We are pleased to announce that the sixth volume of our acclaimed Prince Valiant series — once again shot from Hal Foster's original set of syndicate proofs — is now shipping to stores and readers.
We're busily working away on Volume 7, covering the years 1949 and 1950, which we expect to have out in May or June, trying to catch up from the slightly delayed Volume 6, and thereby aiming for three volumes this year. (By the way, our Free Comic Book Day comic for this year will feature an advance excerpt from Volume 7. Be sure to grab one — if only to see how we managed to break down Foster's lush, oversized tabloid pages to comic book format.)
With the exception of the occasional pin-up-style shot of Princess Aleta (which are pretty hot, actually), Prince Valiant has always been considered a rather staid, conservative strip, but Val/Foster expert Brian Kane (author of a fascinating article about Foster's treatment of North American natives in the current volume, and of course the wonderful Prince Valiant Companion) pointed out two panels from the upcoming volume that suggest that Mr. Foster may have had a wicked sense of humor. In this sequence from 1950, young Arf is smitten with a "maid with flaming hair and eyes of blue" as he almost falls out of a tree. For his clothing to drape so that the pommel of his sword creates a huge bulge in the fabric in one panel can be dismissed as a graphic happenstance. But to see Arf back on ground with the end of his sword still "pitching a tent" is maybe a little… eyebrow-raising.
Well, maybe we're just seeing things. But as Fredric Wertham famously wrote, "In ordinary comic books, there are pictures within pictures for children who know how to look."