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 1941s strips feature a single ten-month epic entitled Fights for the Singing Sword, a globetrotting adventure fueled by Valiants 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 Britains 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.
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"This period, with its far-flung story lines and lavishly detailed artwork, is arguably the acme of Fosters four decades chronicling the bold exploits of his medieval hero. While the oversize pages dont approach the expanse of the bygone broadsheet newspapers that were Valiants original home, this is the best showcase Fosters 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
Praise for the series:
A witch named Horrit once prophesied that Val would never know contentment, but fans of the strip will find it here. Vanity Fair
Sure Id read Foster before, but Id 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 ina wide-eyed early 20th century approach to fantasy with a now-vanished sincerity and wholesomeness. Its an all too rare pleasure in comics. Dan Nadel, Comics Comics
Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Fosters Sunday-only comic strip. This edition has been reproduced from pristine printers 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 (Starred Review)
"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]ts 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