The “Prince Valiant” newspaper made its debut on 13th February 1937, an epic adventure and romantic fantasy created by Hal Foster for 35 years. Earlier this month, the tenth episode sold for $40,800 (just over £33,500) on Heritage Auctions.
Realistic in its visual execution and noble in its subject, depicting a time in which the fabled warriors of history and legends fought together for the greater good, “Prince Valiant” remains one of the great masterpieces of the medium.
“Foster’s ‘Prince Valiant’ is not just an adventure, or romance, or humour strip — though it is sprinkled with all those elements,” noted Brian M. Kane, author of Hal Foster: Prince of Illustrators and The Definitive Prince Valiant Companion, in a tribute to the strip to mark its 80th anniversary back in 2017.
“’Prince Valiant’ is a graphic novel about life, where people fall in love, wars are fought, children are born and grow older, hearts are broken, friends die in battle, couples marry, and even disfigured and disabled characters young and old, male and female, have a place and purpose in this brave world Foster fashioned.”
The sale price is lower than one later artwork, sold by Nate D. Sanders Auctions in 2017, which sold for a staggering $70,461, interest at the time perhaps buoyed by the strip’s 80th anniversary year, but while older, it is, despite being impressive art, is not as iconic.
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Prince Valiant © King Features Syndicate, Inc. | With thanks to Ernesto Guevara