A Valiant last stand…

Last Sunday, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran an article about Hal Foster and Prince Valiant, and the current state of the long-running newspaper strip.

Prince Valiant may be a mere newspaper comic-strip character, but in his heyday, he commanded such popularity that the (fictional) birth of his first son, Arn, on Aug. 30, 1947, made the (real) birth-announcement columns in hundreds of papers across the country.

Prince Valiant, a Sunday strip launched in 1937 by the great Canadian-born illustrator Hal Foster (1892-1982), continues to have a fiercely loyal – if aging – following after nearly three-quarters of a century. But its future is less than certain given the economic woes and changing readership of newspapers.

The release Tuesday of Prince Valiant, Vol. 1: 1937-1938, the first in a new series of gorgeously printed, hardcover Valiant collections from Fantagraphics Books (www.fantagraphics.com), served as a bittersweet reminder of the century-long rise and eventual decline of a great American art form, the comic strip.

Hal Foster publicity photo

Special note: This marks the 400th post here at the Joe Shuster Awards since the shift to the newsblog format back in late December 2008!