Between 1987 and 2004, Fantagraphics Books published 50 softcover volumes of Hal Foster's masterpiece Prince Valiant from the beginning (February 13, 1937) through strip #2271 (August 17, 1980). In 2012, the same publisher began a rerelease of the same material, except this time in hardcover and reproduced from the artist's own syndicate proofs. I decided not to buy it... at first, at least not until I saw how absolutely gorgeously stunning the reproduction was. At this point, they are up to the 23rd volume reprinting through strip #2394 (December 26, 1982) with a 24th solicited for release December 29 of this year. Each of these volumes reprints two full years, about three times as much as the softcovers.
I have read though volume 50 of the original series, but everything since August 17, 1980 I have not read since its initial publication. The last time I attempted a read-through from the beginning, I left off midway through Volume 6, which reprints stories from 1947-1948 set circa A.D. 456-457. I have just finished reading some 8400 pages of Lone Wolf & Cub and am in the mood for another epic to sink my literary teeth into. In the Spring of 456, The Viking Ulfrun kidnaps Prince Valiant's wife, Aleta, and flees to sea. Val and his crew pursue him across the ocean, eventually discovering the land which would one day be called North America.
Prince Valiant takes his revenge on Ulfrin and stays in the New World for the birth of his son, Prince Arn. The Native Americans (probably intended to represent the Algonquin tribe) see the blonde Aleta as a woodland goddess and give her many gifts, including a middle-aged squaw named Tillicum who becomes Arn's nurse and Aleta's faithful companion. Eventually, it comes time for the Vikings to undertake their long journey home. I left off on strip #590 as, skirting the shore of Ireland, Val's ship is met by another bearing the lion crest of Sir Launcelot.
I plan to pick up with #591.