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SCOOP! Toth biography expands to three volumes


Alex Toth fans rejoice. Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell’s long-awaited book on Toth, including a biography and little-seen art, has expanded to a three-volume, slipcased edition, to be published by IDW. Toth’s children, Dana and Eric, were consulted in the writing process and it promises to be a comprehensive, lavishly illustrated affair. The first volume, Genius Isolated, ships in March 2011 and spotlights his early work and life until the ’60s. Genius, Illustrated follows his life in animation, and Genius Animated includes little-seen animation models and drawings. A slipcase will ship with the third volume.

PR below. No price point given but this is certain to be a must-have among must-haves for fans of the complex man known as one of the most talented cartoonists of all time.

GENIUS, ISOLATED: THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell

Alex Toth is revered as one of the greatest of all comics artists. Others laud his pioneering work in animation, including his groundbreaking designs for Space Ghost and The Herculoids. His work influenced countless professionals in both fields. His biography and talents proved too big to be contained in a single volume. Therefore, The Library of American Comics and IDW is releasing the much-anticipated Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth in March 2011 as the first in a three-book set that will be the definitive statement on the restless genius and timeless legacy of Alex Toth.

Created by the Eisner Award-winning team of Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell—who produced the ground-breaking Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles—Genius, Isolated  is a lavishly illustrated book that includes the first biography of this giant figure. The book has been compiled with complete access to the family archives, and with the full cooperation of Toth’s children.

Creative Director Dean Mullaney and Associate Art Director Lorraine Turner met with Toth’s two eldest children, Dana and Eric, to discuss the expansive plans for the three-book set. “It’s been a great pleasure getting to know them over the past two years,” said Mullaney, who worked with Alex Toth to publish the definitive Zorro editions in the 1980s. “To say that we’re all excited with the larger scope of the project is an understatement!”

In addition to art and photographs from the family, Toth fans and friends throughout the world have loaned original artwork reproduced in the entire series. Included are many examples of Toth’s art, from complete stories to rare pages, as well as—incredulously—a previously unknown, unfinished, and unpublished penciled story from the early 1950s! The tome covers his earliest stories at DC in the 1940s, his defining work at Standard, his incomparable Zorro comics in the 1950s, and a special section collects—for the first time—the complete Jon Fury pages that Toth produced while in the army, a section that alone is worth the price of admission.

Alex Toth was more than a unique and influential artist. He was a keenly insightful philosopher about comics, cartooning, and animation—with opinions on how they are created as opposed to how he felt they should be created. He wasn’t shy about expressing those thoughts, whether in sometimes-scathing personal letters, essays for publication, or letters to the editor. To flesh out the complete story of his life and art, Mullaney and Canwell have spent more than a year conducting wide-ranging interviews with dozens of Toth’s peers, friends, and family members. With a special introduction by Mark Chiarello, Genius, Isolated is the beginning of a comics biography everyone will be talking about for years to come. 

Genius, Isolated details Toth’s life story and work through the early 1960s, when he began his sensational move into animated cartoons. The second book in the series, Genius, Illustrated, picks up the story as Toth becomes one of the leading character designers in television animation—continues through his renewed career in comics with Warren, DC, and his creator-owned properties of the 1970s and beyond—and includes an examination of the artist’s poignant final years.

The third book, Genius, Animated, is a lavish art book reproducing hundreds of Toth’s model sheets and storyboards for such successful cartoons as Space Ghost and Dino Boy, Jonny Quest, Space Angel, Super Friends, The Fantastic Four, Hot Wheels, Thundarr, and Shazzan…and also includes many full-color presentation pieces designed to sell new series to the networks.

A slipcase for the three-book set will be available with the third book.

  1. Check out Avengers #99 run where BWS does a nice homage between the Vision and Iron Man of the above Toth fight sequence.

    Looking forward to these volumes.

  2. Now I’m even more dissapointed than before in Fantagraphics because their Toth Standard Omnibus will be in a much crummier format: smaller and softcover. I wish they’d take notice of IDW’s ambition and step up their book format accordingly, but it’s probably too late anyway.

  3. Has anyone ever tried to untangle the rights problems with ALEX TOTH BY DESIGN? That book was available about a week before it was recalled over copyright problems and the recalled copies have apparently never been released because the few copies that sold at the time (mostly at the San Diego Comicon) now sell for $150 each and up. So clearly there is a market for an authorized new printing of this book.

  4. I’m making room on my bookshelf right now. These will be next to “Toth: Black and White”, “Alex Toth: By Design” “Alex Toth Doodle Book”, Kitchen Sink’s “Alex Toth”, “Alex Toth: One For The Road”, the Zorro collections, etc.

    Yeah, I’m kinda nuts about the guy….

  5. A long time back I picked up a book on Alex Toth that was very light on art. I hope this isn’t the case with these volumes. I may just opt for collected volumes of his work instead. Toth is amazing, so even if it’s more bio than art book, I’ll be tempted to pick it up. It’s a shame that we have to wait so long if we want it in slipcase edition (which, I guess for obvious reasons, won’t be out until the third edition is released).

  6. A thousand times, nay, a million times…yes!

    I just hope I get to buy them before they go out of print and the price becomes ridiculous as in the past. I’m very excited and I’m going to try and get this at the top of my Christmas List. People can buy me all the socks they want but only after this handsome little sucker comes home.

    I am very, very excited.

    What’s this here Fantagraphics Toth Omnibus mentioned by “Woods”? Anyone got any details, may I ask?

  7. Wow. I was a little disappointed when I noticed in Dateline that this book had been put back till next year, but now I’m delighted and more than happy to wait. I too have all the books Mr Krause mentions above (other than the Kitchen Sink one, which I seem to recall was a bit light on art), as well as most of the Pure Imagination collections, but I suspect there’s going to be a lot of art in here I’ve not seen before.
    Better be quick tho’, IDW stuff seems to go out of print very fast.

  8. Finally. God bless IDW. Maybe one day one of these retrospectives will come out while these crazy guys who suffered so much in the formative years of comics can appreciate adulation of their fans.

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