Saturday, June 22, 2013
Toka On This!
Now that's a vivid collection of covers. Toka Jungle King was the last of Dell's "jungle" push, which began with Tarzan of course and soon included Turok Son of Stone and later Kona Monarch of Monster Island. At about this time Dell and Western split with the latter making off with Tarzan and Turok, leaving Dell with Kona. They added Naza Stone Age Warrior. Toka was the last to be added and featured work by Frank Springer. The first two covers are painted by Jack Faragasso, but Springer is responsible for the all the exciting images for the remaining issues. Toka was an Aztec warrior torn four hundred years after his time and apparently confronted a host of very different menaces. This would make for a very entertaining collection indeed.
Above is some original artwork by Springer. While he wasn't everyone's cup of tea, Frank Springer was an artist who managed to have his hand in some really innovative things over his long career. Aside from standard comics work like Toka, he replaced Jim Steranko on SHIELD, worked on a bunch of wonderful satires for National Lampoon, and was even part of one of the early independent comics, The Adventures of Phoebe Zeit-Geist. Springer was a member of the famous Berndt-Toast Gang.