[identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Some of these classic strips can't be over-praised. Hal Foster's PRINCE VALIANT is a good example, a perfect blend of great art and great storytelling. Imagine waking up Sunday morning to see this page in your newspaper. Here's an example from 1938.

At this point in the saga, Prince Valiant is still a youth, maybe in his late teens, trying to prove himself to Arthur by deeds of valor (while also tumbling headlong in love as youths do). Val has managed to escape from Dolorous Garde, where Morgan Le Fey (HER again!) is holding Sir Gawain. Merlin promises to free Gawain if he can obtain a personal possession prized by Morgan, and Val returns with her falcon. (I've seen hunting falcons up close and to be honest, stealing one in flight agaiinst its will would not occur to me. I'd bring Merlin one of Morgan's slippers or something..)

The art here really deserves taking a minute to study. Look at the way the drawbridge operates with a counterweight, or Morgan's snuggly lap robe (those castles were drafty). Details like that weren't strictly speaking necessary to the tale, but they help give PRINCE VALIANT a feeling of solidity. (Sorry the bottom tier is a big larger, but these pages are too big for my scanner to do in one go and I'm not sure how to align the two sections in size.)

Date: 2009-08-30 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dimesfornickels.wordpress.com (from insanejournal.com)
One of the best drawn comics ever made.

Date: 2009-08-30 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] unknownscribler.insanejournal.com
The Young Prince Valiant cartoon was also pretty good.

Date: 2009-08-30 12:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
The linework is exquisite, and the colouring is lovely.

Val still looks unbearably camp in a few images, somehow reminiscent of silent movies, but I can forgive them that.

I don't think a drawbridge could actually work that way though, since it doesn't operate like a door, there would be no point at which something could be wheeled through, or actually come through without being spun through 90 degrees.

Date: 2009-08-31 09:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
Well, it IS supposed to be the entrance/exit to an inescapable prison - it makes sense that it would be designed to give whoever was going in or out a rough time of things. There are probably more conventional doors elsewhere. Anyway, a sorceress is running things - they are notably eccentric when it comes to such details (as is only appropriate, since they're some of the few people who could actually pull them off). .

Date: 2009-08-31 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icon_uk.insanejournal.com
Well no, the whirlibridge is at Merlin's gate, not Morgan's. So whilst eccentricity might be expected, this seems approaching the perverse.

I suppose I can see a vague usefulness in it for letting people in through the front door without letting anyone else though... unless of course, they were standing on the gate when it flipped up too, which with close range fighting like that would be something of a risk.

Date: 2009-08-31 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
I would imagine that it's usually turned slowly, so that whoever wants in can adjust to the changing surface, shift his weight to what will shortly become the floor, and therefore get in with a minimum of fuss. When it's a hostile presence or emergency, though, the gates are simply spun around so that anyone standing on the lower gates tumbles inside head over heels, in no state to present a threat to anyone.

Date: 2009-08-31 09:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
While the art is beautiful, the narration style in Prince Valiant has always kinda bugged me. It's sort of like those old comics they used to do in magazines where screenshots from a movie or cartoon were accompanied by a brief description of what's going on. ('Superman punches the mad scientist. "You haven't got me yet!" rages the maniac. He triggers his Oscillotron device, pummeling Superman with brutal sonic force. The noise is terrific.') I'm not addicted to speech balloons as a storytelling device or anything - I don't mind alternate means of doing it - but there are times when having the characters just SAY something is much more preferable to a caption saying '"Victory!" cried Prince Valiant, and his men cheered'. We can SEE that he's saying it and they're cheering, dammit.


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