Saturday, May 27, 2006

RIP Alex Toth. 


"Alex Toth was one of my favorite artists."

It's true, but spectacularly inadequate. For a comic book illustrator, that's a lot like saying "I have a brain and at least one functioning eye." I've learned so much about the craft of storytelling from studying the man's work -- both his art and his writing about art -- words fail me.

As an cartoonist/illustrator, Toth set a dazzling example for his peers, constantly pushing himself stylistically, incorporating new influences, and fighting for ever more eloquent simplicity in his work. And despite these re-inventions, his work is always instantly identifiable, marked by his confident line and his bold composition of shapes and forms.

He should also be remembered as a valuable casual critic. He expressed his standards ferociously, and offered thoughtful opinions about and insights into the work of his influences and his peers. Toth's enthusiastic endorsements sent countless artists out to investigate the work of neglected cartoonists and illustrators like Noel Sickles, Jesse Marsh, and Robert Fawcett. He adored their work and helped keep it alive for subsequent generations. It will be our privilege to do the same for him.

Steve Lieber

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