Hal Foster's masterpiece of adventure enters its second decade as Valiant and Aleta journey to "The New World," a 16-month epic that allows Foster to draw some of his spectacular native Canadian backgrounds, and during which Aleta gives birth to Arn and acquires her Indian nurse, Tillicum. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with the action-packed five-month sequence "The Mad King," during which Val, back at Camelot, confronts the evil, fat little King Tourien of Cornwall.
This volume is rounded off with an essay by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane (The Prince Valiant Companion) discussing Foster's depiction of "Indians" as it relates to other interpretations of the times, accompanied by various graphic goodies including our most spectacular bonus feature yet — a double-sized fold-out page reproducing a strip hand-colored by Foster — plus a previously unpublished camping cartoon by Foster from circa 1915, some of Foster's Mountie paintings, Foster's own map of Val's voyage to/from the New World, and more rare photos and art.
As always, this volume is shot directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, their glorious colors restored to create an unprecedentedly sumptuous reading experience.
Let's face it, if you're reading our new hardcover collections of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, you know that every volume is a must-have, but our latest, Vol. 6, is a particular can't-miss. In it, Val and his new bride Aleta travel the New World (beating Columbus, and even Leif Ericson, by centuries) from Newfoundland to Niagara Falls and are joined by a bouncing baby Prince — that's right, it's the birth of Arn! This volume also features some of our most spectacular bonus features ever, including a double-sized fold-out of a strip hand-colored by Foster. You can get it in January (and we'll have more extensive previews by then); pre-order is open now and you can read a 12-strip excerpt, all right here.
The cleanest picnic blanket of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Heroes Online covers the twenty years of Peanuts covered so far in our Fantagraphics reprints. Andy Mansell states, "I strongly recommend the following volumes:1963-1964, 1965-1966. [and 1981-1982]. The highest point of the highest level of any cartoonist output in the last 60 odd years. Every strip is brimming with creativity, laughter, pathos and painful emotional truth."
• Review: On the High-Low, Rob Clough writes a tribute to Jaime Hernandez's collected editions; Maggie the Mechanic, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S., Perla La Loca. "Ultimately, there's an idealistic streak in Jaime's comics that burns through the hipster cynicism that permeates characters like Hopey and many of her friends. . . The best news about this volume is that it's only the beginning of Jaime's mature style, and he's only continued to get better."
• Review:Grovel gives the what's what on God and Science by Jaime Hernandez."While keeping the women attractive, Hernandez manages to keep them grounded too – these aren’t male fantasies but real, appropriately-proportioned women. . .and Hernandez’s superhero world is dripping with background and authenticity."
• Review:The Comic Attack sank its teeth into Prince Valiant Vol. 5 1945-1946 by Hal Foster. Drew said, "For the strip itself, Foster develops Prince Valiant into more of a mature man who we grow along with as he learns about love, women, and more than just going on adventures. . .Foster’s artwork is every definition of fantastic, still unmatched in its splendor."
• Plug:Spacehawk by Basil Wolverton mentioned on Comics Should Be Good by Comic Book Resources. Greg Burgas says, "Fantagraphics continues to do a nice job reprinting olde-tyme comix. . .very cool!" You can pre-order a copy today!
• Review: The Comic Forge covers a sold-out book Alphabetical Ballad of Carnality by David Sandlin that receives 10 shivers and shakes out of 10. Sharayah Read says, "I have never encountered a book this original, thought provoking and eye-opening. It presents a beautifully tormented tale in an entertaining and gritty fashion that will have any fan of obscure culture and works hanging onto every last syllable."
• Interview (audio):Mome veteran Gabrielle Bell talks to Wrestling Team podcast about life, comics and making it all work together.
Prince Valiant expert Brian M. Kane shares this graphic he created to commemorate the debut of Val and Aleta's son Arn in the strip 65 years ago today. The blessed event just happens to take place in Prince Valiant Vol. 6: 1947-1948, which just happens to be the next volume in the series and just happens to be in the works for a scheduled December release and just happens to now be available for pre-order here on our website. Imagine that!
My very first Comic-Con International at San Diego was rather fan-freakin'-tastic. It is easier than people make it out to be but I imagine that if it started on TUESDAY night instead of Wednesday, we all would have died. This pictures are my con pictures so if that are mostly different than our previous CCI photo diaries. The caveat train is pulling away from the station!
Wednesday: I showed up the morning times with PR Director Jacq Cohen and our co-workers, Mike Baehr and Janice Headley had the table set UP! Aside from our many new releases we were thrilled to have new Love and Rockets shirts available. Here is the Fanta-crew dressed in all but that one with all those dirty words on it. Soak it in, that's the one time you'll ever see Gary Groth with his shirt untucked.
Oni Press and SCAD teacher Chris Schweizer immediately came over to look at his favorite cartoonist, Jason. Everyone will be sportin' a Schweizer nose-tupee next year, just you watch.
Then we caught Eddie Campbell reading our Prince Valiant while at the Top Shelf booth but once again, who could blame him?!
Speaking of Top Shelf, we spent most of the week occasionally locking gazes these lovely gents. Director of Digital, Chris Ross, and cartoonist of Cleveland, Joseph Remnant.
That night, Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon, CBR's Kiel Phegley, International Freelancer Douglas Wolk and Fantagraphics' Jacq Cohen and I posed for a bunch of photos and examined gorgeous work at the CBLDF fundraiser.
. . . Until the BOSS showed up. Then we took Gary Groth and heir-to-the-throne Conrad to the Tri!ckster spot on J avenue to browse their books (our own event to happen on Friday night)
Friday: Two of the funniest men in comics, Steven Weissman and Johnny Ryan (creators of Chocolate Cheeks and Prison Pit respectively) chat up Jacq and Janice.
Gary Panter's Dal Tokyo finally came out for this show. Jon Chad's Leo Geo from Roaring Brook is a similar trim shape. They are perfect for the collector of art objects with really, really deep bookshelves. Trim de jour!
This photo COMPLETELY encapsulates the family aspect of not only Fantagraphics but most comic companies. Gary Groth watches, eats and even signs some of Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak books.
The Hernandez Brothers continued to work hard interviewed by MTV (below), Entertainment Weekly, MultiShow Brazil and many other news outlets.
For the Tr!ckster event parties, we co-sponsored a queer-themed drink and draw party to coincide with our new queer comics anthology called No Straight Lines. Check out this big sexy bear!
Drag Queens Dolly Disco and Grace Towers posed in the best Michael Jackson-Circus of the Damned leotards and put all us ladies to shame.
Jacq and I ran as fast as our heels could take us to the Eisners, saw Mickey Mouse Vol. 1 and 2 be awarded for Best Archival Collection/Print in comic strips! Eddie Campbell and Andrew Aydin tried to steal me away but no siren song is as sweet as Fantagraphics.
Saturday: No worse for the wear, Jacq Cohen and I adhered to my STRICT 5-2-1 rule. 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day and 1 shower to maintain humanity at cons. Jacq added 2 sets of clothes and I admit, it pays off. (And you like that OLD SCHOOL equipment? I'm trying to refit the credit card slider into a denim fanny pack . . . maybe for SPX)
Meanwhile, Drawn and Quarterly upped their dress game with full-on bow ties for Tom Devlin from Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe. We were a bit jealous.
The Hernandez Brothers continued their BREAKNECK pace of signing books and getting visits from artists like Joe Keatinge, Matt Fraction and Bongo Comics' editor Chris Duffy!
While it may seem like you have seen a hundred Hopeys at comic cons (or dated a hundred Hopeys -- Jacq Cohen), this is the first cosplay the Hernandez Brothers have seen in thirty years of comics. Thank you, Dawn, for your Boot Angel get-up!
Jaime Hernandez and cartoonist Ed Piskor talked shop.
Almost had a heart attack when we saw this. I'm not ruining anyone's day by saying over 50% of our books are not for kids so it is sometimes surprising to see them pouring over Peanuts or Uncle Scrooge Comics (especially when The Furry Trap is TEN feet away)
BOOM! designer and fellow Center for Cartoon Studies alum, Carol Thomspon, laid her hands on our sweet trans-manga Wandering Son and couldn't let go.
So that's the whole she-bang! Thank you to the CCI organizers and all the people who helped out, bought comics, asked questions and brought me coffee. See you next year!
Recently Fantagraphics stopped by Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Columbus. This structural testament to housing and preserving original cartoon strips makes it a one-of-a-kind-place. Curator Jenny Robb said hello but my after-hours and behind the scene tour guide was librarian Caitlin McGurk!
Students of OSU and traveling scholars (like me!) can request to see original art and read books in the main reference room. The room itself is lined with popular comics reference material, less Marvel's Anatomy and more History of Chinese Comics that was written by a scholar rather than a draw-er.
Caitlin pulled everything I asked for from the collection and more! Fantagraphics utilizes the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library when creating our classic reprint lines. They even have an amazingly sophisticated camera for large scans---we're talking longer and wider than a human.
The stacks were automated, slowly sliding over on tracks after a crank is turned AND button pressed. To avoid trouble, the stacks are lined on the bottom with emergency-stop bars. It's pretty damn cool. The Library houses the larges manga collection in the United States, possibly the world.
The flat files have dim lighting, plastic sleeves around the strips and dust covers to fit over the artwork to prevent sliding or damage. GLOVES are a must.
Prince Valiant by Hal Foster lay inside one of the drawers, well many strips lay in there just begging to be looked at.
Dan DeCarlo's Betty & Veronica cover was not only environmentally topical but sassy like most of his artwork.
Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. People seem to love her or hate her but Ernie Bushmiller's mathematically complex and erudite leading lady is a joy to see. Caitlin pulled one of the wackiest strips she could find for me dating back to November 16th, 1947.
How many can YOU blow?
Last but not least, was an original Nell Brinkley in a gold frame. Having won over the hearts of many a Gibson girl Brinkley's sparkling ladies went from pining lovers to adventurous maidens.
The collection also boasted some amazing newspaper inserts called The Book of Magic, originally printed with broadsheet newspaper The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The Book of Magic was full of comics, stories and ads geared towards children.
A big, warm hug to Caitlin McGurk for the after hours tour and the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum for existing! You should make a stop there on your next visit to Ohio or on a road trip. Look out because in 2013 they are moving to a primo new building complete with comics festivities!
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about it (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
112-page full-color 10.5" x 14.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-484-9
"Prince Valiant, Vol. 5 is out with more swashbuckling shenanigans (I reviewed it in last Sunday’s What Are You Reading)." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"If I could splurge, I’d get Prince Valiant, Vol. 5: 1945-1946 (Fantagraphics, $29.99). ...[T]his is arguably the comic that defined [the sword-fighting epic] genre. The last volume ended right in the middle of Val’s epic wooing of Aleta, and I’m glad to see I’ll find out the full story – and more – in this new collection." – Chris Arrant, Robot 6
"Essays by P. Craig Russell and Brian M. Kane accompany the title character’s marriage in Prince Valiant Vol. 5: 1945-1946, by Mr. Hal Foster; $29.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The series is pretty much conceptually complete at this point, so all you have to do now is sit back and enjoy the pretty art and the deliberate storytelling. These are significant pleasures, both the staring and the reading. We knew about the staring." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
• Review: At Boing Boing, as part of their "Mind Blowing Movies" series of guest posts, Amy Crehore examines the Ghost World film: "I knew it was going to be good, but I had no idea that the movie Ghost World (2001) would bathe me in such an uncanny sense of deja vu from start to finish. The characters are so real and familiar that they could have been based on my friends and me."
• Commentary:Ashok Karra has a short but thought-provoking analysis of elements of the Ghost World graphic novel: "A ghost world could be three things. Two of them are types of haunting: either by the past (nostalgia for childhood) or the present (the glow of the television). The third possibility is that you pass through as a ghost."
• Plug: At Flavorwire, Emily Temple includes Ghost World on the list of "30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Turning 30," saying "Clowes writes some of the most essentially realistic teenagers we’ve ever come across, which is important when you are (or have ever been) a realistic teenager yourself."
• Plug/Preview: At The Beat, Jessica Lee posts a 5-page sneak peek of New York Mon Amour by Jacques Tardi et al., saying "This newest Tardi release... is slated for a July release, just in time for Independence Day, where we can all revel in the patriotic depictions of New York that Tardi has provided — oh wait. True to his new realism style, 'Manhattan' retains the same kind of gritty aesthetic as his illustrations of WWI trench warfare as well as Parisian life."
• Review: "The 11 horror stories in [The Furry Trap] showcase Simmons’s possession of a dark and capable imagination, one that has discomfort down to an exact science.... Simmons is at his best in stories like 'Mutant' and 'Demonwood,' where rash decisions and chance encounters lead to nightmarish consequences ... Simmons’s brand of deep unease permeates all of [these stories], even in the opening story, 'In a Land of Magic,' which features a scene of sexual and physical violence that could lead to sleepless nights. The book is also filled with illustrations and short comics that just add to the pile of evidence that Simmons has a wide-ranging talent, with an artistic sense that brings to life his most ghoulish creations. These stories are, hopefully, harbingers of even stronger and more sinister work in the future..." – Publishers Weekly
• Review: "The action [in God and Science] ebbs and flows, but the story remains engaging and exciting. I had to read it all in one afternoon because I just couldn't put it down. I was enjoying it too much to stop reading.... [There]'s another great thing about this comic — there's some subtle philosophical questions nudged in that the characters (and reader) have to answer themselves.... I can't recommend this title enough. I can easily say that I want more Ti-Girls, or at least comic characters like them." – Sheena McNeil, Sequential Tart
• Review: "Prince Valiant Vol. 5 — As the war years draw to a close, the strip finds Valiant settling down — at least a little bit — by finally winning his true heart’s love, Aleta. There’s still enough brigands and evildoers to keep Val busy, but a lot of Vol. 5 is spent with the couple developing their relationship, and Harold Foster deepening and developing Aleta’s character in the process. ...[I]t remains a thrilling, boisterous work." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "Dungeon Quest Book Three — Joe Daly’s faithful D&D fantasy by way of Harold and Kumar proceeds apace, with lots of bloody skirmishes with fierce animals and fiercer bandits and an abundance of jokes about penises, pot, hand-jobs and the like.... His incredibly detailed forest backgrounds are really quite exquisite, and the full panel sequences of his band of adventurers simply trekking along a forest path or walking through a stream were my favorite parts of the book." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Commentary: It's been interesting seeing the evolution of the "hey, they should bring Love and Rockets to the screen" article in the age of the serialized cable drama. Arthur Smith at The Paley Center for Media is the latest to add his voice to the chorus
• Plug: "Got this beautiful Popeye compilation book (Fantagraphics) a couple of days ago. Haven't had a chance to even crack it open, but my son is now running around going 'Arf, arf.' It's a hit." – Ruben Bolling
• Tribute: At The New York Times, Tim Kreider remembers the great Ray Bradbury: "Prescience is not the measure of a science-fiction author’s success — we don’t value the work of H. G. Wells because he foresaw the atomic bomb or Arthur C. Clarke for inventing the communications satellite — but it is worth pausing, on the occasion of Ray Bradbury’s death, to notice how uncannily accurate was his vision of the numb, cruel future we now inhabit."
• Review: "The sad, forgotten beauty of the in-between moments of daily life: playing a board game at a kitchen table just cleared from a family dinner; listening to music having just slipped off your shoes; daydreaming while doing the dishes. What would it be like if a series of graphic novellas tried to capture these moments? What if it also featured an omnipresent, invisible rabbit that could change sizes and a dark, cloud-shaped creature ('the Big Blind') living in the basement of an apartment building that fed on the memories, dreams, and nightmares of its inhabitants? It would probably be something like the Italian comic-book creator Gabriella Giandelli’s... Interiorae." – Nicholas Rombes, Oxford American
• Preview: At The Beat, Jessica Lee presents a 5 page sneak peek of the new book by Josh Simmons, saying "Toying with the vulnerability of characters that seem timelessly recognizable, i.e. fairies in a fantastical land or a batman-esque figure scaling a wall, The Furry Trap is a graphic novel that is set to shock and appall its reader, yet Simmons is able to retain an even stronger range of visual style that makes this graphic novel’s scope extend further than being just a horrific tale."
• Plug: "...[T]he new volume of Prince Valiant, volume 5, is here and an event all its own. Fantagraphics' new hardcover printings of these wonderful Hal Foster Sunday pages offers the finest reproduction yet, far superior to their old softcover series. While I own the original Sunday pages, collected years ago, I could not resist sitting down with these new volumes and getting re-hooked on the stories AND art by one of the very true masters of comic art." – Bud Plant
• Plug: "Out of the Shadows deserves your attention. Meskin is one of my favorite artists from the 1940s and 1950s.... Mort's work here are some of the hidden gems of the Golden Age.... This book comes a long way to reveal this incredible talent who rose above the mass of Golden Age artists." – Bud Plant
Fully half of this latest volume of Hal Foster’s epic masterpiece — again scanned from superb syndicate proofs — is devoted to the remaining chapters of “The Winning of Aleta,” a 20-month (!) epic in which Valiant obsessively pursues his bride to be. Not surprisingly this is followed by a sequence called “Matrimony,” which ends with a newly wed queen adjusting to the luxurious, exciting court life at Camelot.
But Val’s marriage does not signal an end to his adventures, quite the contrary. In “War in the Forest” Val is sent out to spy on encroaching Saxons — unknowingly aided by Aleta, who, disguised as a small knight (and dubbed “Sir Puny”) helps prevent disaster. But the 1946 strips end with Val and Aleta unable to return to Camelot and the displaced couple journeying to Thule…
Half the strips in this volume also include the delightful “The Medieval Castle,” Foster’s chronicle of two young boys growing up during the time of the First Crusade — but by the end of the 1945 strips this series has ended and the Valiant portion resume its full-page glory.
This volume also features a Foreword by P. Craig Russell, a gallery of Hal Foster's commercial illustration work and an essay titled "Aleta: Water Nymph of the Misty Isles" by Brian M. Kane.
With stunning art reproduced directly from pristine printer’s proofs, Fantagraphics has introduced a new generation to Foster’s masterpiece, while providing long-time fans with the ultimate, definitive version of the strip.