The Dick Giordano Interview (Part Two of Three)

Posted by on April 1st, 2010 at 2:13 PM

GROTH: A moment ago, you were speaking of your approach to Batman. Gerry Conway is writing two of the three Batman titles; what is your assessment of his writing?

GIORDANO: It would be hard for me to say anything negative since I was probably instrumental in getting Gerry Conway to write comic books in the first place. [Laughter.]

GROTH: Harlan Ellison has taken blame for that. [Laughter.]

GIORDANO: I think Gerry’s a professional. I think he does his job. Like a lot of other people, Gerry has been criticized from time to time for doing what he’s been asked to do. Perhaps sometimes the criticisms are valid, but never valid if considered in the total context of what Gerry is asked to do and expected to do and how he actually performs in that area. I consider it my job to make it impossible for Gerry or Roy or anyone else that I’m working with to do anything that isn’t good simply because they have more fun doing it well. I think we’re all going to try to do something good because we’re going to have some fun at it. Money alone as motivation is useless in this business. All that does is pay your bills. It sounds silly when I say that [laughter]. But, it’s not the only thing. I’ve talked to a few people — Len Wein just yesterday and he said the same thing. You sit down and do something because you’re having some fun. Somebody pays you at the end of the week and that’s great, but that’s not why you sat down to do it. It is very hard to motivate yourself simply because you have to pay the electric bill. It really isn’t enough. I intend to work with people who have decided that this is fun. Anybody who wants to be terribly professional about it and just wants to crank it out because he’s got to pay his electric bill probably won’t be doing a whole lot for me.

GROTH: But you just said Conway was a “professional.”

GIORDANO: Yeah, but only because he’s been asked to be. You see, a lot of people have been asked to do that. Mike Golden went over to Marvel and was asked to do stuff that was closer to Jack Kirby. Being a professional, he decides that he’ll go along with it. Vinnie Colletta has been criticized for years for doing what he’s been asked to do. Vinnie Colletta was asked to ink a book in two days so he did it. It looked like it was inked in two days and everybody falls on him. But the fact is that’s what he was asked to do and he was considered “professional” by the people who asked him to do it.

GROTH: It sounds like the term “professional” is a euphemism for “prostitute.”

GIORDANO: To a degree. that’s true of all of us. It’s just a question of degree. The people who wouldn’t prostitute themselves are the ones who are out of the business. You can’t think of business and art at the same time without being a prostitute to some degree. When you’re selling your stuff, you’re doing it for money and women who do it for money are prostitutes, right? Draw the line for me. I don’t know where the line really is. What I can do is push that line aside so that it’s over here while I’m operating here, so that I’m less a prostitute on project A than I am on project B. But, as long as I’m getting paid for it, to some degree, prostitution enters into it.

Another thing that people have a tendency to overlook is that, like television, comic-book art uses a vast amount of material each month. If you’re responsible for a monthly book, you’ve got to do that book 12 months a year, no matter how you feel, whether your wife ran away, or you had to go in for an operation, or whatever personal factors are involved, you have to turn out material. You have to have a professional attitude to turn it out when you don’t feel like it. We cannot afford in this business to wait for the inspiration to move us. That means you get up in the morning and you turn a switch and you sit down and you start drawing or writing. That’s professional/prostitution. There is no way to separate the two entirely.

GROTH: Well, doesn’t the structure of the business encourage that kind of prostitute-mentality?

GIORDANO: Oh, sure.

GROTH: Whereas other forms of entertainment don’t encourage it to that extent.

GIORDANO: What areas of art don’t?

GROTH: I don’t think you could call Francis Ford Coppola a prostitute.

GIORDANO: But he doesn’t have to do a film every four weeks. You do one film this year and if the next one doesn’t come until five years later, that’s fine, no one’s beating you over the head about it.

I mean, a novelist who is not required to write a book a year may not fall under that category [prostitute] to be sure. I liken comics to television because that’s the same situation. You’ve got to turn out a script every week, you’ve got to get Buck Rogers on the air every week. And that means that everybody has to work at a pace that’s less than comfortable, that everybody has to turn that “ON” switch every morning. The director has to get up and drag his ass down to the studio and film 14 minutes of Buck Rogers today because he’s got to do 14 tomorrow and 14 the day after. You have to make the separation — you, personally, I mean you, Gary — that there is a difference between art and business. Sometimes the two aren’t compatible and sometimes the two appear in the same place, but it can’t be expected. So long as a person is required to get up in the morning and turn on and start producing and work from nine to five and get X amount of work done, there are going to be times when art has nothing to do with it, where craft and professionalism is what gets you through your assignment that day.

GROTH: Doesn’t that tend to banalize our culture, though?

GIORDANO: Oh, sure. But explain your way out. I’d love to hear it. You know, we’re talking about comic books. Comic books are published by businessmen who publish the comic books every month, 12 times a year. If there’s a way to do it other than the way that it’s being done I’d like to hear about it because I’d sure like to try. The fact is, I can’t sit down and do a comic book that appeals to me and do it only when the artistic motivation comes along. I’d like to see it that way; that would be ideal.

But, we’re not producing art. We’re producing quantities of stories for consumption by a certain group of people — I won’t say kids — and to that end, the people who can get up and function every day have a very, very distinct value in the business. Neal Adams is recognized as one of the greatest artists that has ever done comic books — I feel that way, certainly — but it is also true that most publishers would not consider using Neal on a regular basis for the very reason that he cannot get up and turn on the button and function on demand. He’s an artist. The business doesn’t need artists in that way. If we can give Neal Adams a Superman/Muhammad Ali book to do. and let him take two, three, four years, whatever time he requires to do it in, as was the case, that’s fine. He’ll come up with an interesting piece of work that probably is closer to art than something that I did for another Superman book, much closer to being art than that. But, that’s not what the industry is based on. If we change to that, I’m sure that there would be a lot of people that would enjoy it. I certainly would. I would love to sit down and be able to do a book a year, and do my best on it and do it when I feel like doing it, and earn the kind of money that I would need to earn while I was doing it. I’d like to see that happen… if you have a way for that to happen, I’ll listen. I promise you, if you give me something that’s logical I’ll even bring it to Jenette and make her listen to it.

Click to view larger image. From All New Collectors' Edition Vol. 7 #C-56, from a Denny O'Neil story, adapted and penciled by Neal Adams, inked by Giordano & Terry Austin ©1978 DC Comics

GROTH: Well, we are attempting a few things now. We’re publishing a project that Harlan Ellison is writing and Mike Kaluta will draw, and it’s taking quite a long time…

GIORDANO: And, the results will probably be closer to what you’re talking about. The results will not be banal, and they will be art or close to art, because you have two people who care about what they’re doing and are not doing it for the bucks and are not doing it on a certain time schedule, but doing it as the mood moves them to do it.

GROTH: Ultimately. I think that’s how you have to approach something before you can produce something significant.

GIORDANO: Of course. You know, the Bible wasn’t written on a monthly basis. [Laughter.] If you want to do something significant it has to be done that way. I don’t think you will ever find something truly significant coming out in a standard comic book format. First of all, it is not intended for anything truly significant to be done that way.

There are those of us who will make our daily compromise — and I’m included in that group — in order to insure that the production of the company I’m working for is met. If I’ve got to do a cover tomorrow morning, it’s going to be done. It may not be the best cover I’ve ever done. It will not be a significant piece of work even if it is the best cover I’ve ever done because it was done with someone else’s needs in mind, under someone else’s direction, and under the very restricted time schedule, so that whether I felt like doing it or not it’s going to be done. Nothing good can be insured to come from that. If you get something good out of that it’s sort of a happy accident.

GROTH: You said something in an old interview that I thought I’d ask you about. You said. “Comics is an entertainment form, not an artform.” Can we get into your views in regard to that?

GIORDANO: I can’t do too much to change that. I still ‘feel that it’s an entertainment form, not an artform.

GROTH: You feel that way because of what we just discussed? — the restrictions imposed on the creators, and so forth?

GIORDANO: Not only that. Art is something that comes totally from within the artist. It’s a form of expression, a form of self-expression that cannot be motivated by anything except the desire of the artist to make that expression, to express his feelings, his thoughts, whatever. That’s art. Drawing Batman every five weeks can’t ever possibly be that because the person who draws Batman didn’t create it and there’s probably a writer involved and someone else looking over your shoulder.

Entertainment isn’t a bad word. We have to start with that. If you define art as being only self-expression, entertainment will never be art. If you define art as something that is enjoyed by a lot of people, perhaps entertainment can be art. I don’t know if Three’s Company will ever be art; it was entertainment. But, I think there is and can be a number of shows — like All in the Family — that might be considered art. It was also entertaining. There are a number of shows — the original I Love Lucy shows have to be considered some sort of art by any standards and they were entertainment. But they weren’t the kind of art I think you’re talking about or the kind of art that was produced by some fine artist of the past.

I have to also point out that a lot of fine artists of the past were commercial artists of their time and never did anything without a buck at the end of it, and the same was true of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. They were all prostitutes. They’re just fine artists today. At the time they were selling the stuff. I don’t know how further to expound on those two things. I don’t think they’re necessarily mutually exclusive in terms of comic books, but for the most part they are. It’s light entertainment for our audience.

Any time an attempt has been made in comic books to inform or to trigger thoughts about social issues it’s been a dismal failure sales-wise. I don’t know if that’s enough to stop me from trying it again when I get into a position where I can try it again, but I’m not going to go out of my way to look for the kind of material that is going to be terribly informative or terribly thought-provoking unless it’s also terribly entertaining. I’m going to put the entertainment value before anything else. I personally thought, for example, that the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series was entertaining and thought-provoking. If you read the series today it doesn’t read quite the same way as it did in its time, but at the time it did what I thought it should do. From a sales viewpoint it never enjoyed any kind of success. I can’t disagree with the criticisms of the series that I’ve read lately, except that at the time that it was done those criticisms wouldn’t be valid. It’s just that with the addition of hindsight we can see things about it that weren’t seen then. But, I don’t think that was the reason for the poor sales at the time.

Entertainment is what we’re doing.

GROTH: Of course, all art is entertaining, but may be entertaining to a small segment of the population.

GIORDANO: I don’t know — Picasso has failed to entertain me from the day he first put brush to paper. [Laughter.] So, I don’t know if all art is entertaining. But, all art is meant to be entertaining. I think, seriously, though, that some artists — real artists, Picasso, probably — use their art as a method of self-expression. Perhaps they were unable to express their deeper feelings in any other way, and do it through their art, and if someone else finds it entertaining or valuable in any way, so be it. But, the first thought wasn’t necessarily to entertain, but to express. I think exactly the opposite is true in comic books: the first thought has to be to entertain. If you can express some of your personal feelings at the same time that’s fine, but your primary obligation is to entertain the person who is plunking down — by the time this comes out it might be 75 cents — 50 cents for a comic book.

GROTH: Why do you think so much of our entertainment is so inexpressive and trite?

GIORDANO: God, I wish I knew. I wish I could say that I disagreed with your statement, but the fact is, our entertainment leaves a lot to be desired. I sometimes like to believe that my tastes are greater than the masses’, but anything that I’ve seen or read has indicated that that is not true, that the majority of the people feel as I do, that they’re not being entertained by television or the majority of film or comic books, or just about anything else.

I don’t know what leads people to produce material that is not enjoyed by their audience. I’m sure you’ve gone to a theater and sat through it and come out and said to yourself, “Why did anyone make that? Why did anyone agree to finance that? Why did that actor agree to act in it? It’s obviously a turkey. Everybody should have known from the beginning. Why did it ever get there?” I ask those questions. I never got any answers, and if you have I’d love to hear them. I have no answers as to why those comic books are there, that film is there, or why some of these shows find their way to television. The only experience I’ve had with television that I consider positive is that I watched 60 Minutes from the beginning and I enjoyed it from then until now, and I feel justified that a lot of people agree with me now but didn’t when it first came out.

But, that’s the happy exception. For the most part. there’s a lot of garbage everywhere. And people are standing still for it. And the people who make the garbage know they’re making garbage. They’ve got to know. I think everybody who makes a bad film knows from the beginning that it’s going to be a bad film. I don’t think anybody ever convinces themselves that this is going to be a terrific film and something got lost in the translation somewhere. I’d like to believe what Stallone said about some of the films he made after Rocky — that it was because they weren’t edited properly or any of the other excuses he offered for them — but when I looked at them, yeah, execution could have been better here and there, maybe the editing was at fault, but the fact was that they were terrible films when they were written, were conceived. Still, he did it and they did it and somebody put up the money for it and it got to the theater.

GROTH: Sometimes it’s difficult to judge when you’re so involved in it and you haven’t the distance…

GIORDANO: Yeah. I suppose. And there are other factors. I mean, everybody’s got to earn a buck. And maybe the banker figured, “Well, if we got Stallone in this, it’ll draw 10 million people so we’ll get our money back and a little profit,” and the writer said, “Well…” And everyone rationalizes a little piece of their responsibility away. I feel as you do, but I really don’t have any answers for it. The only possible answer is if you and I decide every night not to watch any television at all, and not to buy any comic books or magazines, and not to go to any films, and if everybody in the country did that for a year, somebody would shape up somewhere. [Laughter.] I don’t know that that’s possible, but I can’t think of any other solution.

GROTH: Some people would say that we promote that solution in the magazine [laughter].

GIORDANO: [Laughter.] Not a bad idea.

GROTH: Earlier, you said you went to the School of Visual Arts. Is that the only formal art training you’ve had?

GIORDANO: Oh, sure.

GROTH: And the rest of it is…?

GIORDANO: Pick it up as you can. You sit down every day and you draw. If you keep drawing you get better at it.

GROTH: Would you recommend a formal art training for aspiring artists?

GIORDANO: Absolutely essential. In order to have instruction in the basic skills — you really can’t bluff your way for any length of time. You can’t even swipe Neal Adams art correctly without having some art training background. You have to understand why Neal Adams came to those conclusions to copy his material effectively. I really don’t think there is any other way. There are a handful of people who have managed to become effective, contributing, professional artists without having any formal training. They tend to be in the middle to lower echelon in terms of quality ranking. It’s very hard to sit down and draw a picture of the city without having a basic understanding of perspective, or drawing Superman without having a basic understanding of anatomy.

GROTH: One of the big problems in comics might be that the artists aren’t taught to draw and as a result they only copy…

GIORDANO: As a matter of fact that happens also to be a big problem in formal art training that I’ve discovered as a result of my teaching assignments. I teach at Parson’s School of Design. I have been for six, seven years — I consider Parson’s to be one of the best art schools in the country. And I see as I’m working there that the emphasis starts to move away from drawing things the way they are and the emphasis becomes centered on gimmicks that make the student think he’s learned something. Like, look at the model, draw the picture without looking at the paper. So what? [Laughter.] There’s no foundation in that. You haven’t learned anything except a little trick. And what it is. I think. is that the instructors don’t know enough about the basics to teach the basics.

Sal Amendola went to school where they taught him nothing of the basics. He just recently realized how important it was to learn perspective, and he went out and learned it on his own, and then put a course together that includes perspective for a class that he teaches. He’s teaching what he was never taught, because he recognized after he got out of school and into the field and started to function as an artist that it is absolutely essential to have that background. Frank McLaughlin and I teach a workshop course here in Stratford — we’ve given it up now because we’re too busy—where we teach only basics. We teach perspective and anatomy — how you start to construct a drawing, and then you’re on your own.

GROTH: Am I correct in assuming that you can only teach an artist so much and that is all?

GIORDANO: Yeah, definitely. If you go too far with him, you run the risk of creating a clone. Any art instructor has one frame of reference: his own. I could not sit down and teach you or anyone how someone else thinks, including people that I’ve worked with, like Neal, for example.

I can only use my own frame of reference in instructing. So I try to eliminate that entirely. Perspective has no frame of reference. There are hard and fast rules. In order to make a building appear the way it should in space it has to be drawn this way. There is nothing flexible about it. You have the horizon line, vanishing points, and that’s it, bubby. Now you’re on your own. That’s all you can teach them. An artist has to be his own man. We can teach an artist standard proportions. Seven and a half heads tall: realistic proportion; eight heads tall: idealistic proportion; nine heads tell: heroic proportion. We can show those proportions and how it affects the length of the arm and the leg and so forth, but then it’s up to you to decide how to draw the arm and the leg. It’s just a question of establishing some sort of a framework from which you may start your drawing.

I think it’s essential to know those things, as a method of adding some order to what you do. Getting up every morning and turning on that button I told you about before is contingent upon having some knowledge of how to start. A lot of people don’t understand that. There are times when I get up in the morning, sit down at my drawing board and I’ve got to find a way to start. I’m faced with a blank piece of paper. I’ve gotta’ start somewhere. So I may start out by measuring out a nine-head figure, or by putting down a vanishing point on the horizon, and starting there. I have a place to start, I have a way to get it going. Everybody creates their own, but basic knowledge is what it’s based on, whatever way you have of starting yourself is on that basic knowledge that you’ve got somewhere along the line.

You have to know, this isn’t my day and I’ve got to stumble through it somehow to produce a certain amount of work. I have to depend on what I can do by rote and a certain amount on just facility, facile skill. I’ll do straight lines. “God knows, if I do anything but straight lines today, I’ll fuck it up.” So you sit down and do straight lines for that day. I know inkers who get up in the morning and start by filling in blacks because they’ve got to wake up first. They have to wake up their heads, their hands, and the other parts of them that are required to be functioning in order to do their job properly. But you have to have a way to start.

GROTH: Do you consider yourself to be a good draftsman, in the sense of having formal skills such as anatomy, perspective…?

GIORDANO: You need to have those formal skills to be able to turn that button in the morning. There is no way to start, lacking those formal skills. I’m probably more of a draftsman than some others but I think everyone in this business has to be partially that.

GROTH: How did you learn to draw anatomy?

GIORDANO: I didn’t. I still don’t know anything about it. [Laughter.]

No, it’s true. In a formal sense I have a basic idea about proportions, but I do not have any clinical knowledge about where the muscles are and where they attach. Neal does, as an example of the other extreme. I just sort of looked around, and I have my own method of self-instruction, which includes while I’m sitting here being interviewed, watching you and watching the shadow patterns change on your face as we’re talking and as you move your arms I’m aware of it. I watch, and it just becomes part of my general knowledge. If you see something often enough, you begin to remember it. It really is nothing more mysterious than that.

I believe that most artists look at things totally different than anyone else does because they’re required to. For years I’ve explained to people how I don’t see color, because I don’t draw color. I see everything in black and white. I’m doing impressions of reality and I have to change reality to suit my needs. My reality is, there is no gray, there’s black and there’s white, because that’s what I work with. There’s no color, although somebody else may screw up my drawing with color; I don’t get a chance to do that myself. So I’ve accepted that reality and I tend to look at things that way, and I think that to one degree or another every artist has a tendency to look at things in a way that suits his needs.

An artist is either getting better or getting worse. You rest on a plateau for a relatively short time. But after you’ve rested for a while, you either start downhill or you start back uphill. So since I believe that I find it important to consider my education as an artist as an ongoing thing. It’s not something that concluded when I left art school, or concluded 10 years ago when I left DC, but it’s something that’s live each day. I think of each day as an opportunity to learn something more about drawing. I will continue to do that even as an editor at DC. It’s important to my personal lifestyle that I learn something every day about drawing. The things that I learn may not always be apparent in what I do — you may not be able to tell from my next job that it was better than my last job, you’ll just have to take my word for it: it is, because I learned something between jobs that made this one better than the last one I did.

I’m proud of the fact that I was at the bottom half of my class in my art school and that I managed to do as well as I did despite that fact and I think the reason for it is that my attitude wasn’t in the bottom half of the class, it’s just that my skills were. My attitude was that I wanted to learn more and I wanted to be better, I wanted to draw comics, and just pushed ahead in that direction, and so far I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I influenced my getting this job. I influenced my working for DC in the first place as an editor, I influenced becoming an editor at Charlton by recognizing that I wanted to do those things. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been able to do that up until now; I don’t know about next year. [Laughter.]

GROTH: Earlier we discussed young artists learning how to draw by copying other styles. How easy or difficult is it for a young artist to learn by copying other styles and then to break out of that?

GIORDANO: That’s a very good question. I learned a great deal about how to draw by swiping Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby. You see any of that in what I do?

GROTH: It’s difficult to say… I wouldn’t say so without being brought to it.

GIORDANO: What I did was. I swiped Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby stuff by applying the construction technique that I had learned in art school so that I was able, by swiping his stuff, to come to some conclusions that he had come to a little faster. Then, having learned those conclusions, I put aside the swiping and just used the conclusion, which then became Dick Giordano’s conclusion. If an artist doesn’t have a background from which to draw a conclusion, looking at Neal Adams stuff and swiping doesn’t help him! If he runs out of swipes he runs out of his ability to draw. If you can’t find a picture of Batman hanging by his ankle and you’ve got to do it, you’re lost. There’s no method by which to do that drawing. If the swipe doesn’t exist, you’re through. And I’m sure you’ve seen it happen where an artist swipes a picture of Batman flying, turns it upside down and puts a rope on his ankle and we have Batman hanging from his foot! [Laughter].

GROTH: So what you’re saying is, you have to understand how the artist approached his drawing to break away from it. You have to understand the theory behind it.

GIORDANO: Right. You take your understanding of basics and apply your knowledge in the swiping of another artist’s work, and you can eliminate having to go through the steps that he went through to come to that conclusion. You have your basics and his conclusion, and you can learn faster. To that end, it’s very valuable to swipe if you do it with that in mind; that you are just trying to get to a conclusion sooner. We’re all influenced by artists who went before. The most difficult piece of art in the world to do had to be the first. Each artist learns from the artists that have preceded him. The seven-and-a-half-head and the eight-head figure that I mentioned earlier were established by other artists and passed down to us and as that knowledge is passed along each artist adds a little to it, and if you’re doing your swiping with that in mind, you’ll find that there’s a way of eliminating ten years of learning just by looking at someone who’s gone through that process.

GROTH: Nowadays, it isn’t so much that they’re swiping figures, but they’re just adopting styles.

GIORDANO: I think in a lot of ways that’s taking commercialism to the nth degree. Knowing for example that Neal Adams’s style does sell has I think prompted a I lot of people to swipe Neal Adams even though they might rather swipe Alex Toth. What Alex does is not saleable, Neal Adams, therefore…

GROTH: Toth was a big influence on you, wasn’t he?

GIORDANO: Yeah. I happen to have thought and still do that he’s the closest thing to a genius we have in this business, despite all of the good things I’ve been saying about Neal. I think Neal would be the first to agree. If Toth’s personality hadn’t been what it was—and I’m not saying that in a negative way; he was one of those non-cowards that we spoke about earlier: he was willing to throw editors out of windows if it would aid… [Groth laughs.]

Yes, literally. I understand he actually had an editor up by the shirtfront and was about to throw him out a window when someone came along and dissuaded him from such a hasty action. [Laughter.]

I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s a very interesting story that’s gone around. As to the person whom he was about to throw out of the window, I would have said, “Go ahead.”


From Green Lantern: The Icicle Goes South, drawn by Alex Toth ©1947 DC Comics

GIORDANO: But Alex has a point of view and he accepts no other. I was influenced by him and I’ll always be influenced by him and every time I talk to Alex I say to myself, “I’m going to call him tomorrow” and I never quite get around to it. Alex is one of those people like Roy Thomas who, if you get them on the telephone, you’ll enjoy the conversation but you have to be prepared to sit there for three hours. It’s almost impossible to get him off.

GROTH: He can’t talk as fast as Roy.

GIORDANO: No. [Laughter.] Roy has a tendency to say the same thing three times in 30 seconds, whereas Alex explores each thought slowly. The two require that you have the patience to sit at the telephone for a long period of time.

GROTH: Why would you say Toth is a genius?

GIORDANO: Because he’s accepted so little of what’s gone before. He’s sort of struck out on his own from the beginning, and he’s still on his own. He’s done things that nobody else would think to do, and nobody else would have the courage to do, and he’s done it and insisted that it was correct. In some cases it might have been correct for Alex, but it might not have been correct for the reader, but I still felt he utilized a great deal more originality and thought.

Also, Alex isn’t a professional in the sense of the word that he’s willing to sit down and produce on a clocklike schedule. If Alex pencils a page and doesn’t like it, he tears it up and throws it out. He doesn’t say, “Well, it’s good enough” and pass it along, he does literally tear it up and throw it out and start somewhere else, and if that doesn’t work he’ll throw that out too.

It’s led to his taking much longer than he should, it’s led to his not making any money when he should have, and it’s led to the kind of material that is revolutionary, truly original. I have never seen anything in a job that Toth did that I saw anywhere else. I have never seen a swipe, I have never seen a thought that someone else used incorporated into his work. All his material hasn’t been great, but it’s all been original. And I can’t even say that about Neal. He was influenced a great deal by Stan Drake and Tom Sawyer, whom he worked with at the commercial art studio he was involved with before coming to comics, Johnston & Cushing. These people contributed considerably to his technique and the things he does, and it’s still apparent. Early Toth had some Dan Barry influence, because Dan Barry was God at DC when he first started there. So maybe Alex was influenced somewhat by that at that time. But that quickly went by the board and Alex has done Alex ever since. The Hanna-Barbera stuff that he’s doing is kind of commercial and I’m sure he gets up and turns it on, but when he does comic books he does Alex Toth.

This interview concludes in Part Three.

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