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The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion Hardcover – December 31, 2009


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The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion + Prince Valiant Volume 6: 1947-1948 (Vol. 6)  (Prince Valiant) + Prince Valiant Volume 5: 1945-1946 (Vol. 5)  (Prince Valiant)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (December 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606993062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606993064
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,275,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Brian Kane, author of the Companion and surely the world’s foremost authority on the strip and its creator, Hal Foster, has once again done a herculean amount of work, and Fantagraphics has once again clothed that work in a sturdy, pretty volume. Prince Valiant hasn’t been treated this well since the ersatz King of England sang his praises.... Fantagraphics will continue to bring out deluxe volumes of Prince Valiant reprints. I imagine this new Definitive Companion will be open alongside them for years to come.” (Khalid Ponte - Open Letters)

“In a year without a lot of good comics history books, this old-fashioned take on the Prince Valiant strip stands out more than usual.” (Tom Spurgeon - The Comics Reporter)

“Prince Valiant fans will find Fantagraphics' The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion, filled with essays, appreciations and tons of great Hal Foster art, sheer indispensable pleasure.” (Steven Grant - Comic Book Resources)

The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion is the indispensable guide to the strip and a must have for its legions of fans new and old. ... No matter how long you’ve been a Prince Valiant fan…one year or seventy years, you’re certain to find this book informative and entertaining. Fantagraphics has produced another spectacular book! Grade: A.” (Tim Janson - The Gouverneur Times)

“Elegantly presented, perceptively written, what emerges from Kane’s book is as intimate a portrait as we are likely to get of this humble, humorous and hard-working man, who transformed one page every week of the comic section into stirring American illustration and adventure fiction for millions of readers, whether Kings or commoners.” (Paul Gravett, author of Graphic Novels and Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics)

About the Author

Brian M. Kane is the author of Hal Foster: Prince of Illustrators and James Bama: American Realist. He teaches in the Illustration Department at the Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, Ohio. He has a Masters Degree in History of Art from The Ohio State University where he is currently working on his Ph.D. in Art Education with an emphasis in Visual Culture.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Robert F. Carlin II on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion (DPVC) is an essential volume for the Hal Foster or Prince Valiant fan, comic strip collector, pop culture historian, or anyone who just loves great stories and art.

Prince Valiant, published continuously since 1937 as a Sunday comic strip, has long been considered one of the definitive adventure-based newspaper comic strips (rivaled, possibly, only by Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon). It's founder (writer and artist) Hal Foster, ranks with Raymond, Herriman, McCay, Segar, and a handful of other creators, as the all-time giants of the art form. Foster hand-picked his successor, John Cullen Murphy, who continued the tradition after Foster's retirement (and is probably the most under-rated and under-appreciated comic strip artists in the history of the medium). Think about this...for nearly 60 years, Prince Valiant was drawn by these two artists (with only a handful of try-out pages by Gray Morrow and Wally Wood included in the run). Recently, Mark Schultz (writer) and Gary Gianni (artist) have assumed the mantle of continuing the Valiant tradition.

Brian Kane, "THE" expert on all things Hal Foster and Prince Valiant, has put together what is truly the definitive study of this seminal comic strip. Well written and lavishly illustrated, this is a beautiful tome which nicely complements Kane's prior book, "Hal Foster: Prince Of Illustrators".
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on March 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prince Valiant has been published every Sunday since 1937. The single thing that has separates this body of work from its peers is the high quality of its illustration. Hal Foster was a "Golden Age" illustrator with the temperment of a fine artist. Upon Hal Foster's retirement, John Cullen Murphy and later Gary Gianni continued producing beautifully illustrated work. This rich body of art holds a singular place in American popular culture.

Starting in 1984, Fantagraphics Books began the work of re-publishing Prince Valaint in sequential order. By 2005, Fantagraphics had published fifty paperback volumes of Prince Valiant stories. These volumes tracked Hal Foster's work from the first story in 1937 to the final strip in 1980. In 2009, Fantagraphics decided to once again re-publish the Prince Valiant series. To date, Fantagraphics has produced one, very high quality hardback volume. There is a promise to start releasing volumes on a yearly basis. One can only hope that Fantagraphics will eventually start releasing more than one volume a year. Hal Foster had a very long career and at this pace, I may not live long enough to see the whole series re-produced.

"The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion" is an effort by Fantagraphics to support this latest release of Prince Valiant volumes. It has everything a fan of the series could want. First of all, it is edited by Brian Kane the foremost scholar of the series. The book begins by presenting the Prince Valiant story arch from 1937 to the present and follows up by looking at Foster's artistic influences. But the highlight of the book are the series of interviews with Hal Foster, John Cullen Murphy, Gary Gianni and Mark Shultz. Fantagraphics Books is the leading publisher of classic comic reprints and this beautifully produced volume is another great example of why they are the leader. Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tim Janson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Prince Valiant is one of the longest-running and most beloved newspaper strips, getting its start in 1937 courtesy of legendary illustrator Hal Foster. The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion is the indispensable guide to the strip and a must have for its legions of fans new and old. Fantagraphics has been re-printing these original strips in chronological order in beautiful hardcover volumes and this guide makes the perfect complement.

Inside the 160 page book you'll find story synopses for each and every one of the 235 story arcs from 1937 right up through August 2009, complete with dates and page counts. But you get much more than that...Also included is a breathtaking 16 page full color gallery of Prince Valiant strips, culled from throughout the decades and digitally remastered from the original engraver's proofs. This gives you an idea of how the strips looked when created before being printed onto inferior newsprint.

There is an enriching history of Prince Valiant by Brian Kane; a vintage 1949 magazine feature on Hal Foster; a 1979 interview with Foster after he had recently finished his last Valiant strip; and interview with John Cullen Murphy, the artist who succeeded Foster; and an interview with Gary Gianni and Mark Shultz, the current team handling the strip. Throughout the book there are illustrations by Foster, Murphy and others as well vintage photos of the various creative talents.

No matter how long you've been a Prince Valiant fan...one year or seventy years, you're certain to find this book informative and entertaining. Fantagraphics has produced another spectacular book!
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