Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Alex Toth Reprint Stocktake Part 3

Another addition to the Alex Toth Reprint Stocktake.

I picked up this unnumbered Federal Comics issue of Unexpected a couple of weeks ago on reflex action, without even checking the contents - - if I did not have a spare $1 coin in my pocket I may not have even bothered - - so it’s a pleasant (ahem “unexpected”) surprise to find an Alex Toth gem reprinted within:

A Connecticut Ice Cream Man in King Arthur's Court
Michael Fleisher/Alex Toth
(House of Secrets #123, September 1974)

I just love this stuff - in the first panel the abstract floating windows in the background and the silhouettes in the foreground make for such an ominous, expressionistic yet elegant and balanced, weighted image.

In the last panel, the shift in perspective and solid black silhouettes of the cage bars and the dead rat enable a depth of dimension between foreground and background as well as an appealing design. It's almost an optical illusion in that the silhouette alternates between being a foreground figure with details (cage, rat), and a receding abstract shape as the eyes focus on the 'background' details and the speaking figure. It simulates the focus required to see through the bars of a cage at close range.

And in-between these panels, whether it's with solid blacks or thin lines, every object and expression appears considered, staged, purposeful and nuanced. Even emotive. And that's without even reading the text. And all utterly indifferent to the colourist's contributions (which, of course, I now must see). But hey, that's Toth.

There’s a newsagent’s stamp on the back cover dated September 1983.

And at $0.99 cover price, reckon it’s just about the best value for $1 I’ve had for a while!

PS These ad hoc lists can become unwieldy, so at some point I’ll review and consolidate the live lists such as this and the Gredown Horror Comics list - maybe when I’ve added more than half a dozen entries to the initial entry, or maybe once a month.


Just spotted another Toth:

Weird Western Tales #14, October-November 1972
Terror Tales Album #14, circa 1980

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