This I consider one of the best comic ever (if not the best). It excels in every respect. First of all, it is an adventure story, with a hero, Prince Valiant, whose life is told from kid to young man, to married man, to father of many. The reader enjoys all these changes well enough. Then, the days of the story: what can be better that King Arthur’s Round Table era? Here there is a subtle mixture in the ways of the hero: he is a knight, but also a warrior; problems are often solved by somehow treacherous means, to say the least, and other more archetypical knights would not like that, even mock at it, although the reader will not object at all. Another feature is the appearence of magic and illusion. These are for sure due in Val’s time, but they are given a scientific twist and a common sense approach that prevents it from being plainly naif. The best examples are Merlin’s appearences. In any case true magic is also behind! There is also a curious and appealing use of historic truth and legend and a sage disregard for date accuracy, which allows the coexistence of so many well-known names in the life span of Val: roman emperors, famous vikings, barbarians, arabs and religious wars. In most cases with a respectful view. In addition, Val is always on the road, and famous places are revisited, who has not heard of Samarkanda? And also America and Africa. And the hero is always involved in something important, either in the short term or in the long run we will attend to a feat of courage. There is romance, drama, humour, everything! And on top of all of this, we have the drawings. The reader can only admire the enormous talent of the artist, whatever he choses to do: landscapes and nature, architecture, animals and people, faces or bodies, still or in motion, relaxed or violent. The author’s ability appears in every single example. But the best way to appreciate it is to take a look at these scans.
These two books are fully compulsory reading:
- Foster y Val. Los trabajos y los días del creador de “Prince Valiant”. M. Caldas. Dolmen.
- Hal Foster. B.M. Kane. Planeta deAgostini (from Vanguard Press, read a preview here).
And if you want the definite version of Val’s adventures, of overwhelming quality and beauty excelling all hope, then look for M. Caldas’s edition in Libros de Papel, I daresay you’ll enjoy Sthendal’s syndrome!