Thursday, June 08, 2006

Childhood drifts ever further away

I just found out yesterday that cartoonist Alex Toth passed away last week at the age of 77. If I'd been paying attention, I suppose I'd have seen the news right when it happened. As it is, I didn't find out until the big news sources ran obituaries on Toth.

If you're not familiar with Toth, you might recognize his designs and work from the "Super Friends" and "Space Ghost" cartoons. (I wonder how he felt about "Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast"? Was Toth ever a guest on the show? How "meta" would that have been?)

And before doing animation, he was a terrific comic book illustrator - especially when it came to one of my favorites, Zorro. When Image Comics released a collection of his Zorro comic books, I had to think about buying it for approximately two seconds.

As an aspiring kid cartoonist, Toth was one of the guys whose work I tried to emulate. George Perez was my absolute favorite comic book artist, and I loved his heavily detailed artwork. Toth could put a lot of detail into his comics stuff, too, but the "cleanness" of his animated work taught me something about simplicity, and definitely influenced my later doodles.

Sometimes, I really miss the days when all I needed to fill the day and make me happy were a pencil, eraser, pen, and sketch pad. And when discovering an artist like Toth was like finding a whole new world of possibility.

▪▪ Here's Alex Toth's official site. (I don't know about you, but I could spend all day looking through the gallery.)

▪▪ And an interview with him from Comic Book Artist magazine.