The Influence of Alex Toth on Modern Animation

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					                   The Influence of Alex Toth on Modern Animation

       Deciding on a topic for my term paper was a bit of a dilemma, in that there are

many subjects I’m interested in, but I feel have been explored either by myself or by

others. However, I didn’t want to choose an obscure topic that not only would be a

burden to research, but might even be a subject not worth exploring. I eventually came to

the decision that my subject should be about an artist that isn’t given the attention they

may deserve, and demonstrating their merit through the influence of their work on

modern animation.

       My first instinct was to the artist that made me want to pursue animation, Bruce

Timm. While I consider his work important, and I’m convinced it will influence at least

the next generation of animators, I don’t feel it’s yet had the time to. From Bruce Timm,

however, I was able to trace back Alex Toth, who is not only an accomplished artist, but

his mastery of reducing form while maintaining a sense of realism put him in the position

of designing most of the superhero cartoons of the sixties and seventies, and who’s work

not only influenced much “realistic” styled animation of today, but somehow split off to

breed a new generation of comedies on Cartoon Network’s [adult swim] block.

       In my paper, I will give a brief biography on Toth’s background and a timeline of

his works, and then connect his works to modern cartoons and artists.

Benton, Mike. Masters of Imagination: the Comic Book Artists Hall of Fame. Dallas,
Texas: Taylor Company, 1994. 135-141.
       A collection of accomplished comic artists, Toth is written up well and
       given parallels to Will Eisner.

Dini, Paul, and Chip Kidd. Batman: Animated. New York, NY: HarperEntertainment,
1998. 3-6.
       A book detailing the production history of the Batman Animated Series,
       Bruce Timm comments on the influence of Toth and Fliesher’s work on the
       visual styling of the show

Lenburg, Jeff. The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Facts on
File, 1999. 283-284.
        A listing of various cartoons, a number of Toth’s works appears in shows
        such as Johnny Quest and Josie and the Pussycats.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1993. 52-53.
     In this book, McCloud uses Toth as an example of moving from ultra
     realism in art to a simple, reduced-line style.

Web Interviews/Articles

Rose, Jefferey D. "The Official Alex Toth Website." TothFans.Com. 10 Sept. 2006. Alex
Toth Estate. 6 Oct. 2006 <>.
       A site owned and collected by the Toth Estate, this site collects his work
       and provides biographies and interviews.

"Alex Toth Critiques Steve Rude." ConceptArt.Org Forums. 10 Sept. 2006. 11 Oct. 2006
       In recently uncovered scans, Toth gives particularly harsh criticisms to
       younger collogue Steve Rude’s “Johnny Quest” comic pages, and fans
       react with a mixture of surprise and amusement.

Gravett, Paul. "Alex Toth." The Guardian 23 Jan. 2006. The Guardian Unlimited. Wales,
England. 10 Oct. 2006
        Toth’s obituary in The Guardian.

"Collective Memory, Alex Toth, 1928-2006." The Comics Reporter (2006). 11 Oct. 2006
       A memoriam made after Toth’s death, this article collects various
       interviews and works done during his lifetime.
Film and Television

The Angry Red Planet. Dir. Ib Melchior. Perf. Gerald Mohr, Naura Hayden, Les
Tremayne. Cinemagic, 1960.
        Toth lends his storyboarding talents to this campy science-fiction classic.
Batman: the Animated Series. Dir. Bruce W. Timm. DVD. Warner Home Video, 1992.
Battle of the Planets. Dir. David E. Hanson. Perf. Alan Young, Keye Luke, and Ronnie
Schell. DVD. Rhinomation, 1978.
        A show that uses much of Toth’s teachings

Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. Dir. Joseph Barbera. Perf. Keith Andes, Don Messick,
John Stephenson. Hannah-Barbera, 1967.
       Created during the Super-hero boom of the 60s and 70s, this show
       alternates between the adventures of Birdman, a flying hero who gains his
       powers from the sun, and the Galaxy Trio, a group of heroes who explore
       the depths of space.

Challenge of the SuperFriends. Dir. Ray Patterson. DVD. Warner Home Video, 1978.
       Toth’s character designs give life to DC comic’s most successful Super-

Fantastic 4. Dir. Charles A. Nichols. Perf. Gerald Mohr, Jo Ann Pflug, Jack Flounders.
DVD. Hannah-Barbera, 1967.
       Based on Jack Kirby’s comic about a group of scientists given fantastic
       powers by cosmic radiation.

Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law. Dir. Michael Ouweleen. Perf. Harvey Birdman,
DVD. Turner Entertainment, 2000.
Josie and the Pussy Cats. Dir. Joseph Barbera. Hannah-Barbera, 1972.
        A fast-paced comedy, “Harvey Birdman” follows Toth’s Birdman, now
        retired from the world of superheroics, and settling into the world of
        corporate litigation.

Shazzan. Dir. Joseph Barbera. Perf. Barney Phillips, Janet Waldo, Jerry Dexter. Hannah-
Barbera, 1967.
       Toth lends his talent to the story of a pair of teens who discover a genie
       who can make all their wishes come true.

Space Ghost. Dir. Joseph Barbera. Perf. Johnny Carson, Ted Cssidy, Keye Luke.
Hannah-Barbera, 1966.
       A show following the adventures of Space Ghost, a hero who seeks to keep
       peace throughout the Galaxy.
Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. Dir. David Willis. Perf. George Lowe, C. Martin Croker.
Turner Entertainment, 1994.
       Toth’s Space Ghost interviews real-life celebrities in this late-night talk
       show built from recycled animation.

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