Sunday, December 11, 2011


I'm starting a new recurring and sporadic feature post that I'm calling Paneltopia, a place where panels and covers from comic books and strips are portals for the imagination to enter and contemplate — panels and covers isolated from the story for pure enjoyment of the art. Roy Lichtenstein took comic panels and bastardized them into 'high' art. I'm just honoring comic panels as they are as 'low' art. See which art form you would rather gaze at.

Hal Foster's Prince Valiant has panel after panel that I love to examine, especially in the large format that he drew and was published in. The panel directly below was HUGE on the printed Sunday broadsheet. I have many Valiant strips from the '60s that will be contributing panels to this feature.

Oh to be in the hunting party of King Arthur on a crisp Autumn day...


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Oh, I can tell I'm going to LOVE this new segment.

Thank you for this beautiful Hal Foster panel. Seeing this kind of stuff is what made me want to become an artist in the first place, and seeing a beautiful scan like this is a wonderful reminder not only of my inspirational roots, but also of the masters that came before and the long way I still have to go in order to match a fraction of their greatness.

Annie said...

Hi Thom,

Panels like these can stand alone, much like the illustration from a page in a book. If you have a general sense of the scene and the characters, you can enjoy the panel for its own achievement, independent of the text or the entire work.

Glen Story said...

I clipped and saved Valiant strips in the sixties, too... up through and including the Wally Wood strip. My old high school buddy Gary Gianni draws it now.
I was, and still am, in awe of the color in these beautifully detailed panels of Fosters. What other strip ever had color this subtle, nuanced, and gorgeous?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful -- how did he find the time for so much detail in each panel? keep them coming--charlie

Joe Jusko said...

I'm making an appointment to see the Foster Collection here at Syracuse University now that I'm local. Supposedly they have a ton of originals for one to drool over.

These two panels are incredible! He really took advantage of the fact that he had an entire week to labor over each Sunday page since there were no dailies to compromise the work.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Joe, drool some for the rest of us, so far away.

We want to hear about your visit!

Yes, and think of Foster laboring week after week for 30 something years!

Duane Spurlock said...

What size was the original work that was shot down to the newspaper size? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

As an illustrator myself, I know how much effort went into these two panels... I remember doing a 30 frame storyboard in the 1970s, and the writer saying... as I was leaving his office... "I need them by mid day tomorrow... Oh, and I need lots of detail." I said... "I'm an artist, not a machine."

I left the brief on his table and told him to hire another mug.

I'm about to retire soon, I'll still do my own art. But if one drawing takes a month, it takes a month... Deadlines stimulate one artist and sap another artist's will to live.

Art Lover