Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A new 'golden age' (Part I)

...of classic comic strip reprints. (Please be advised--This is serious Nerd Territory. I know I promised to discuss scooters in the last post, but that can wait until Fall.)

In 2007, many reviewers, bloggers, workers in the graphic arts industry, and simpletons came to the conclusion that a new era of comic strip reprints had arrived. By the dawn of that year, several classic comic strip reprint series were now beginning to see (re)print, joining some titles that had begun in the past 2 years; in addition, several new reprint titles were being announced, and continues today.

Now that you know the premise, in this new series of blog posts, I will discuss various different comic strip projects and explain the significance of the strip in question. Sure, the Sunday comics of today pretty much suck (except for Dilbert). Marmaduke is drawn with what seems to be a distressingly shaky hand, and the dialog is nothing to write home about either, unless it is about how much said dialog sucks. Even Garfield is but a shadow of his formerly cynical self. (Check out 'Garfield Minus Garfield' here-it's an improvement: )

So the first subject in this blog series is 'Prince Valiant'. Sounds like a goody-two-shoes loser, doesn't he? And he kinda looks like one, too--here's what he looks like most of the time:

But in Volume 1 of Fantagraphics' second go-around at reprinting the entire 45-year run of the comic, young Val (as the narrator refers to him) has been nothing short of ruthless in his adventures, killing his enemies outright and with a purpose. It's complete with grisly humor as Prince Valiant makes snarky remarks in the vein of James Bond, as he kills a particularly bothersome bad guy. I've only read the first complete year (1937), and I am hooked. Volume 2 comes out Spring 2010 with the years 1939 and 1940, so I'm pacing myself. But I read slow, so it kind of works itself out...

If you're curious, here's an example. (Pay particular attention to panels 3, 6 and 7 to get my drift.)



  1. While I agree that the example you provided is ok, Prince Valiant is still an effeminate looking d-bag (as you say) and I don't think I'll be slowing my eyes down to read it on the way to "The Dinette Set".

  2. Wow. No lack of irony in HIS name...

  3. Allow me to clarify-- When I said 'I read slow', that meant I am a naturally slow reader, not that I am intentionally reading it slowly. As for The Dinette Set, I was unaware it was still in the Enquirer. (I stopped reading the 'funny papers' years ago.)

  4. In my humble opinion, "The Dinette Set" should be banned. It distracts me on my way to "Mary Worth."

  5. Mary Worth is quite possibly the dumbest comic strip ever. I wouldn't put it past you to read it every day, Bill. Go Jump Start!

  6. I miss 'Herb and Jamal'. It was pretty much the companion strip to 'Jump Start'.