Alexander Toth (June 25, 1928 – May 27, 2006) was an American cartoonist active from the 1940s through the 1980s. Toth's work began in the American comic book industry, but he is also known for his animation designs for Hanna-Barbera throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His work included Super Friends, Space Ghost, Sealab 2020, The Herculoids and Birdman. Toth's work has been resurrected in the late-night, adult-themed spin-offs on Cartoon Network: Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Sealab 2021 and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
He was inducted into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990.
Alex Toth by Michael Netzer
|Born||June 25, 1928|
New York City, New York
|Died||May 27, 2006 (aged 77)|
Alex Toth was born in 1928 to immigrants from Hungary, who were party of the Slovak minority in Hungary. His father was Sandor Toth, a musician, his mother was Mary Elizabeth. Toth's talent was noticed early, and a teacher from his poster class in junior high school urged him to devote himself to art. Enrolling in the School of Industrial Art, Toth studied illustration. He began his career when he sold his first freelance art at the age of 15, subsequently illustrating true stories for Heroic magazine through a comic book packager named Steve Douglas. Although he initially aimed to do newspaper strips ("It was my dream to do what Caniff, Raymond, and Foster had done"), he found the industry "dying" and instead moved into comic books.
After graduating from the School of Industrial Art in 1947, Toth was hired by Sheldon Mayer at National/DC Comics. Green Lantern #28 (Oct.–Nov. 1947) was one of the first comics he drew for the company. He drew four issues of All Star Comics including issues #38 and #41 in which the Black Canary first met the Justice Society of America and then joined the team. A canine sidekick for Green Lantern named Streak was introduced in Green Lantern #30 (Feb.–March 1948) and the dog proved so popular that he became the featured character on several covers of the series starting with #34. He worked at DC for five years, drawing the Golden Age versions of the Flash, Doctor Mid-Nite, and the Atom. In addition to superheroes, Toth drew Western comics for DC including All-Star Western. He was assigned to the "Johnny Thunder" feature in All-Star Western because editor Julius Schwartz considered him to be "my best artist at the time." Toth and writer Robert Kanigher co-created Rex the Wonder Dog in 1952.
For a brief time in 1950, Toth was able to realize his dream of working on newspaper comic strips by ghost illustrating Casey Ruggles with Warren Tufts. In 1952 Toth ended his contract with DC Comics and moved to California. It is during that time that he worked on crime, war and romance comics for Standard Comics. In 1954, Toth was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, he wrote and drew his own weekly adventure strip, Jon Fury, for the base paper, Depot Diary.
Returning to the United States in 1956, Toth settled in the Los Angeles area and worked primarily for Dell Comics until 1960. In that year, Toth became art director for the Space Angel animated science fiction show. This led to his being hired by Hanna-Barbera, where he created the character Space Ghost for the animated series of the same name. His other creations include The Herculoids, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, and Dino Boy in the Lost Valley. He worked as a storyboard and design artist until 1968 and then again in 1973 when he was assigned to Australia for five months to produce the TV series Super Friends.
He continued to work in comic books, contributing to Warren Publishing's magazines Eerie, Creepy and The Rook. For DC Comics, he drew the first issue of The Witching Hour (February–March 1969) and introduced the series' three witches. Toth illustrated the comic book tie-in to the Hot Wheels animated series based on the toy line. His collaboration with writer Bob Haney on the four page story "Dirty Job" in Our Army at War #241 (Feb. 1972), has been described as a "true masterpiece". Toth worked with writer/editor Archie Goodwin on the story "Burma Sky" in Our Fighting Forces #146 (Dec. 1973–Jan. 1974) and Goodwin praised Toth's art in a 1998 interview: "To me, having Alex Toth do any kind of airplane story, it's a joy for me. If I see a chance to do something like that, I will. He did a really fabulous job on it." The two men crafted a Batman story for Detective Comics #442 (Aug.-Sept. 1974) as well. Toth and E. Nelson Bridwell produced a framing sequence for the Super Friends feature in Limited Collectors' Edition #C-41 (Dec 1975–Jan. 1976). Toth's final work for DC was the cover for Batman Black and White #4 (Sept. 1996).
Alex Toth was the father of four, sons Eric and Damon and daughters Dana and Carrie. His marriage to Christina Schraber Hyde ended in divorce in 1968 and his second wife Guyla Avery died in 1985.
Toth did much of his comics work outside superhero comics, concentrating instead on such subjects as hot rod racing, romance, horror, and action-adventure. His work on Disney’s Zorro has been reprinted in trade paperback form several times. Also, there are two volumes of The Alex Toth Reader, published by Pure Imagination, which focuses on his work for Standard Comics and Western Publishing. Brian Bolland has cited Toth as one of his idols.
Journalist Tom Spurgeon wrote that Toth possessed "an almost transcendent understanding of the power of art as a visual story component", and called him "one of the handful of people who could seriously enter into Greatest Comic Book Artist of All-Time discussions" and "a giant of 20th-century cartoon design".
Toth was known for his exhaustive study of other artists and his outspoken analysis of comics art past and present. For example, in a 2001 interview he criticized the trend of fully painted comics, saying "It could be comics if those who know how to paint also knew how to tell a story! Who knew what pacing was, and didn't just jam a lot of pretty pictures together into a page, pages, and call it a story, continuity! It ain't!" Toth lamented what he saw as a lack of awareness on the part of younger artists of their predecessors, as well as a feeling that the innocent fun of comics' past was being lost in the pursuit of pointless nihilism and mature content.
In the 1990s and 2000s, he contributed to the magazines Comic Book Artist and Alter Ego, writing the columns "Before I Forget" and "Who Cares? I Do!", respectively. In 2006, James Counts and Billy Ingram compiled personal anecdotes, hundreds of unseen sketches from famous Alex Toth comic and animated works combined with correspondence with friend and comics dealer John Hitchcock in the book Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodle Book (Octopus Press). Launched at ComicCon 2006, the first printing sold out within weeks of first publication.
This issue featured some of the earliest work by talented young artist Alex Toth...Alongside other newcomers such as Joe Kubert and Carmine Infantino, Toth helped bring a fresh look to the pages of DC.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Space Ghost endured and is still popular today. In large part, this is due to the artistic input of comic book veteran Alex Toth...who, on staff with Hanna-Barbera as a designer and idea man, is generally credited with having created Space Ghost.
Like the majority of Hanna-Barbera's late '60s adventure characters...The Herculoids were created by designer Alex Toth.
It was undeniable, however, that the audacity of depicting the Prince of Peace's crucifixion in Our Army at War was attention getting. This story, arguably veteran writer Haney's most prestigious work, enriched by the magnificent [Alex] Toth art, was certainly that.
He had always wanted to do a Batman story.
Two masters of sequential storytelling, writer Archie Goodwin and artist Alex Toth, joined forces for an unforgettable Batman lead story.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
Blazing Combat was an American war-comics magazine published quarterly by Warren Publishing from 1965 to 1966. Written and edited by Archie Goodwin, with artwork by such industry notables as Gene Colan, Frank Frazetta, John Severin, Alex Toth, and Wally Wood, it featured war stories in both contemporary and period settings, unified by a humanistic theme of the personal costs of war, rather than by traditional men's-adventure motifs.Cambria Productions
Cambria Productions was the West Hollywood, California animation production studio most famous for its wide usage of the Syncro-Vox technique of animation developed by Edwin Gillette, who was a co-partner in the studio.
Owned by Clark S. Haas, Jr. from 1957 until 1965, the studio produced Clutch Cargo (1959-1960), Space Angel (1962), Captain Fathom (1965), and The New 3 Stooges (1965-1966). Test film for another series, Doc Potts or Doc Potts and Weselly, was prepared in 1960, though the series was apparently never produced. Two sample episodes of a proposed Moon Mullins series were produced along with a sales film to promote it to local television stations but it didn't clear enough markets to go into production.
Despite operating on a shoestring budget, the studio was able to produce series which are fondly remembered for their imaginative and entertaining storylines, and for their inventive ways of compensating for budgetary limitations.
Among the artists and entertainers who found employment at Cambria Studios were musician/composer Paul Horn, Margaret Kerry, Hal Smith, Alex Toth, Warren Tufts and Doug Wildey.Dean Mullaney
Dean Mullaney (born June 18, 1954) is an American editor, publisher, and designer whose Eclipse Enterprises, founded in 1977, was one of the earliest independent comic-book companies. Eclipse would publish some of the first graphic novels and was one of the first comics publishers to champion creators' rights. In the 2000s, he established the imprint The Library of American Comics of IDW Publishing to publish hardcover collections of comic strips. Mullaney and his work have received seven Eisner Awards.Fantastic Four (1967 TV series)
Fantastic Four is an animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and the first animated series based on Marvel's comic book series Fantastic Four. The program, featuring character designs by Alex Toth, aired on ABC from 1967 to 1968. It lasted for 20 episodes, with repeat episodes airing on ABC until the network cancelled the program. It was also rerun as part of the continuing series Hanna–Barbera's World of Super Adventure.
Through a series of transactions, Disney currently holds the rights to the majority of Marvel's 1960s-1990s animated output (including the DePatie–Freleng Enterprises and Marvel Productions library). However, the 1967-1968 Fantastic Four was produced by Hanna-Barbera, whose library is owned by WarnerMedia, making the series one of only a handful of Marvel-related TV projects not owned by Disney (which has since acquired Marvel outright). WarnerMedia is also the owner of Marvel's biggest competitor, DC Comics.Frontline Combat
Frontline Combat is a defunct anthology war comic book written and edited by Harvey Kurtzman and published bi-monthly by EC Comics. The first issue was cover dated July/August, 1951. It ran for 15 issues over three years, and ended with the January, 1954 issue. Publication was discontinued following a decline in sales attributed to the end of the Korean War. The title was a companion to Kurtzman's comic book Two-Fisted Tales. Both titles depicted the horrors of war realistically and in great detail, exposing what Kurtzman saw as the truth about war without glamorizing or idealizing it.Girls' Romances
Girls' Romances was a romance comic anthology published by DC Comics in the United States. Debuting with a Feb.,/Mar. 1950 cover-date, it ran for 160 issues, ending with the Oct. 1971 issue. (The final issue came out on October 3, 1971 and sold for $0.25.)Mike Sekowsky was a regular artist on the book from 1952 to the end of its run. Other artists on the title included Gene Colan, Lee Elias, Gil Kane, Win Mortimer, Bob Oksner, John Romita, Sr., John Rosenberger, Art Saaf, Jack Sparling, Alex Toth, and George Tuska. Nick Cardy drew many covers.
Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein based many of his works on panels from Girls' Romances, including In the Car (sometimes called Driving) (1963), We Rose Up Slowly (1964), and Sleeping Girl (1964).How to Murder Your Wife
How to Murder Your Wife is a 1965 American battle-of-the-sexes satirical comedy film from United Artists, produced by George Axelrod, directed by Richard Quine, that stars Jack Lemmon, Virna Lisi, and Terry-Thomas. Director Quine also directed Lemmon in My Sister Eileen, It Happened to Jane, Operation Mad Ball, The Notorious Landlady, and Bell, Book and Candle.
The comic strip art featured in the film was credited to Mel Keefer, who drew newspaper comic strips such as Perry Mason, Mac Divot, and Rick O'Shay. Comics artist Alex Toth did a teaser comic strip in Keefer's style that ran in The Hollywood Reporter and in several newspapers promoting the film for ten days prior to its theatrical opening.Men of War (comics)
Men of War is the name of several American comic book series published by DC Comics. For the most part, the series was a war comics anthology featuring fictional stories about the American military during World War II.
The original series, All-American Men of War, published 118 issues from 1956 to 1966. Contributors to All-American Men of War included writers Robert Kanigher, Hank Chapman, and France Herron; and artists Alex Toth, Gene Colan, Mort Drucker, Mike Esposito, Jerry Grandenetti, Sheldon Moldoff, Russ Heath, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Kubert, and Irv Novick. Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's famous 1962 work Whaam! is based on a Jerry Grandenetti panel from the cover of All-American Men of War #89 (January–February 1962).A second series, simply titled Men of War, published 26 issues from 1977–1980. Regular contributors included writers Kanigher, Roger McKenzie, Cary Burkett, Jack C. Harris, and Paul Kupperberg; and artists Grandenetti, Dick Ayers, and Howard Chaykin. Joe Kubert provided the cover art for the full series run except issue #1.
A third series, also titled Men of War starred Sgt. Rock and was published from November 2011–June 2012.Our Fighting Forces
Our Fighting Forces is a war comics anthology series published by DC Comics for 181 issues from 1954–1978.Pure Imagination (comics)
Pure Imagination is a comic book, magazine, and comics-related book publisher run by Greg Theakston since 1975.
While briefly doing some original comics in the 1990s, as well a publishing a few "girlie" magazines, Pure Imagination's main focus has been publishing books to preserve the great works of several comic arts. This includes the aborted Complete Jack Kirby series, and the several Reader volumes that continue to this day. Another series is Edge of Genius, which focuses on the period in which artists "come into their own." Pure Imagination has also produced some CDs that reprint multiple editions of the Reader books.Rex the Wonder Dog
Rex the Wonder Dog is a fictional dog in the DC Comics universe. Created in 1952 by Robert Kanigher of Wonder Woman fame and artist Alex Toth, Rex has sometimes been compared to Superman's dog Krypto, who was created three years later. However, though the two canine crime fighters do share some similarities, they are decidedly different. Rex shares his name with a number of other fictional dogs, including Rex the Runt, Inspector Rex and a Canine film actor "Rex the Wonder Dog" or Rex the Dog, a canine actor from numerous silent films of the 1920s.Rubblebucket
Rubblebucket is an American art-pop and indie-rock band from Brooklyn, NY. The primary members are musical couple (now separated) Annakalmia Traver and Alex Toth.Sealab 2020
Sealab 2020 is a cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on NBC from September 9, 1972, to December 2, 1972, on Saturday mornings. The series was created by Alex Toth, who also created such other Hanna-Barbera cartoons as Space Ghost and Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. A total of 13 episodes were aired, with two episodes remaining unaired. As with most Hanna-Barbera series, the show was in occasional rotation on Boomerang, the TV channel that owns the Hanna-Barbera archives. From 2000 to 2005, the series had a second life when it was parodied as Sealab 2021 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.Shazzan
Shazzan is an American animated television series, created by Alex Toth and produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions that aired on CBS from September 9, 1967 to September 6, 1969. The series follows the adventures of two teenage siblings, Chuck and Nancy, traveling around a mystical Arabian world, mounted on Kaboobie the flying camel. During their journey they face several dangers, but they are aided by Shazzan, a genie with magical powers.Space Ghost
Space Ghost (Thaddeus Bach) is a fictional character created by Hanna-Barbera Productions and designed by Alex Toth for CBS in the 1960s.In his original incarnation, he was a superhero who, with his teen sidekicks Jan, Jace, and Blip the monkey, fought supervillains in outer space. In the 1990s, Space Ghost was brought back as a host for his own fictional late-night talk show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. In the 2000s, he was revamped as a serious superhero once again in a mini-series by DC Comics.Space Ghost (TV series)
Space Ghost is an American animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. It first aired on CBS from September 10, 1966, to September 7, 1968. The series was composed of two unrelated segments, Space Ghost and Dino Boy in the Lost Valley. The series was created by Alex Toth and produced and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Sometimes it is alternatively called Space Ghost & Dino Boy, to acknowledge the presence of both shows.The Herculoids
The Herculoids is an American Saturday-morning animated-cartoon television series, created and designed by Alex Toth, that was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The show debuted on September 9, 1967 on CBS. Hanna-Barbera produced one season for the original airing of the show, although the original 18 episodes were rerun during the 1968–69 television season, with The Herculoids ending its run on September 6, 1969. Eleven new episodes were produced in 1981 as part of the Space Stars show. The plotlines are rooted in science fiction, and have story direction and content similar to Jonny Quest and Space Ghost.
This series is set on the distant planet Amzot (renamed Quasar in the later series Space Stars, with which it otherwise shared a continuity). The name "Amzot" was first mentioned in the Space Ghost episode "The Molten Monsters of Moltar" (in which the Herculoids made a brief guest appearance) and in the series proper in the "Time Creatures" episode.The Library of American Comics
The Library of American Comics (abbreviated as LoAC) is an American publisher of classic American comic strips collections and comic history books, founded by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell in 2007. The company is an imprint of IDW Publishing.Western Gunfighters
Western Gunfighters is the name of two American Western-anthology comic book series published by Marvel Comics and its 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics.
That initial Atlas series ran eight issues, from 1956 to 1957, and featured artists including Gene Colan, Reed Crandall, Joe Maneely, John Severin, Alex Toth, Al Williamson, and Wally Wood, with many stories written by Stan Lee.
Volume two, published by Marvel from 1970 to 1975, consisted mostly of Western reprints but also featured new material, including stories of the masked Old West hero Ghost Rider and the introductions of such short-lived Western features as "Gunhawk" and "Renegades", by writers including Gary Friedrich and Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, and artists including Dick Ayers and Tom Sutton.
Hanna-Barbera Super Heroes