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Our continuing reprinting of Hal Foster's sumptuous epic — still scanned directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, providing the most spectacular iteration of this material since its original publication in Sunday newspaper supplements 60 years ago — enters the 1950s with this new volume.
The entire first third consists of the second half of the 15-month-long (!) Roman epic "The Missionaries," which includes a dramatic, life-changing experience for Prince Geoffrey (aka "Arf") at its climax. After a brief stay back in Camelot (where the irrepressible Val and his friend Gawain indulge in some not-very-knightly pranks that end up costing them dearly), the two, accompanied by Arf, are summoned back to Thule, where Aleta presents Val with new twin daughters!
Foster also reintroduces such favorite characters as the piratical Boltar and the Indian princess Tillicum (now an unlikely romantic couple), and the year concludes with the beginning of "Valhalla" (another installment in the ongoing
story of the problematic Christianization of the Vikings) — which includes one of Foster's most dramatic and gorgeous splash panels (used here on the cover).
And as a back-up, Prince Valiant Volume 8 includes an article by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane on Foster's near-forgotten "Mounties" ad campaign paintings from the 1930s, along with a number of gorgeous reproductions.
Read editor Kim Thompson's Afterword from Vol. 1, detailing the production and restoration of these new editions, right here on our website.
13-page excerpt (download 6.2 MB PDF):
Praise for the series:
"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