Setting the Standard: Comics by Alex Toth 1952-1954

Be the first to review this product

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Alex Toth’s influence on the art of comic books is incalculable. As his generation was the first to grow up with the new 10-cent full-color pamphlets, he came to the medium with a fresh eye, and enough talent and discipline to graphically strip it down its to its bare essentials. His efforts reached fruition at Standard Comics, creating an entire school of imitators and establishing Toth as the “comic book artist’s artist.” Setting the Standard collects the entirety of this highly influential body of work in one substantial volume.

Setting the Standard

Double click on above image to view full picture

Zoom Out
Zoom In

More Views

  • Setting the Standard
  • Setting the Standard (back cover)


Toth began his professional career at fifteen in 1945 for Heroic Comics, but quickly advanced to superhero work for DC. Responding to the endless criticism of editor Sheldon Mayer and production chief Sol Harrison, the young artist strove toward a technique free of “showoff surface tricks, clutter, and distracting picture elements.” Simply put, he learned “how to tell a story, to the exclusion of all else.”

After falling out with DC in 1952, Toth moved west. He freelanced almost exclusively for Standard over the next two years, contributing classic work for its crime, horror, science fiction, and war titles. But perhaps most revelatory to the reader will be the romance collaborations with writer Kim Ammodt, Toth’s personal favorites. “I came to prefer them for the quieter, more credible, natural human equations they dealt with — emotions, subtleties of gesture, expression, attitude.”

To explain his take on comics, Toth would quote such proverbs as “To add to truth distracts from it,” or “The beauty of the simple thing.” He employed these axioms “to make clear how universal this pursuit of truth, clarity, simplicity, economy, in all the arts and many other disciplines really is — and has been for 6,000 years.” These and other observations regarding the comic book form will be collected in an essay based on Toth’s published and unpublished letters and interviews.

Every page of Setting the Standard is restored to bring Toth’s unsurpassed graphics and page designs into full clarity, making this an essential edition for anyone with an appreciation of the art of graphic storytelling.

Check out a 38-page .pdf

Additional Information

Author Alex Toth / Greg Sadowski (editor)
Publisher Fantagraphics Books
Page Count 432pp
Publication Size 7.5 x 10.5
Publication Notes softcover, full color
Publication Date August 17, 2011
ISBN 978-1-60699-408-5

You may also be interested in the following product(s)

Mammoth Book Of Best Crime Comics

Mammoth Book Of Best Crime Comics

Mammoth Book Of Best War Comics

Mammoth Book Of Best War Comics

Blazing Combat

Blazing Combat

Mammoth Book Of Zombie Comics

Mammoth Book Of Zombie Comics


Product Tags

Use spaces to separate tags. Use single quotes (') for phrases.