Sunday, October 15, 2006

Toth Talks

If I knew anything about html you could just click on that web address and you would read a savage art critique by Alex Toth.

I had a chance to meet Steve Rude at the San Diego Comic Con this year. I bought his latest sketchbook and told him that I was fan. As I left, another fan asked why he would not show up at the Alex Toth tribute the con was holding. Steve said that he didn't have much to say. He could only recommend his art because Toth was such a miserable person. I am paraphrasing here, but I got the impression that there was no love lost. I thought that was strange because Steve Rude has done so many Hanna-Barbera characters for comics, like Space Ghost and Jonny Quest. Characters that Alex Toth had a hand in creating.

Toth critiques the first issue of Jonny Quest, drawn by Steve Rude in 1986. Published by COMICO. Toth's comments on the first 12 pages of the book and he does not pull any punches!
He chides him for his lack of research, his poor composition and storytelling. After reading the review, I agree with Toth. His observations make sense and I wonder how he would have interpreted the same script. I don't know how Rude reacted to the review... But it puts the comments he made in San Diego in perspective.

Before he died, Alex Toth evaluated his own work and you can see his self-critiques at


Steve Buccellato said...

That's great. I followed your "link" and read the whole shocking critique! It really is dead-on, if ruthless. That Alex Toth wasn't really one for pleasantries, eh?

Don Hudson said...

He had no time for nonsense I guess.

Sara Kocher said...

But damn I learned a lot. And I can't even draw.

I hope that Steve Rude at least asked for that critique. Imagine getting something like that unrequested.

On the other hand, imagine someone like Alex Toth thinking that you're talented enough that a truly frank critique would be worthwhile (i.e. would help you improve, not just crush you).

Don Hudson said...

Well, I don't know if Rude asked for the critique but it did not force him out of comics.

Allen Gladfelter said...

Look at Toth's lettering! This was probably written pretty quickly, so damn, did TOth ever internallize the lettering into his own handwriting or what? The larger paragraphs are even justified to the right AND the left. (By the way, I also have that comic-style print handwriting, but mine is nowhere as neat as Toth's)

I have to say, Toth nailed it. Rude's panels certainly seem to feature lots of back head shots, tiny characters and continuity gaffes. But then again, this wasn't his strongest stuff. The Steve Rude I know, from Nexus mostly, is usually MUCH better than this. Also, I disagree with Toth's assessment of Rude's Helicopters. To me they look very "Johnny Quest."

Frankly, it makes me wish I could have gotten the same treatment from the Toth-meister.

Also, how is this in the public sphere if Steve Rude didn't put it out there? I doubt it crushed him. But then, how would I know?

Don Hudson said...

Allen, you are assuming that Rude asked for the critique. Maybe so. Toth could have just sent it to the publisher or to some fan mag.

Allen Gladfelter said...

Wrong! At the end Toth writes, “A few well-drawn figures in 12 pages doesn’t cut it, Kiddo! Since you asked, I gave you the critique- if you’re pissed, I’m sorry." Apparently, Rude asked for the critique, and if so, I think it's a fair assumption that this found it's way into the public sphere by Rude's hand.

Don Hudson said...

I reread the critique and saw that line. Your'e right. But no offense, it's a 50/50 chance that either Toth or his estate put the pages out there. It's a twenty year old art critique.

Allen Gladfelter said...

Hey, no offense taken! I'm really glad you posted it!