One of the all-time greats was born 131 years ago…
By PETER BOSCH
Hal Foster, one of the greatest artists of the Golden Age of Comic Strips, influenced more artists than possibly anyone except Alex Raymond. Among those who cited him as such were Frank Frazetta, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Al Williamson, Wallace Wood, Joe Kubert, John Buscema, Neal Adams and Jack Kirby. The latter even borrowed from an early Prince Valiant adventure the appearance of a demon (actually Valiant in disguise) for Kirby’s Etrigan, “The Demon” in DC Comics.
Born 131 years ago on August 16, 1892, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Harold R. Foster’s first break was in drawing Tarzan for a 10-week daily adaptation of the novel in the late 1920s. He went on to do the Sunday page from 1931 to 1937. Though successful at it, he wanted to create, write and draw his own feature strip, and thus was born Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur. He truly loved doing this amazing newspaper page and it showed week after week, from 1937 to 1971 (at which time he turned over the drawing to John Cullen Murphy, with Foster continuing to write the strip for several years after that).
The strip covered Valiant through his early days as a young Viking prince, to becoming a young man who desired to become a knight in King Arthur’s court, to meeting Aleta, Queen of the Misty Isles, who would become his wife and mother to his children.
Below are 13 magnificent examples of Foster’s great work. Enjoy.
— KAMANDI AFTER KIRBY: The Brilliant WEDNESDAY COMICS Strip. Click here.
— SPOTLIGHT: Mark Schultz. Click here.
13th Dimension contributor-at-large PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Page, was published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.