Saturday, June 01, 2019

Pars Pro Toth

Sunday Toth Treasures.

Here is another short Toth story that's not see very often. It's one of the western short stories he did while working for Dell in the late fifties. Not a single gem that encapsulates everything great Toth ever did, but there is a lot te be noted here.

Take the splash image. For me, one of the best things Toth ever said was: "You don't need to see the face of your hero more than once every page. This is true especially if American comics, which are small enough for your eye seeing the whole page at once. So whatever you draw instead of the face, if it is an established part of his appearance (his hat, his hand, etc) you will know what you are looking at. That in itself seems to me the part of Toth's mastery - or at least the reason why any comic artist can learn from his compositions. Take the sign in the splash panel. There is just enough informatio to make out the titel of the store. And just enough left out for you to have to do some work. Toth doesn't just tell you a story, he engages you in it.

Page two is a good example of showing the face clearly once. For the rets of the page we know who we are looking at, if if his face is in the shadow of his hat. This is artificial. If the shadow is in his face in panel six, it would have been there in panel four as well.
The framing of the faces in this page is exceptional. In panel two, we are looking through a window, seperate the three characters (and their reactions). In panel three, the bodies are sperated by the window and dorway, to clearly show their emotion through body language.
Toth dis not mind using visual ques such as the movement lines in panel two or the exclamation lines in panel five. I would call these old fashioned, if they would be used so much by manga artists. The staging of panel six, again, is marvelous.The four faces are all clearly delinianated, each with their own angle. The guy in the middle could have been just standing their, but by leaning him to the left (his rght) Toth gave him some movement and it's as if he is peering in between the other guys.

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