32¢ Prince Valiant
Comic Strip Classics
Issue Date: October 1, 1995
City: Boca Rotan, FL
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Prince Valiant was the last major strip to be created as a full-page, full-color feature. Set in medieval Britain during the days of King Arthur, this centuries-long saga combined legend, realism, and fantasy. Carefully-researched details in battle scenes, as well as domestic settings made the strip seem authentic, if not almost documentary.
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, an ambitious young Harold “Hal” Foster bicycled his way to Chicago, to the Art Institute, National Academy of Design, and Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. In 1929, he left a promising career as an advertising illustrator to draw a newspaper adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes. After eight years, he left to create his epic strip Prince Valiant.
A meticulous worker who devoted a great deal of time to research, Foster spent as many hours working on his Sunday page (the comic did not appear daily) as any nine-to-five employee. Often, his originals took a week to draw and were upwards of 40 inches tall – the result was a product that won him acclaim from both peers and the general public. In 1971, he retired from drawing the strip, but still continued to plot the storyline. Today, the strip is drawn by John Cullen Murphy and written by his son Cullen Murphy, managing editor of The Atlantic Monthly.