GENIUS, ISOLATED: THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH
Wednesday, Dec 8th, 2010
by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell
Alex Toth is revered as one of the greatest of all comics artists. Others laud his pioneering work in animation, including his groundbreaking designs for Space Ghost and The Herculoids. His work influenced countless professionals in both fields. His biography and talents proved too big to be contained in a single volume. Therefore, The Library of American Comics and IDW is releasing the much-anticipated Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth in March 2011 as the first in a three-book set that will be the definitive statement on the restless genius and timeless legacy of Alex Toth.
Created by the Eisner Award-winning team of Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell-who produced the ground-breaking Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles-Genius, Isolated is a lavishly illustrated book that includes the first biography of this giant figure. The book has been compiled with complete access to the family archives, and with the full cooperation of Toth's children.
Creative Director Dean Mullaney and Associate Art Director Lorraine Turner met with Toth's eldest daughter, Dana, and eldest son, Eric, to discuss the expansive plans for the three-book set. "It's been a great pleasure getting to know them over the past two years," said Mullaney, who worked with Alex Toth to publish the definitive Zorro editions in the 1980s. "To say that we're all excited with the larger scope of the project is an understatement!"
In addition to art and photographs from the family, Toth fans and friends throughout the world have loaned original artwork reproduced in the entire series. Included are many examples of Toth's art, from complete stories to rare pages, as well as-incredibly-a previously unknown, unfinished, and unpublished penciled story from the early 1950s! The tome covers his earliest stories at DC in the 1940s, his defining work at Standard, his incomparable Zorro comics in the 1950s, and a special section collects-for the first time-the complete Jon Fury pages that Toth produced while in the army, a section that alone is worth the price of admission.
Alex Toth was more than a unique and influential artist. He was a keenly insightful philosopher about comics, cartooning, and animation-with opinions on how they are created as opposed to how he felt they should be created. He wasn't shy about expressing those thoughts, whether in sometimes-scathing personal letters, essays for publication, or letters to the editor. To flesh out the complete story of his life and art, Mullaney and Canwell have spent more than a year conducting wide-ranging interviews with dozens of Toth's peers, friends, and family members. With a special introduction by Mark Chiarello, Genius, Isolated is the beginning of a comics biography everyone will be talking about for years to come.
Genius, Isolated details Toth's life story and work through the early 1960s, when he began his sensational move into animated cartoons. The second book in the series, Genius, Illustrated, picks up the story as Toth becomes one of the leading character designers in television animation-continues through his renewed career in comics with Warren, DC, and his creator-owned properties of the 1970s and beyond-and includes an examination of the artist's poignant final years.
The third book, Genius, Animated, is a wide-ranging art book reproducing hundreds of Toth's model sheets and storyboards for such successful cartoons as Space Ghost and Dino Boy, Jonny Quest, Space Angel, Super Friends, The Fantastic Four, Hot Wheels, Thundarr, and Shazzan...and also includes many full-color presentation pieces designed to sell new series to the networks.
A slipcase for the three-book set will be available with the third book.