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Sep 012011
 

On Today’s show I am joined by Independent Comic Creators Neil Segura and Ray Mendivil to discuss their comicbook Forever Freshman! We talk about writing, art technique, tacos, beer, and Metal Gear Solid and more!

Neil Segura and Ray Mendivil first met on the schoolyard of Katherine Edwards Jr. High, in unincorporated Whittier. They soon found they had many common interests such as music, food and avoiding social interactions. In high school they both joined marching band and their reign of coolness continued. Many years later they decided to revisit those high school memories and created a comic about their experiences.

 

 

Neil and Ray two wild and crazy cats!

The Forever Freshman blog

Man vs. Art Pantheon of Awesomeness!

Alex Toth

By Luis Escobar!

Alex Toth became a professional comic artist at the age of 15. That book was Eastern Color Printing’s Heroic Comics #32, dated September of 1945. He was 16 when it saw print. Two years later he was working for DC comics drawing golden age characters like: Dr. Midnight and The Green Lantern.
He was hired by Shelly Mayer who was very hard on him.  He really taught him how to think when drawing comics. In a 1969 interview in Graphic Story Magazine, Alex says,
Shelly was the first and only really creative and knowledgeable comics editor I’ve worked for in all these years in the field. He was rough. He’d tear up my pages if I got too cute, too arty in telling the story. He’d tear them up on the spot and tell me to go home and do ’em over again. I tried to put in all the elements that I thought were important. But they weren’t important. And Shelly was the one who pointed that out to me. He didn’t care how pretty the pictures were if they didn’t develop the story. “Stop trying to be another Michelangelo,” he’d say, “and just tell the story. Just tell the story.” And every time I walked out of his office, I’d learned something–whether I wanted to or not. The direction of action; staging; the importance of dialogue flow, how it should run through a page, panel by panel; what the eye should read first and what you want the eye to see first.
If only editors would tell this to current artists now a days.
His second editor at DC was Sol Harrison. Harrison was the guy who instilled the thing in Toth that he’s most known for, “simplicity”. He taught Toth to see what in a drawing he could omit to make a better drawing. Toth once quoted Harrison, “Wellll, Alex, it’s all rrightt, but you still don’t know what to leave out.”
It’s obvious when looking at Toth’s artwork that these lessons REALLY hit home, staying with him for the rest of his career. The simplicity and the clarity of his work, is masterful.
Alex Toth was a bit of a maverick.  He didn’t really stay in one place for long. Most of the time he stayed in a place for about four years before moving on to something new.  In the 1950s he “ghost” drew the Casey Ruggles newspaper strip with Warren Tufts. In 1952 he left DC and drew for Standard comics until he got drafted by the army.
While stationed in Japan, he created an award-winning newspaper strip, Jon Fury. Which he loved doing because he had complete freedom to do what he wanted. He wouldn’t get this kind of freedom again until he worked on Pete Millar’s hot rod cartoon magazines.
Once out of the army in 1957 he began work at Dell comics and mostly did comics based on TV shows.  In 1960 he became the art director for  the show Space Angel but left because of “artistic differences”. After this, he worked for DC, Marvel, Warren Publishing and Pete Millar before ending up joining Doug Wildey on Jonny Quest at Hanna-Barbera, in 1964.
There he made animation history by designing shows like: Space Ghost, Herculoids, The Superfriends, and just about every action adventure cartoon Hanna-Barbera produced. But again, he left the studio because of “creative differences”.
The guy couldn’t stay in one place for long. He did just about any every kind genre you can think of, from superheroes, to westerns, to science fiction, pulp mysteries, war stories, car stories, horror stories…he could do it all. And he was GOOD at it.

He wasn’t good at it just because he was Alex Toth, he was good at it because he worked harder and was more critical about his work than most of the guys around him. In an web article written by Jesse Hamm we find these quotes:

“Of all the artists I’ve met,” recalls veteran illustrator Greg Theakston,”none have been so quick to crucify their work, and with so much disdain.” Of Toth’s written self-appraisals, cartoonist Derik Badman observed that Toth “spends more time analyzing what went wrong, what he’d like to have done differently, than discussing anything else, as if all he could see were the flaws.”

Jesse Hamm, speculates Toth was a maverick in his approach to learning.  He was always willing to throw away what he knew in order to try a new approach. He was willing to start all over by from square one in order to build himself anew.  He didn’t simply do what most artist do, finding a formula that works for them and sticking with it. He was always willing to try an new approach that might make him look bad at first but would make him better than everyone else in the long run.

“There came a time when I had to unlearn many things.” ~Alex Toth

 

“It was great fun, to learn anew. You think you know enough, but you don’t. You must open up; let it in. …be receptive, admit what you don’t know, which few are willing to do. Start from square one. Again!” ~Alex Toth

Toth had guts and it made him an incredible artist. His sense of composition, tone, anatomy, design and story telling is an inspiration.

Toth passed in 1996 at age 77. He was found dead of a heart attack, at his DRAWING DESK.

 

Luis Escobar’s Blog

 

 

Sketchapalooza 2011

This past weekend The Cartoonistas got together at Geeks comics to celebrate Jack Kirby’s birthday by giving out free sketches to the public! Good times!

Jim Lujan too cool to open his eyes.

 

Raul and the Lovely and Vivacious Hortencia

Little Maya and the portrait I drew of her.

The Bonilla Family and their family sketch.

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 Posted by at 3:27 pm

  4 Responses to “Man vs. Art Episode 57! Neil Segura and Ray Mendivil Creators of Forever Freshman”

  1. Thanks again for having us on. It was a bit of a struggle for me to talk about my work, that’s definitely not my forte. But I’m glad I did it and in the end it was a lot of fun. I loved the “Real American Heroes” parody. I laughed my ass off. Keep up the good work. Man vs. Art rules!

  2. Ah, this is why I love Man Vs. Art. Very insightful stuff!

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