I couldn't imagine two polar opposite comix makers than Alex Toth and Jack Kirby -- but they made the most impact on my work even though, these days, it's hard pressed to see Toth's influences in my comix. While Kirby was tapping into cosmic rays of galactic proportions, making science fiction monster comics and creating new gods, Toth made romance and war comix shine with chiaroscuro bravura like no other. Look at any page, any panel that Toth touched and you will learn the unlimited power and grace that comix behold. Toth was rare in his abilities and it's a quiet shame that he worked on so many stories that were often trite and banal, never truly manifesting his proverbial DARK KNIGHT RETURNS or SIN CITY [for lack of better examples] for the masses to consume. However, I would indulge anything Toth's pen manifested, from romance and horror to HOT WHEELS to SUPER FRIENDS to BRAVO FOR ADVENTURE to SPACE GHOST.
When I got home last night, I learned that Alex Toth had passed away at his art table. A little while ago, at the behest of Steven Gettis [who furnished me with a lovely Toth sketch -- an original piece of holy comix parchment that hangs framed above my computer next to an original Jack Kirby DEVIL DINOSAUR page], I finally wrote Toth that fan letter I promised myself I would do and mailed it along with some of my comix for him to [hopefully] scrutinize with one of his famous postcards. Regretfully, I never did receive a response. And then, when Toth recently fell ill [legend has it due partly to a broken heart of many years suffered from the passing of his wife], I wrote him a rapid-fire postcard in hopes of rallying his spirits.
Today, the fool in me imagines Alex Toth flying sky-high, dodging bullets and making heart-gulping swoops in his fighter plane, sneering at the enemy while knocking sugar with his wife strapped in the seat next to him.
Rest in peace, Mr. Toth.
Alex Toth's official website: