It may seem strange listing “Prince Valiant” among Canadian creations, but Hal Foster was born in Canada and spent all his developing years here. He only moved to the U.S. when he was a mature artist.
Prince Valiant created by Harold Foster for King Features Syndicate first appeared on February 13, 1937. As early as 1934, Foster had proposed the idea to United Feature Syndicate which had turned him down.
Carefully plotted and laid out far ahead of time, this story was an organic whole reflecting the vicissitudes and joys of a hero’s life as well as the legendary times and society around him – which is the strip’s greatest narrative achievement. The action however moves slowly, due partly to Foster’s rather weighty text, partly to the static composition of his pictures (a fault most apparent in the last two decades.
The son of the exiled king of Thule, Valiant attaches himself as squire to Sir Gawain before becoming a full fledged knight of King Arthur’s Round Table. Brave and sometimes reckless he will fight for the glory of the king and for his own renown against the Saxons and the Huns who have come to invade Britain. He will roam the globe, all across Europe and to the Holy Land, as far away as the jungles of Africa and the forests of the new world in search of glory or the pursuit of Princess Aleta, queen of the Misty Isles” whom he will finally marry in 1946 and who will give him four children. Having thus become a pater familias Valiant will gradually fade out of the strip which becomes the playground of his elder son Arn.
Prince Valiant is clearly in the tradition of the novels of chivalry. This is the Europe of legend and folklore of which Foster’s achievement as an interpreter and chronicler of medievel lore is formidable. Prince Valiant is awesome as a work of illustration and fiction, but lacks rhythm and pacing and thus fails to be a trailblazer of the same magnitude as Foster’s earlier Tarzan.
In 1971 Foster relinquished the drawing of the strip to John Cullen Murphy – which only accelerated the feature’s steady decline of the last decades.
A series of seven novels faithful adapted from Prince Valiant and illustrated with a profusion of drawings from the strip have been published by Hasting House, and there were also a number of Prince Valiant comic books. In 1953 movie director Henry Hathaway adapted Prince Valiant to the screen with Robert Wagner in the title role and Janet Leigh as Aleta.
BOOK GRAPHIC COLLECTION:
Content scrapbook & Cover front.:
Prince Valiant Scrapbook. Car., Hal Foster. Bill Crouch Junior, 1981. Facsimile Manuscript Limited to 1500 copies.
Content serial & Cover book front:
|Prince Valiant, Car., Hal Foster. Fantagraphic Books,|
|v. 01: The Prophecy. Fall 1987.
v. 02, The Singing Sword. Summer 1988.
v. 03, Knights of the Round Table. Fall 1988.
v. 04, The Menace of The Hun. November 1988.
v. 05, The Sea King. Spring 1989.
v. 06, Journey To Africa. Spring 1989.
v. 07, The Roman Wall. August 1989.
v. 08, Price Of Thule. January 1990.
v. 09, Journey To The Misty Isles. June 1990
v. 10 Aleta. September 1990.
v. 11, Intrigues At Camelot. December 1990.
v. 12, The New World. Summer 1991.
v. 13, The Sun Goddess. Summer 1991.
v. 14, Sword & Sorcery. September 1991.
v. 15, Young Geoffrey. December 1991.
v. 16, Love & War. Spring 1992.
v. 17, Return From Rome, Winter 1992.
v. 18, The Stolen River, Spring 1993.
v. 19, Duel In Ireland. Summer 1993.
v. 20, The Pilgrimage. Fall 1993.
|v. 21, Prisoner Of The Khan. Winter 1993/1994.
v. 22, Homeward Bound. Winter 1993/1994.
v. 23, Kings Of Cornwall. Winter 1995.
v. 24, The Red Stallion, Spring 1995.
v.25, The Curse, Summer 1995.
v. 26, Lithway’s Law. Summer 1984.
v. 27, Eternal Quest. Winter 1985.
v. 28, Savage Girl. Fall 1985.
v. 29, Monastery Of Demons. Spring 1986.
v. 30, Arn Son Of Valiant. Spring 1987.
v. 31, A Joust For Aleta. Summer 1987.
v. 33, Tillicum’s Counsel. Spring 1998.
v. 34, Mordred’s Revenge. Summer 1998.
v. 35, Doppleganger. Fall 1998.
v. 36, The Dead Warrior’s Sword. Spring 1999.
v. 37, Adventure’s Of Sir Gawain. Summer 1999.
v. 38, Prince Arn’s Exploit. Fall 1999.
v. 39, Knight’s Blood. Spring 2000.
Content serial & Cover dust jacket front:
Prince Valiant In The Days Of King Arthur. Car., Hal Foster. Nostalgia Press Inc. 1974.
Prince Valiant Companions In Adventure. Car., Hal Foster. Nostalgia Press Inc. 1974.
The World Encyclopedia of Comics, Ed., Maurice Horn. Chelsea House Publishers, 1976: “Prince Valiant (U.S.)”, Writ., Maurice Horn. 565.
From Prince Valiant v. 4: The Menace Of The Hun, Nov. 1988: Front cover.
From Prince Valiant: Companions in Adventure, 1974: Front Cover.