Prince Valiant by Hal Foster

Finally over

Fantagraphics publishing project of printing all of Foster's Prince Valiant in 40 volumes, that is. It's taken more than 15 years, during which the price for each volume has more than doubled, but surprisingly, they managed to do it.

So, what's it all about? The story is a strange mixture of domestic comedy à la Blondie and adventures which are sometimes chivalrous, sometimes gruesome. During the years, the stories drifted away from the realistic and became more wholesome, but until his last page, Foster managed to make something unique. Granted, the sense of adventure disappeared, but the charm remained.

The other part of Prince Valiant is the more apparent one: The illustrations. No other comic strip has ever looked like it. It would be wrong to call it a classic strip, since it is too different, without really influencing any other strips. The illos are more like something out of an illustrated book, what with the text at the bottom of the pictures and so on, done in a classic, clean style.

I've loved Prince Valiant ever since I first read it as a seven-year old. Then I mostly liked the serious tone of Foster's first years, but as I grew up I began to appreciate the domestic parts more and more. Since the Swedish publications started with Foster's first years, as the albums turned less serious, so did my taste. A perfect match, in other words. I'm pretty sure not everyone will enjoy this, but if you think exquisite drawings populated by knights, vikings, romans etc. involved in adventure & amour (which there is a lot of), you'll love it. I know I do.


  • Prince Valiant is still being published, drawn by John Cullen Murphy (but Foster, he ain't)
  • If you only like the serious parts, try finding Marvel three-issue mini-serious. Totally without humour, but still quite good
  • There is at least one movie based on it (horrible, I've heard), and an animated series (horrible, I've seen it myself)

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