Prince Valiant, Gary Gianni and The Page
Time was when the whole family would gather in the living room once a week to fight over the Sunday newspaper. People would settle for their second favorite sections, but only one could start with the most popular: the Sunday funnies. Back in those days, there were no more than three strips to a page — often two, and sometimes only one. Principle among these full-page delights was Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant.
Seventy years later Val is still with us, often criminally reduced to one-fifth of a page. Prince Valiant is in the hands of only its third artist, a worthy successor to Foster and John Cullen Murphy named Gary Gianni.
Known to comics fans for his work on such iconic characters as The Shadow, Tarzan and Conan, Gianni illustrates Mark Schultz’s scripts – Schultz himself is no slouch as an artist. All that is preamble.
This June, Flesk Publications is releasing Gary Gianni: The Prince Valiant Page, a 112 page hardcover study of Gianni’s work on the feature, lavishly illustrated with black and white art shot from the originals as well as three color gatefolds. The hardcover edition is limited to 1,000 copies; there’s also a ultra-cool deluxe hardcover that features one of Gianni’s pencil preliminaries – in other words, original art. A trade a paperback edition will be released eventually. Prices on all this have yet to be announced.
Oh, yeah. The introduction was written by Mike Mignola. Turns out Gary did some Hellboy, too!