|Birthname: Alex Toth
AKA: Alexander Toth
Born: June 25, 1928
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: May 27, 2006 (aged 77) Burbank, California
Area(s): Artist, Animator
Official Website: Toth Fans
Alex Toth (June 25, 1928 – May 27, 2006), pronounced with a long “o,” was an acclaimed professional cartoonist active from the 1940s through the 1980s.
Toth’s work began in the American comic book industry, but is best known for his animation designs for Hanna-Barbera throughout the 1960s and 1970s. His work for Hanna-Barbera included SuperFriends, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, and Birdman.
Toth’s work has been resurrected in the late-night, adult-themed spinoffs on Cartoon Network: Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
He has been considered a master of storyteller right on par with Jack Kirby and Willl Eisner.
Early Life and Career
Toth’s talent was noticed early on as a teacher from his poster class in junior high took time to urge that he devote himself to art. Enrolling in the School of Industrial Art, Toth studied illustration and sold his first paid free-lance art at the early age of 15.
After graduating from the School of Industrial Art in 1947, Toth was hired by Sheldon Mayer at National/DC Comics. He worked there for five years, drawing the Golden Age versions of The Flash, Dr. Mid-Nite, Green Lantern and the Atom.
For a brief time in 1950, Toth was able to realize his dream of working on newspaper comic strips by ghost illustrating Casey Ruggles with Warren Tufts.
In 1952 Toth ended his contract with DC Comics and moved to California. It is during that time that he worked on crime, war and romance comics for Standard Comics.
In 1954, Toth was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Tokyo, Japan. While in Japan, he wrote and drew his own weekly adventure strip, Jon Fury, for the base paper, Depot Diary.
Returning to the United States in 1956, Toth settled in the Los Angeles area and worked primarily for Dell Comics until 1960.
In 1960, Toth became art director for the Space Angel animated science fiction show. This led to his being noticed (and hired) by Hanna-Barbera, where he worked as a storyboard and design artist until 1968 and then again in 1973 when he was assigned to Australia for five months to produce the TV series SuperFriends. He continued to work in comic books, illustrating contributions for the Warren magazines Eerie, Creepy and The Rook.
Toth died at his drawing table on May 27, 2006 from a heart attack. He was cremated. His ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean. The following week, Adult Swim devoted bumps to Toth which simply read “Alex Toth 1928–2006.” The words then faded out without showing the adult swim logo, a style the network only uses when mourning the passing of one they deem to be an important person.
Awards and Recognition
- Wizard Magazine named Alex Toth number 7 in an article listing the “10 Most Influential Comic Book Artists of All Time.”
- Toth, a character in the video game Supreme Commander, was named after Alex Toth.
- Inkpot Award from the San Diego Comic Con, 1981