13 COVERS: An ALEX TOTH Birthday Celebration

The late comics master was born 94 years ago on June 25, 1928…


I’m really thrilled to be able to offer up this birthday tribute to the late, oh-so-great Alex Toth. Beyond being one of my most favorite comic artists of all, he’s also a guy who to me has always been underappreciated, and sadly, more and more forgotten in the modern industry. That’s a shame, because he’s one of the few illustrators who can honestly be called a master.

Toth is known primarily for his use of light and shadow, and most especially for his clear, crisp designs for animated projects of the ’60s and ’70s. But to celebrate his birthday today I wanted to focus on something he’s not really known for, something he didn’t do a lot of over his career, compared to his peers: covers.

Here are 13 great ones from DC Comics:

All-Star Comics #38 (1947-48). There’s a lot going on here, but Alex juggles it all with grace, and makes us feel the menace hanging over the JSA.

All-American Comics #98 (1948). OK, yeah, there’s a beautifully drawn airplane, sure, but just look at the power in the Green Lantern pose.

All-Star Comics #41 (1948). Alex had his work cut out for him with these jam-packed JSA covers, but he manages to give each hero some personality and sense of movement.

All-American Comics #99 (1948). I’ve always liked this cover. This was when a dog was really starting to take over Green Lantern’s stories, but just look at the dynamism in both that jump and the birds.

All-American Western #103 (1948). Here’s proof Alex could draw just about anything, and I’d love it. I’m not a big Western fan, but I can’t deny this is an eye-catching cover.

Green Lantern #37 (1949). Man, I just love these Green Lantern poses!

Green Lantern #38 (1949). Back to the dog again, but that’s OK because Alex could draw cars like nobody’s business, as well as nighttime.

All-American Western #112 (1950). Y’know, it strikes me that Alex didn’t do a lot of character close-ups on covers. Here’s a great example of one he did do.

Big Town #10 (1951). Despite being a radio drama, a movie, a TV show, and a comic book with a respectable 50-issue run, Big Town is forgotten today. Too bad, because Alex did some solid covers for the comic, like this one. (NOTE FROM DAN: There has been some debate about whether Toth did this cover. Most sources we looked at suggest he did. If you have further info, add it in the comments!)

Sensation Comics #107 (1952). By the end of the 1940s, Sensation became a romance book, and then a mystery title into the ’50s, which in my opinion was perfect for Alex’s skills. I love this cover.

Hot Wheels #1 (1970). We’re taking a big leap by a decade or two to jump into a short-lived, but amazing Toth series that was not only a merchandise tie-in, but a showcase for Alex’s ability to draw cool cars. (Dick Giordano inks.)

Limited Collector’s Edition #C-41 (1975-76). C’mon! I had to put this one in here! (And Kirby wasn’t the only one to have his Superman faces replaced.)

As a bonus, here’s the back cover:

Batman: Black and White #4 (1996). The master still had it.


— Bask in ALEX TOTH’s JUSTICE LEAGUE: A Birthday Celebration. Click here.

— 13 Great ALEX TOTH Model Sheets: A Birthday Celebration. Click here.

JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.

Check out his latest releases: a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting, his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding WorldRunning Home to Shadows about Dark Shadows, and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season OneBiff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I first noticed his style/name with the purchase of the Super Friends Limited Collector’s edition. I especially loved how he depicted The Dynamic Duo.

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  2. For the longest time I had no idea that he had actually been a comic book artist as well as the man who designed those Hanna-Barbera action cartoon characters that I loved so much watching in reruns in the 80s. These are some great covers.

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  3. Hot Wheels, Zorro and everything In between! Happy Birthday Alex

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  4. Thank you for the wonderful comments today on Alex’s birthday. He was the real thing. Eric

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    • My extreme pleasure, Eric. May he always rest in well-deserved peace.

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