Sunday, September 23, 2018

When The West Was Old

Sunday Totally Toth.

After finishing my last project - sharing all of my Howie Post animal stories for DC - I am turning to another big collection of never reprinted stuff: Alex Toth's early DC work. When Alex Toth joined the talented DC crew under Sheldon Mayer, he soon became one of the best and most imitated. Like all of them (including artists Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Irwin Hasen, Dan Barry, Frank Giacoia and inkers like Bernie Sachs), he was an admirer of Milt Caniff style (and maybe even more of Noel Sickles' influence on Caniff). He had a collection of clippings of Sickles' own Scorchy Smith and of course was around to se all of the Caniff/Sickles imitators - like Mel Graff, Alfred Andriola, Ray Bailey and Charles Raab (who was assisted by Sickles on his Patsy in Hollywood strip). Another influence Toth mentioned in his later years, was the early work of Mort Meskin, who took Sickles' and Caniff's facility with a brush to a whole new level. Anyway, by the late forties they had developed a style that would become the basis for all of DC's output until at least the mid sixties. Many of the superhero stories Toth and the others did have been reprinted in various DC books. But most of what came after that hasn't. By the end of the forties auperheroes were on their way out and other genres were taking over. Most importantly, DC changed over most of their superhero titles to westerns. All-American became All-American Western, for instance. And other new western series were started around licensed characters, like Dale Evans (Roy Rogers' wife). Toth had stories in all of those books, developing his unique style even further.

Before selling my collection of those DC westerns this summer, I took care to scan as many as I could. I have enough to go on for a couple of months, so make the Sunday one of your regular visits. Of course, mistakes are made and it just happens that I forgot to include page 6 of the story I like to start with. And because I already sold the book, I can't go back and redo it. Fortunately, one of the visitors guided me to an online source for that page, so I was able to ad it.

Anyway, enjoy the art. It was never about the stories anyway. This is the first story from Dale Evans #2, where he drew a series called Sierra Smith - an adventure western series set in the (then) present. It was one of Toth's own favorites,, because he was allowed to ink it himself. According to the Grand Comicbook Database, the stories were by Joe MIllard, the genius writer who also wrote The Barker and many of Plastic man's stories (and dropped out of the game when the Silver Age reintroduced superheroes).


George Freeman said...

For completists:

Ger Apeldoorn said...

Thanks, George. I am putting that in.