Friday, January 01, 2010

Knights of the Round Table

Hal Foster; Prince Valiant: Volume I: 1937-1938 (Fantagraphics Books, Inc.; 2009; ISBN 978-1-60699-141-1; cover by Hal Foster).

Once upon a time, boys and girls, comics were an important part of your daily newspaper. They had their own pages, they had their own style, they sometimes ranged across as much as a page. Then came cost-cutting, enhancement of shareholder value and more and the comics were squeezed and squeezed and edited and cut and sliced and diced and put into a blender until the only place you can really find anything decent these days is in de intertubes and the webcomics.

Collections like this will make you weep with what was lost (click on the link and you'll see another link that allows you to download a sample from the book). Magnificent art. Panels that range from three or so across medium-sized panels and the occasional painfully detailed and colored super-sized panel. An ongoing story...with blood and gore even! Dooming predictions, wounds, loss and death.

Fantagraphics is to be thanked for working so hard to produce a book that shows Foster's artwork in a decent size and with the colors corrected. This is not a cheap book, and with one volume covering one year, I can see that this is going to be an expensive series to acquire. But it is a series that I'd gladly give up lunches to get!

FTC Disclaimer: This book was a gift. It was purchased by my lovely wife and given to me for Christmas. It was not a gift from the publisher.

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