Monday, October 21, 2013

Groove's Faves: "Death Flies the Haunted Sky" by Goodwin and Toth

Here's a classic if ever there were one, Groove-ophiles! Archie Goodwin and Alex Toth teamed up in Detective Comics #442 (May 1974) to deliver this love-letter to their fellow Batman creators. They called it "Death Flies the Haunted Sky" and considered by many fans and pros alike to be one of the all-time great bat-tales. Dig it!











7 comments:

  1. Toth was a master of storytelling and design, but his Batman looks goofy and Dick Sprang-ish, especially after Neal Adams DEFINED the Batman of the early '70s and dispelled the camp creation of the '60s. It's no wonder he was not asked to do another Batman tale. Neal Adams' art of "Ghost of the Killer Skies" has similar themes, but is much better drawn. Toth oversimplified here, and unintentionally proved that less is not always more.

    Chris A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Disagree strongly. Toth was an amazing draughtsman; like Garcia Lopez and Stuart Immonen among others, probably so good that laymen just don't realize how good. Adams is all flash and finish with very little in the way of sound construction underneath (I know; I've inked the guy's work.) Toth was also a brilliant, almost cinematic storyteller. So what if his Batman is a little more square jawed here than Adam's rather more aquiline rendition? This is rightly regarded as a classic of the genre, in terms of storytelling and drawing.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for this story, Groove. I really enjoyed the era when this story appeared in Detective Comics, the 100 Page Super Spectacular Days. We got to see a lot of great artistic interpretations of Batman during that run, with some really good stories from Archie Goodwin, plus the Manhunter series to boot.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's like seeing the "Super Friends" Batman in a dark, dramatic story. Weird juxtaposition.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe that Toth was asked to do other Batman stories. Editor Mark Chiarello got Toth to commit to drawing an Archie Goodwin-penned story for Batman Black and White #4, but Toth changed his mind and just did the incredible cover instead. Goodwin's story ended up being drawn by Gary Gianni. Adams' early 70s Batman was incredible, but with Giordano, Novick, Brown, Chaykin, Amendola and others all following Adams' style, it was a nice shock to see Toth's version. - Jeff Clem

    ReplyDelete
  5. If you look at Toth's annotations for this story at www.tothfans.com, you'll see in his own handwriting that the fans didn't like it and therefore he was not subsequently asked to draw another Batman story. That BATMAN B&W cover was terribly weak---a sad denouement to a career with many great moments, but by that point he was just doodling, and never really invested himself in his art again.

    Chris A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have to disagree. That Batman b/w cover shows a mastery of draftsmanship. Toth was such a visual genius he created something beautiful as well as simple and precise with that cover. If anything I would say as he grew older his style only grew and he realized what was truly needed in a page and what wasn't. Also, his lack of involvement in comics may have been more due to his disgust with the comics industry. Overall I feel he was a master to the end.

      Delete

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!