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Trouble with Comics, Toth and the Golden Age of Reprints

Toth and the Golden Age of Reprints

ADD and I are often pretty cranky about the state of comics today, and publishing practices and strategies, but I have to commend IDW Publishing on the upcoming three volume biography of master storyteller Alex Toth (Genius, Isolated; Genius, Illustrated and Genius, Animated). I haven’t seen anything but the covers and read the descriptions, but IDW’s Dean Mullaney has a good track record of putting great care into classic reprints, and he already did a well-regarded Toth collection (The Complete Zorro), so I think we’re in good hands.

It’s also another encouraging sign, because to me it will sort of check off one more of the greats off the dwindling list of those who deserve to have their great bodies of work back in print and don’t. Don’t misunderstand; I know that the three volumes are largely biographies, with some complete story reprints and a lot of previously unseen art. But still, it’s a step in the right direction, up there with DC’s many recent Jack Kirby reprints, Fantagraphics ongoing Steve Ditko Archives (IDW also had a good if uneven Art of Ditko book, and DC has announced another Ditko collection, probably focusing on Shade the Changing Man). Ever since I knew who Toth was, I had little to sate my curiosity, with one legendary book out of my price range and cd-roms and free stories on a fan site not the ideal presentation for his work, at least not for a guy who generally likes to read comics in printed form. It’s great that even in this economy, those days are gone and publishers are giving these great artists the formats their great work deserves. Here’s hoping someone makes a major Wallace Wood announcement soon and I’ll be ecstatic. 

—Christopher Allen

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