Paul Pope study and handsome guy
This is Lon Chaney, Sr.
He was an actor, known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces.’
"Lon" is short for "Leonidas"
Today is his birthday.
Harvey Kurtzman and Alex Toth’s “Dying City!” story from “Two-Fisted Tales.”
Kurtzman on layouts and scripts and inks. Toth on pencils.
Kurtzman’s a master. Toth’s a master. I’m just gonna gush about this page.
The storytelling is incredible. INCREDIBLE. 10/10. A+. Gold Medals. Trophies. Nobel Prize for Excellence. Parades in the street for good graphic storytelling.
We start with a single establishing shot: an old man talks to a fallen soldier. KurtzToth wastes no space on this. This is economical storytelling at its finest.
Panels 2 and 3, have a slow zoom effect, which our storytellers manage to create by enlarging the elements in the frame between panels. Let me be clear: this is a zoom that happens only in your mind. The context of the images placed together in that manner makes your brain go “the camera has moved.” AND THAT SHIT IS CRAZY.
This is the sort of thing Dave Gibbons does so progressively in Watchmen. Except, you know, Kurtzman and Toth drew this 30 years earlier.
The story tellers build a magnificent sense of dread over this page. There’s an urgency that accompanies every question the old man asks, and the tension builds and builds until it comes to an explosive climax: After 3 panels focusing on the soldier, suddenly the old man’s face pops into frame in the fifth panel. His eyes are fiery as he begs “What does the future mean when everything you love is dead, my son?”
And then it’s just his face. The focus has shifted entirely to him and his words. As his brow creases and a dramatic backlight appears, he continues: "What is left? What good is your revolution? What good? What good? What good?"
He trails off and we’re left with what is easily among the most devastating images I’ve seen in a comic: the intense scene that we’ve just witnessed made small and sad, as a army tanks and patrol cars invade the foreground periphery.
Look at how the figures recede into the background. Look at how they’re framed on all sides by war iconography. The staging of this final panel drive home the desperation and hopelessness of the setting. By giving the preceding scene a new context, KurtzToth strip it of its drama and make it bitterly real and human.
Despite the solid prose, I honestly don’t think the postscript is necessary. That last image says everything.
Also of note: that final panel takes up the space of three normal sized panels, making it HUGE by comparison.
Anyway. As I said: 10/10. Nobel Prize. Parades. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Harvey Kurtzman died in 1993.
Alex Toth died in 2006.
Why these two aren’t hugely well-known is a mystery to me.
"I’m a big, sad, blue guy. I’m gonna go to Mars because I have no love left for humanity. A bluh-bluh-bluhhhhh"
Dr. Manhattan, “Watchmen”
I was obsessed with Dragon Ball Z as a kid. I’m not sure I’ve ever spent much time as an adult examining Toriyama’s designs, which is a shame, cause they’re great.
Cell’s got very elongated forearms and shins, which make him feel inhuman.
I love his weird-ass beak and crown. Toriyama was clearly drawing from insect biology, but I feel like he was making it up as he went along.
And those jewel bits. And the leopard spots. And the finger-toes and black finger nails.
There’s just a lot to like about him. He’s spooky.