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‘Treasures Retold: The Lost Art of Alex Toth’ (review)

Art by Alex Toth
Edited by Dean Mullaney
Publlished by The LOAC /
IDW Publishing

 

It’s been said that we live in a Golden Age of books about Wally Wood. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m the one who said it.

The same can be said for books about Alex Toth, another comic book artist whose work has long been greatly admired by readers and pros alike, or anyone who has ever seen it.

To add to your bookshelf featuring the several recent volumes dealing with specific eras of Toth’s career, as well as the stand-alone volumes such as the recently-reviewed Bravo for Adventure, comes Treasures Retold: The Lost Art of Alex Toth.

Treasures Retold is the type of book a completist like me really enjoys. It’s all the little stuff that slipped through the cracks of his career histories. There are some full stories reprinted from the comics and others from the original art. There’s advertising work, behind the scenes animation art, and some genuinely informative text pages from Bruce Canwell.

The romance stories from Eastern, Standard, and Atlas are some of my favorites here, all sleek and cinematic, with the artist flexing his storytelling muscles to keep the short stories from being just a series of talking heads.

Another highlight is the amount of little-seen Dell art present, including several Four-Color comics such as Toth’s adaptation of the sci-fi flick, The Land Unknown, and a number of pages from various TV-based comics.

The absolute best section though, is the one dealing with the artist’s Hanna-Barbera art. We get a full set of beautiful color storyboards for Dino Boy and original art pages from a Space Ghost story drawn from a Mark Evanier script for Marvel. Lots of other H-B art as well!

Other familiar characters like Roy Rogers, the Herculoids, Walter Cronkite (!), and Casey Ruggles appear, as does Toth’s own Jon Fury in a rare color drawing that is used for this volume’s cover.

There’s a tendency to look at this type of collection as being of lesser material but in reality, it’s all part of the Alex Toth story. The only way you’ll ever understand an artist at his peak is to see him working in his valleys, to see the parts that got lost over the years, to see books like Treasures Retold: The Lost Art of Alex Toth.

Booksteve recommends.

 

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