Harold (Hal) R. Foster

Hal Foster (1892-1982) started his illustration and comics career in Canada then chose to explore the fine arts at the Art Institute of Chicago. In the early 1930's he was asked to illustrate the Tarzan stories in a series of books titled ''Famous Books and Players.'' When Tarzan became the subject of a comic strip in 1931, he was asked to draw the strip for the United Features Syndicate, which he continued to do so until 1937.
At that time, he created The "Prince Valiant" comic strip for King Features, which was inspired by the King Arthur legends. Hal decided early on that his hero would be a Knight of the Round Table and made tens of thousands of notes and sketches covering the main character's life from childhood to old age. Hal never included a locale that he had not personally visited for thematic accuracy. A Foster trademark that appeared for the first time in comics was the use of captions instead of word balloons.
Prince Valiant became one of the most successful comic strips of all time, winning the prestigious Banshees' "Silver Lady" award (1952) and both the National Cartoonists Society's coveted "Reuben" award (1957) and "Gold Key" award (1977). When he was 73, Foster was elected to membership in Great Britain's Royal Society of Arts - an honor very few Americans have received. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creators Hall of Fame for his contributions to comic books. Mr. Foster continued to work on the Sunday comic strip until 1979, when he turned it over to his longtime associate, John Cullen Murphy. It is distributed to more than 320 newspapers.