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Genius, Isolated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth Hardcover – May 10, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600108288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600108280
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 1.5 x 13.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. D. Case on May 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd recommend this book for any comics fan or scholar. For a Toth fan, it is an absolute must. Toth, while something of an acquired taste, is unquestionably one of the greatest artists in comic history, and this book gives an in-depth look at his life and career. This is one of, if not the best, comic creator biographies I've read, and I've read a ton! The authors have successfully created a combination of prose and pictures, which meshes well. They've managed to satisfactorily combine the biographical info with reprints of pages and stories from the subjects early to middle career, including a ton of gorgeous original pages.

The narrative covers Toth's personal and professional life in an interesting, informative, and honest manner, much like the personality of the man himself, but without the tantrums. Revelations include interview text from his 3rd wife, who prior to this was silent on the subject of her ex, new details on marriage numbers one and two of the four Toth had, and greater anecdotal detail from Toth's peers at DC, Standard, Western, and Cambria than I have previously read in various magazines.

Reprinted stories include collector's gold standards from Toth's early career, including original pages with notations, edit marks, etc. There is also even a never before seen story from the late '50s, giving us a look at the master's pencils from his prime, which is a rare sight indeed.

This is volume 1 of a 3 volume series, which will cover Toth's animation work, and '60s-'90s work, which remained amazingly strong. While saying "I can't wait!" for the next 2 volumes is literally incorrect, I'm tempted to do so, because although I CAN wait, I sure don't want to!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is everything you'd want in a book about the first half of Alex Toth's remarkable career: giant, lunchtray-sized pages, pristine reproductions (often from originals), generous art samples (both the rare and the celebrated are well represented), thorough research (including much input from Toth's colleagues and family), and superb design (bold but tasteful, perfectly balancing content and whitespace; countless smart, attractive choices). I'd guess the art pages make up over half the book, along with relevant spot illos throughout; a fine balance of artwork and info. Even if you have all of the Toth books and reprints of the past three decades, there's plenty here to warrant buying this -- at least, if you're interested in Toth's pre-'60s career. (His later comics -- where his skills reached their apex -- will apparently be covered in the next volume.) Twitter has been abuzz with praise from comics pros since the day this book debuted, for good reason.

Some minor quibbles:

An index would have been helpful. It's tough to flip through a tome this size in search of a half-remembered reference to this person or that job without an index.

A timeline would also clarify things. The narrative necessarily jumps around a bit, following different threads, so a chronological list of key events would have helped readers keep it all straight. When and how many times did Toth move between California and New York? Etc.

The authors include many irrelevant details. They forgo a thorough list of Toth's influences, skipping undersung greats like Emil Gershwin, but about other influences they include details irrelevant to Toth's development.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book--beautifully produced, thoroughly researched and smartly edited. Even a quick perusal of this volume (first of a planned three part collection, this one goes up to 1962) reveals why Toth was often called "the artist's artist"--and a quick reading also reveals why he was called a number of less flattering names by editors, as the well-written biography makes it abundantly clear Toth's passion for his work often put him cross-wise with those he felt were not producing work up to his high standard.

Of particular interest in this volume are several examples of Toth's romance comics work which are truly a revelation. Never one to simply hack it out, Toth obviously threw himself into the genre, producing some mini-masterpieces.

This is not by any means simply a collection of stories by Toth. There are several complete stories included, but the editors wisely used this format judiciously and uses the space to give us a sample of many more Toth takes on characters and genres. (These appetizers have moved me to re-acquire Toth's Zorro work as well as add the upcoming volume collecting Toth's Standard Comics work to my wishlist.)

I eagerly await Volumes II and III!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For any fan of illustration, animation or comic art, this is a must buy. I've found IDW publications hit (the recent Jeffrey Jones retrospective) or miss (such as the poorly produced Noel Sickles book in which the binding falls apart). In this case, IDW hit the bulls eye with a lavish, oversized, well constructed book detailing the life and work of Alex Toth. Plenty of pencils, drafts, colors, background material to give real insight into his genius. No question this book will become a collector's item and definitie source on Toth.
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