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PRINCE VAL IS 80

By Brian M. Kane

Hal Foster photoBefore television, when most films were still black and white, the Sunday comics were an oasis of color in a Depression-era gray world. Highly popular comic strips drove newspaper sales in the early 20th century, so it is little wonder that their creators were regarded as celebrities. The epic Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur by Harold Rudolf “Hal” Foster premiered in the color comics section on February 13, 1937.

Prior to Prince Valiant, Foster originated the adult-protagonist adventure strip genre by adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan as a black and white daily strip in 1928, which was followed by the Tarzan color Sunday feature from 1931-1937.

Yeates photoFaced with imposing financial and creative constraints as a work-for-hire artist, Foster focused his considerable skills as an illustrator toward producing his own strip. The extraordinary effort resulted in international prominence for both Prince Valiant and Foster. Today, after 80 years, “Val” remains one of the few adventure strip characters still in print, now being expertly drawn by Tom Yeates.

Fitnoot: For all of Kane’s commemorative article, plus brilliantly colored illustrations from the strip, visit kingfeatures.com/2017/02/prince-valiant-turns-80/

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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