Sunday, February 1, 2009

Buried Treasure: Hal Foster's Medieval Castle

Hal Foster's Medieval Castle was an interesting short-lived feature that unfortunately only survived from April 30, 1944 to November 24, 1945. During World War II the government asked newspaper syndicates to reduce their strip size in order to save more paper for the war effort. Since King Features had the whole Sunday page with their Prince Valiant feature, they quickly asked Foster to create a new strip so as to not lose any space to one of their competitors. The artist came up with a three panel strip, which usually ran at the bottom of the Valiant page, about two young English squires named Arn and Guy at the time of the First Crusade. Hal used his extensive library of information about Medieval lore as a backdrop for the new piece, in which he devoted as much time as his work on Valiant. Foster's lush detailed artwork coupled with his feuding family storyline was an interesting addition to King Features already strong stable of properties. Most agree though, that the story running in Prince Valiant at the time (Val's kidnapping and then falling in love with Aleta, was one of the most beloved of all Valiant's episodes) was so strong that is completely overshadowed the second strip. However, Medieval Castle was a unique and interesting model for the daily life and work of a Knight's squire, and was reprinted in book form as two different versions years later. The feature can also be noted for being an early prototype for Val's future son, Prince Arn, which he developed over the eighty three strips.

1 comment:

IpComics said...

I think the date for the first "The MediƦval Castle" is 4-23-44.