_int2

Measure for Measure

teen

Alex Toth drawing James Bond, Dick Tracy, the men from U.N.C.L.E., Li’l Abner…and more!!!

This spring I promised that my Job One was producing the text for Genius, Illustrated, the concluding installment in our comprehensive examination of Alex Toth’s life and art. My summer was devoted almost exclusively to this pursuit, with the writing concluded very close to the last day of summer. After that, it passed inspection by many sets of eyes, my own first of all-when you produce a work of this length and complexity, you want to step back, read it stem-to-stern, and make sure the whole hangs together they way you envisioned while you were working on the individual parts!

ILLUS_MSOnscreen

Once I was satisfied, Dean read the manuscript and gave it his approval, then we passed it into the hands of Alex’s four children: Dana, Carrie, Eric, and Damon. We also asked a couple folks to read portions of the text in order to confirm we were correctly conveying the information they had provided.

One can ask how it could possibly take more than four months to write a manuscript; the answer is a tapestry made up of three major threads, which together resulted in me amassing this tsunami of paper, DVDs, CD-ROMs, books, magazines, and audio cassettes not just over the past four months, but over the past two years:

 

ILLUS_BirdseyeView

The first thread is the sheer volume of topics that needed to be addressed. Genius, Illustrated‘s manuscript is thirty-five percent longer than its predecessor’s, covering the last forty-five years of Toth’s life, the second half of his eclectic career in comics, and the bulk of his career in animation (Genius, Isolated discusses his days with Cambria Studios, but Illustrated takes Alex through his many stints at Hanna-Barbera [H-B] and his other assignments on cartoon series such as Thundarr the Barbarian and The Bionic 6). When you consider that he was often producing new comics material while also working at H-B, the strands of this thread have a tendency to weave in and out, wrapping around one another in sometimes-unexpected ways. Correlating this amount of information and organizing it in a coherent way that doesn’t confuse the reader is a challenge best met by careful forethought and planning, before the writing ever begins.

The second thread is the number of persons who had something to say about Alex. We conducted interviews for this project-many of them lengthy and far-reaching-with roughly two dozen of Toth’s family, compeers, and fellow professionals. We certainly could not reach out to every one of the “Friends of Alex” without the manuscript growing so dense reviewers would begin casting about their favorite H-word (“hagiography”). Still, I believe you’ll find the sizable cross-section of participants speak with authority and emotion about the major aspects of Alex the Fabulous Talent and Alex the Curmudgeonly Man. To give you a sense of exactly how much interview wordage we’re talking about, I stacked up all of the transcripts of phone interviews I had at hand-I made no effort to add printed copies of the conducted-by-e-mail interviews we did with folks like Bill Chadbourne-and measured them. As you can see, the stack stands roughly two and a half inches high!

ILLUS_InterviewXscriptsSized2

That’s a honkin’ lot of material, and we could hardly use every last scrap of it. You may be able to spot my hen-scratching at top of the first page of the David Armstrong transcript visible in the picture – those are notes about which quotes within the “xscript” I wanted to include in my text, each note flagging the quote, the topic to which it pertains, and the page of the document upon which it resides. I did that with every interview in this stack after reading each multiple times.

A third thread is the amount of correspondence Alex himself wrote throughout the years. We must have read close to five hundred of Alex’s letters-written-for-publication and letters-written-to-friends that were donated to us from various sources. At times it was necessary to go back and do some rewriting on a section already completed, because a new letter would fall in our hands containing information too fascinating to exclude (Alex’s letter to Milton Caniff that appears near the end of chapter seven is one such example).

 

Bill Peckmann’s decade-plus of correspondence with Toth alone was a treasure trove of insights and opinions, and we’re forever indebted to Bill for his generosity. Notice that the stack of correspondence we received from Peckmann stands almost exactly two inches tall.

ILLUS_PeckmannCorresp

I used up more than one full packet of Post-It Notes flagging select letters for use out of this stack of Bill’s contributions, writing the date and topic on a Post-It, then attaching it every time I found a letter I planned to use (and sometimes pointing out, for longer letters, the page and paragraph containing the quote to be used).

So: Alex’s comics career, his personal life, and his cartoon career, sometimes stopping-and-restarting, sometimes overlapping each on top of the other. Digesting, organizing, and excerpting not only the words of others, but also what Alex himself had to say about a variety of other subjects (wait’ll you read his classic rant against American auto manufacturers!). Reading articles about Toth or interviews with him from a variety of magazines and websites. Watching episodes of several of Alex’s cartoons, reading a variety of his comics stories, examining his artwork (more than fifty pages of doodles alone!) … then tossing all those puzzle pieces onto the table and laboring to construct a narrative that informs, entertains, and does justice to all the many facets of its subject. All while, for a significant portion of the time, new material was regularly being added to the mix.

That’s how it can take more than four months to write a manuscript! And that’s why the Geniusseries has had a total gestation period of longer than two years…

…Yet Dean and I feel it’s been worth it and we trust you will, too, when you have the book in your hands. We didn’t like the delays any more than you did, but they were necessary to create what we believe is a quality product worthy of your valuable money and equally valuable leisure reading time.

Finally, yes, there is one more book to come in our Alex Toth: Genius series. The artbook Genius, Animated will zoom in for a close-up on Alex’s days working for the Hollywood cartoon factories. It will feature some artwork familiar to many, and quite a bit of artwork that has heretofore been seen only by a select few. It’s being produced with permission of the various rights-holders, so we won’t be repeating the issues that plagued earlier attempts at such a project (though yes, it’s certainly possible we’ll make plenty of other mistakes!). In getting such permission, we’re able to bring you a sizeable amount of unseen Alex Toth artwork that been safely sitting in the Hanna-Barbera archives. Be looking for it later in 2013—after you’ve immersed yourself in the Life and Art of Alex Toth and savored the fabulous art that infuses Genius, Illustrated.

Here’s a sampling of what you can look forward to.

Rare early 1960s Toth art for UK-based Fleetway:

 

schoolfriend2

More rare Toth art for Fleetway!

Rally

One of a series of title cards for “How To Succeed With Sex!”

Sex

Presentation pieces for unproduced Hanna-Barbera series:

Planet_of_the_Dogs

The complete “How to Murder Your Wife” strips—with the original Ben Day tones!How_to_Murder_0228

Plus the complete original art to “White Devil…Yellow Devil,” which he re-reworked after the art was returned to him from DC. Compare this printed version with the re-inked version below.

whitedevil_print

WhiteDevil4

And in case you forgot what the cover will look like:

Genius_Illustrated

 

 

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes