With this volume, Foster reaches 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 10-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.
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“One of the greatest comic strips of all time and a peak in visual splendor and breath-taking adventure, the story of Prince Valiant’s 30+ year odyssey is getting a marvelous presentation in Fantagraphics’ series of books.” — Huffington Post
“Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Foster’s Sunday-only comic strip. Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new edition does ample justice to its achievement.” — Publishers Weekly
“This is the best showcase Foster’s epic creation has had since its original appearance more than 70 years ago.” —Booklist
“A witch named Horrit once prophesied that Val would never know contentment, but fans of the strip will find it here.” — Vanity Fair
“Foster’s meticulously detailed, painstakingly researched, vividly realistic, and often breathtaking illustration made him one of the most revered artists in the comic field.” — Library Journal