Alex Toth R.I.P.
Though I know he had been ill for some time, to actually read the words that he has passed on still comes as a shock. The regrettable news comes to us from the official Alex Toth website. He was 78. The legendary artist/designer was born in New York City on June 25th, 1928. While his design work became well-known through association with a number of comics/animation properties spanning nearly 5 decades, a whole generation will remember him for his work with Hanna-Barbera in particular. Although I should point out that some of my favorite work of his was always 1960's Space Angel (which used the same snycro-vox lip-superimposing process as Clutch Cargo ). This show had a overall design sense much closer stylistically to 1950's EC space adventure comics than H-B. The animation, what little there was, was more along the lines a pop-up book than anything else...but we loved it anyhow. However, I didn't actually start seeing Space Angel cartoons until I was around 10 or 11. My earliest memory of a show I made a point to watch was Space Ghost. Loved the Ghost, Jonny Quest, Mightor, The Fantastic Four, the Herculoids,---every show he designed for in the 1960's, basically --even ol' Birdman. Later he also worked on Josie and the Pussycats, Super-Friends and a TON of other shows. In fact a few years back H-B alumnus Darrell McNeil published a 360 page book featuring nothing but Alex's model sheets he did while at Hanna Barbera. (It wasn't authorized, though --so good luck finding it now.) Alex in essence, nearly single-handedly created the animated Super-hero look of the 1960's. His fans number in the millions and his artistic influence is undeniable by almost anyone who grew up in the 1960's & '70's and draws Superheroes for a living. (or even part-time, like me.)
According to a statement by on Saturday morning by Toth's oldest son Eric "My father did pass way this morning (may 27) drawing/writing at his table. I do not have any further details at this time other than I will forward an adress for those interested in sending cards. We will arrange something appropriate at or around the convention in San Diego this Summer..."
He actually went while he was working...That's our Alex. Any real artist should be so lucky.
Alex was a prolific artist who made it all seem easy and effortless. (And as someone who had to follow in his artistic footsteps and try to live up to his standards --directing the new animation on Space Ghost Coast to Coast--I'm here to tell ya, it ain't!) He was a true original.
One of the greats --he'll be sorely missed.