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Rare Alex Toth Dell Comics
by John Hitchcock

(Article from 1996)


"Dell Comics are good comics". So read the house ads for wholesome Dell comics, a staple of the 1960's comic book racks. Dell Comics specialized in movie adaptations and Disney characters, but as wholesome as they were, Dell did not carry the Comics Code Seal of Approval that every other major publisher displayed. Instead, Dell comics contained 'A Pledge to Parents' which states: "The Dell code eliminates entirely, rather than regulates, objectionable material." Alex Toth drew some of the most fondly remembered titles published by this company in the late Fifties and early Sixties, and they remain some of his best work.

The Wings of Eagles
© Dell Comics Four Color 790 /1957
Drawn by Alex Toth, this comic book adaptation of the famous John Wayne film is a lot better than the movie itself, in my humble opinion. Sorry John Ford. The artist had a problem with this project, however. When John Wayne saw the original art, he decided he didn't want his likeness used in comic book form, even though Toth had no problem drawing the Duke. This meant that Toth had to go back and change all of the John Wayne heads throughout the story to look less like the actor. This Dell comic gives us 34 pages of superb Alex Toth art, and no ads, all for 15 cents. What a deal!

Alex Toth comics

Alex Toth

© Dell Comics Four Color #882 / 1957
© Walt Disney Pictures
Toth's run on the Zorro series is legendary to his fans. Swashbuckling sword fights and exotic locales are a Toth specialty. This is the first issue of Toth's eight issue run on the Zorro series, note the attention to the draping of Zorro's cape throughout the comic. It's very abstract in nature, I love it!

Clint and Mac
© Dell Comics Four Color #889 / 1958
© Walt Disney Pictures
Many people consider this issue to be Alex Toth's finest work and I can see why. The story is a simple detective yarn with two young kids as the protagonists, and the city of London as a backdrop. Toth's pacing is brilliant, and this comic book is superior storytelling in the grand master's hand.

The Real McCoys
© Dell Comics Four Color #1134 / 1960
This issue is a nice change of pace from these other examples, Toth uses his broad animated cartoon style here to great effect. He really captures the freewheeling sense of the Walter Brennan television comedy. Luke! Pepino! Come quick! You can read the one page story from the back cover right now, just click on the cover!

Alex Toth
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