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The Comic Speculator

by Matt Baum (02/25/08).
Alex Toth Zorro art
Alex Toth Zorro art
Zorro Four Color #228

This week in the Comic Speculator I’m taking a look at the legendary work of Alex Toth in the classic Zorro Dell Four Color comics. For more on Zorro’s latest comic series check out my other blog, This Week in Geek, where I discuss new comics that are destined to be tomorrow collectible back issues.

This past week Zorro made his triumphant return to comics in his latest adventure from Dynamite Comics reviving a beloved classic hero whose origins can be traced back to the pulp novels of the early 1900’s. Created by pulp writer Johnston McCaulley in 1919, the character of Zorro would become one of the most iconic swashbucklers in modern fiction and would inspire the creation of other many other masked avengers including The Lone Ranger, Batman, Green Arrow and the Phantom.

Zorro’s first appearance in comics wasn’t until 1949 in the pages of Dell Four Color #228 and guides for $375.00, shockingly low when compared to other books of the same time period. These old Dell Four Color series are next to impossible to find in very-good to near-mint conditions which makes their relatively low value shocking; most Zorro Dell books are valued at under $250.00 in excellent condition. It was the art of comics legend Alex Toth who would pencil the most famous Zorro images that make these classic books great and in my opinion, highly undervalued. Toth’s skill lied in his ink brush and his ability to bring life depth and motion with to stories that were boring at best. His use of grey-scale and black work rival that of most of the working comic artists today who rely on computer inking and coloring techniques. See above for examples of Alex Thoth’s work on Zorro.

For those of you who can’t drop upwards of $200.00 on a comic book, you’ll be happy to know that you can find most of these old Zorro books in poor condition (reader copies) at any comic shop with a decent back stock for under $10.00. Most of the old Dell Toth Zorro stories were reprinted in the pages of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories which are also hard to find in good shape and are valued considerably lower but seem to be readily available in poor condition. You can also find the collected Alex Toth Zorro stories reprinted in trade paperback in The Complete Classic Adventures of Zorro from Image Comics, 2001.

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