Saturday, February 17, 2007

Partners For Life - Testimonials: Alex Toth

Well the book is now out and on the shelves (you can order it from Amazon using the link on the side of this page). I'm not exactly sure as to the reasons why but a large portion of the text wasn't used. That includes some great interviews and testimonials, so rather than lose them completely I've decided to run them here over the coming months as a companion piece to the book itself so you can see all of the great stuff that couldn't be fit into the book proper.

Feel free to print these interviews out and place them in your book. Otherwise enjoy these little pieces and then run out and buy a copy of the book so you can read the rest.


This one might need some explaining. Click on either image for a larger view.

During the process of writing the book Mike Esposito informed me how Ross Andru had been heavily influenced by Alex Toth. He went further and told me how the duo had managed to get Toth to draw a cover for them, it was either 3-D Love or 3-D Romance, he couldn't quite recall. I knew that it'd be a brilliant coup if I could get a comment from the master himself and luckily publisher Daniel Herman passed on Toth's then mailing address, something I'll always be grateful for. Daniel informed me that Toth always responded to correspondence and encouraged me to go for it.

I sent Toth a short letter of introduction and explained what I was doing - namely writing the life story of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Toth replied straight away. You can just imagine my surprise when I checked the mail and found my very own postcard from Toth - something I'd always dreamed of but never imagined I'd ever get.

The first thing that got me was Toth rebuked me for not dating my letter, but there was a lovely testimonial for the book. I must have gotten him in a good mood. I followed up with another, slightly longer letter with a series of questions and got back a shorter card pointing out that my questions were 'wrongly assumptioned (sic)' and that they couldn't be answered. But Toth did sign off with a pile of Australian slag expressions, something that got me interested, so I asked where did he learn to swear in fluent Aussie. The lovely bit from this card was Toth saying that "Ross had a way of drawing 'big' that I couldn't emulate/borrow - tho I tried - HAH!" Lovely!

Feeling I'd upset or offended him I sent another letter of apology (making sure I'd spelt everything right this time, fully dated) and included a copy of the Bonzer book. I also included a print out of some art that was in dispute - some thought it was Andru/Esposito, some thought it was Toth himself. Toth sent back a more gentle reply, said he wasn't sure who drew what and explained how he'd lived in Sydney in 1973 for nearly 6 months working for the Eric Porter Animation Studio producing such cartoons as Superfriends and Josie & The Pussycats. The best part? Without knowing it the book I'd sent him reached him mere days before his 77th birthday. I did send another letter but I heard that he'd been suffering from ill health and as such I never got a reply.

The sum of my Toth correspondence was two postcards and a letter. That's more than some.

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