I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Alex Toth 1928-2006

Above art from comicartville.com

I stumbled on the news at Drawn and it still struck me. Almost as if it couldn’t happen. I’ve a childhood filled with countless hours of American Saturday morning cartoons, favorites of mine were the two most associated with Toth: Space Ghost and Jonny Quest. Later on there would be others and it would be years later before I would be able to attach a name to the art. Alex Toth.

I then found the comics. He was a master. By the time I found myself in animation he was mentioned in a way only gunslingers in westerns were depicted: He came to town and cleaned it up, read people the riot act, shot the bad guys dead. Then he left. Didn’t hang around to be thanked nor did he want it.

I found my way to this forum where his oldest son, Eric, had posted about his father’s demise. Apparently, he was drawing and writing till the end. Another thing that surprised me was how Toth never quite believed how much he meant to countless artists in comics and animation, and only coming around to this realization only recently.

When working on Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Timm had started a correspondence with him and those letters were like packages from some other dimension. Handwritten in his unmistakable perfect script, he wrote in his famous run-on paragraphs about art and storytelling. Keep it simple. Take away the frills, leave only what’s essential. The accompanying pencil drawings were masterful doodles of what this man is capable of. I wanted then that he come out of retirement and do more comics.

I wish all the best to his family and I hope they know that Alex Toth was well loved and admired.

Detail from tothfans.dynu.com. Toth's handscript inspired me to clean up my own handwriting. My sketchbooks are more legible today thanks to him.

Drawn post on Alex Toth
Tothfans.com Forums.
Eulogy at Comics Reporter
Wikipedia entry on Alex Toth.
Auad Publishing bio on Alex Toth.
Metafilter post on Toth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a bit shocked as well. I too grew up watching the cartoons he designed (though 20 years after their original release,) and even today I find that while his designs were definitely ahead of his time for American TV animation, Herculoids is the one show in which I thought his designs and the animation seemed to match incredibly well. A lot of shadows on Igoo and tones were being animated there, as well as multi-legged animals and very abstract concepts with Gleep and Gloop. Of course, his comic work is a landmark of its own and every once in a while I would drop by his site and peruse through the gallery for inspiration.

12:43 AM

Blogger Ronnie said...

I hope he's watching all this. He was influential over the years and those shows he slogged through--wonder now how rewarding that was for him. I loved The Herculoids, especially that heavy inked drawings--obviously copied directly from his. Then the sudden drop in line quality when the thin line animation has to come in, made me wish it could all be his drawings moving.

Thanks for the post, Regis.

11:05 AM

Blogger 720 X 576 said...

hey very nice sketches!!!

10:14 AM


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