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Alex Toth – An Analysis

My brilliant son and heavy duty comics fan Andy alerted me to Part One of an outstanding analysis of Alex Toth and his work by Jesse Hamm. I found his essay extremely perceptive and illuminating.

Here’s the link:

Alex and I were friends back in the day. We usually turn up together in early 1970s photos of Los Angeles comic art professional (and fan) gatherings.

In my beginning comic book years, it was my dream to work with three comic book professional giants: Harvey Kurtzman, Will Eisner and Alex. In the late 1980s I offered Alex a great job that would have allowed for a terrific collaboration between us but he passed on it.

Well, two out of three’s not bad (I worked with Harvey on Little Annie Fanny and a number of other projects and inked an Eisner Spirit cover for Will)!

Plus, it was my good fortune to work with comics greats Russ Manning, Al Williamson, Will Elder, Jack Kirby and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, so I ain’t complaining!

4 thoughts on “Alex Toth – An Analysis

  1. Thank you Andy for the link. Mr. Hamm covers some interesting points in his essay regarding Alex Toth. The thought that his tantrums might be bipolar behavior was startling. While it makes sense from the stories told, was it a medical fact?

    Of special interest in the article was the part on “The Learning Trough”. The explanation of the improvement of Alex’s work from his super hero work to the later work was fascinating.

    Bill, if your artist followers are not into Toth, you should mention that this part was educational in understanding “stumbles” that most creative people go through in learning to create art.

    I see Mr. Hamm also has insights into the work of Frank Frazetta! Wow!!!

  2. Hello Mr. Stout! (in my best Dennis the Menace impersonation)

    So what’s this about an Alien Worlds story you are drawing?!
    As for selling the originals in one piece, post it here under your original art for sale thread and I’ll bet you’ll find some buyers.

    Care to give us a sneak peek? Maybe just a prelim?

  3. Hi Tom,
    I don’t know of any actual medical verification for Alex’s diagnosis. I also found the “Learning Trough” concept fascinating. It makes some real sense. Mr. Hamm also shared some good critical insights into Frazetta’s work, too.

    Regarding creative “stumbles”…I have found that the best artists are harder on themselves than any of their critics. I certainly have days when I wonder if anything I’ve ever done is any good.

    I tell my students that when they hit a creative wall, it will usually occur right before they are about to make a breakthrough. If they persevere and hang in there, the pay-off will be that they will soon advance to the next artistic plateau.

    Hi Aaron,
    I’ll post my pencils to a page from my Alien Worlds story here on one of my Journal pages as soon as I’ve got one finished. Keep watching for it!


    The common consensus was Toth was bipolar, even by Toth himself according to those that knew him. Grandiosity is foremost in the disorder so you have to wonder if Toth was overly, perhaps unjustly, critical with Steve Rude in the first link I posted. I’ve seen work done by Toth that was surpassed by Rude in quality.

    You’d have to download and listen to the mp3 files that are attached in the above URLs.

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