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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Happy 87th Birthday Alex Toth!

Yin and Yang 
and the art of 
Alex Toth!

Alex Toth's art is an art of yin and yang, the balance of extremes.
Happy 87th Birthday 
Alex Toth!
(June 25, 1928 – May 27, 2006)
Alex Toth is one of the most visually stimulating artists ever to work in the field of comics. He mastered the craft in the 40's when he worked on such superheroes as Green Lantern and though he stopped drawing superheroes for the most part, he didn't stop growing as an artist. Toth seemed to constantly evolve over his lifetime and seems to only have gotten better with time.

From ALL-AMERICAN COMICS 92, December 1947
Interestingly Toth is best in black and white. He doesn't have a style that caters to fine modeling and high detail. Color only muddies his highly refined images.

His is an art of dynamic extremes, of black and white. For Toth, the shadows and negative spaces are as important as the positive spaces. He plays a game of give and take with them, first giving the white the dominant roll of a picture and then switching to the black. His black areas are not just shadow but are often silhouettes of other objects.


With Toth, less is more. He takes out any unnecessary details, boiling images down to their simplest form, though those images he chooses are not simple images. He knows his subjects often showing off his virtuosity by drawing figures and objects at unusual angles.


He often challenges the viewer by cutting images off at the knee (figuratively and literally). Rather than giving the viewer that action packed shot, he will often cut the image off right where other artists center their images,

or, right when the viewer is the most anxious to see the image depicted, he will give them nothing but a black square!


But that's what makes his work so exciting. He not only knows his craft but he knows his audience and knows when to give them big pictures and knows when to pull them away.

Check out his Torpedo written by Enrique Sánchez Abulí from 1981.









Alex Toth - ALL-AMERICAN COMICS 92 GREEN LANTERN The Icicle Goes South, December 1947


1 comment:

  1. Alex Toth was such an amazing artist! It's nice to see you've written about him a few times. I was also a fan of Torpedo, although Bernet replaced Toth as the regular artist.

    By the way, I just read your post about Planetary and it was great. You seem to be a bit of an expert in Ellis and Cassaday. Anyway, I also wrote about Planetary in my blog (wich I encourage you to visit):

    www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

    Cheers.

    ReplyDelete