2012 Eisner Award Nominee: Best Archival Collection/Project – Strips
With this volume, Foster reaches (by common critical consensus) the peak of his drawing and storytelling prowess – a peak at which he will remain for most of the run of this glorious strip.
Almost the entirety of 1941’s strips feature a single ten-month epic entitled “Fights for the Singing Sword,” a globetrotting adventure fueled by Valiant’s obsessive search for his bride-to-be Aleta throughout Northern Africa, with stops in Jerusalem, the Arabic deserts, and, inevitably, a harem which Val must infiltrate. Then finally, in “The Misty Isles” Valiant meets Aleta face to face but upon learning that she has had his crew killed (deservedly so, actually, but still), he flees in anger, vowing never to see her again.
“Homeward Bound,” Valiant continues his travels, with stops in Athens (where he meets the boisterous Viking Boltar, who will become his friend for life), North Africa, and Gaul (where Valiant liberates Gawain), before finally returning to Camelot. But his joyous return is short-lived as an alliance of Picts and Vikings threatens Britain’s security, and thus Valiant must journey forth with, as his ultimate destination, “The Roman Wall.”
The final pages of this volume boast a special feature: a gallery of images that were censored for being too sexy or violent (or subject to other editorial interference) prior to publication, plus another gruesome example of Foster's art being altered for publication, all with commentary by series editor Kim Thompson.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt which includes Dan Nadel's Foreword and 10 strips (9.5 MB). Also, read editor Kim Thompson's Afterword from Vol. 1, detailing the production and restoration of these new editions, right here on our website.
"This period, with its far-flung story lines and lavishly detailed
artwork, is arguably the acme of Foster’s four decades chronicling the bold exploits of his medieval hero.
While the oversize pages don’t approach the expanse of the bygone broadsheet newspapers that were
Valiant’s original home, this is the best showcase Foster’s epic creation has had since its original
appearance more than 70 years ago."
— Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"Anyone with a love for fantasy art
can only marvel at [Foster's] ability to
capture both the gritty down-to-earth feeling of the times as well as
those sweeping moments that
kindle our sense of wonder.... These books
are wonderful — rich and comprehensive..." – Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction
“A witch named Horrit once prophesied that Val would never know contentment, but fans of the strip will find it here.” – Vanity Fair
“Sure I’d read Foster before, but I’d never found a way in. Fortunately,
Fantagraphics recently released Prince Valiant Vol. 1: 1937-38, and I was
able to absorb the material in a wholly new way.... Prince Valiant opens
up a world that I wanted to stay in—a wide-eyed early 20th century
approach to fantasy with a now-vanished sincerity and wholesomeness.
It’s an all too rare pleasure in comics.” – Dan Nadel, Comics Comics
“Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in
Foster’s Sunday-only comic strip. This edition has been reproduced from
pristine printer’s proofs to give the gorgeous artwork its crispest version
ever.... Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new
edition does ample justice to its achievement.” – Publishers Weekly
"For the current Prince Valiant enterprise... Fantagraphics found better source material... [and] the present effort is wonderfully faithful to the originals: not only is the color itself much much better, but the linear detail is stunning. ...[I]t’s the fabulously high quality of the reproduction that makes these volumes a bargain at $29.99 each..." – R.C. Harvey
"Fantagraphics' Prince Valiant reprints are handsome packages, indeed. Presented in a generous 10x14-inch format and starting at the beginning of the series, Hal Foster's art virtually leaps off the page, alive with detail and vigor. With a price point of under $30 per volume, how can you go wrong?"
– John Petty, Comics Buyer's Guide
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The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion [Softcover Ed.]
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