Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.33: Hal Foster

No.33: Hal Foster

Hal Foster was another cornerstone of the comic medium, developing the form with his accent on draughtsmanship, attention to detail and experimentation with chiaroscuro, naturalism and cinematic action. Along with contemporaries Milton Canniff, Burne Hogarth and Alex Raymond, he was the progenitor of the adventure comic strip. His key series, Prince Valiant, was a stately Arthurian work that was painstakingly illustrated and coloured, setting the standard for newspaper strips, with Foster preferring to use captions rather than speech bubbles, which lent it a literary, fine art feel. In many respects his sense of perspective, anatomy, rendering of texture and instinctive subtlety has been the template and main influence for countless artists that came after him, from Frazetta to Kirby to Kubert amongst many. Words: Andrew Colman…

Growing up in Canada, Foster was largely self-taught as an artist, obsessing over his craft from an early age while studying classic illustrators such as Wyeth and Rackham. In 1921, after trying his hand at freelancing, Foster made his way to the Chicago Art Institute as well as other academies to refine his skills. After settling in the U.S., Foster got work drawing magazine covers before being taken on by United Features in 1927 to turn Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan into a serialised newspaper strip. From 1931, after two years drawing the dailies, Foster focused exclusively on the Sunday episodes, and within two years began to develop the strip due to fan interest and also to sustain interest, as he didn’t write the stories. By the mid-1930s, despite his reaching new heights as an artist on Tarzan, Foster began to lose interest in the character and came up with his own property with which he would have full creative control – Prince Valiant.

Despite the phenomenal success of Tarzan, both as a strip and within pop culture in general, Foster moved on in 1937, taking his new strip Prince Valiant to rival King Features, owned by William Randolph Hearst. Hearst offered Foster not just complete artistic control (one assumes Will Eisner was taking notes) but also 50% of the gross for the strip, which was an unsurpassed deal at the time. Within a few months Prince Valiant was given a full page by Hearst, allowing Foster the space to develop not just his artistry but the parameters of the medium. Prince Valiant was a feast for the eyes and senses, with Foster providing an epic, layered and long-running medieval saga that combined fantasy with realism, humanizing his characters while carefully delineating plots that took in a considerable ensemble who were allowed to age. His painterly, elegant, if not fastidious style and broad colour palette meant that Prince Valiant was practically unrivalled in terms of its visual presentation. His storytelling and world building also set the standard – one can look at a Prince Valiant page, not read a single word and know exactly what the story is, what the characters are thinking, and what their emotions are, while his mythical world seems palpably real, with backstory, humour and depth.

One of the true legends of the newspaper strip art that would have such an impact on the comic medium, Foster’s art has remained required reading for most professionals in the industry and is a byword for the hard work and commitment involved in producing such masterworks.

Here’s links through to the other entries in our 101 Greatest so far as well

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.34: Burne Hogarth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.35: LB Cole

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.37: Bill Everett

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.38: Robert Crumb

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.39: Mac Raboy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.41: Jim Starlin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.42: Mike Zeck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.43: Adam Hughes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.44: Daniel Clowes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.45: Gene Colan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.46: George Perez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.47: Michael William Kaluta

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.48: Cary Nord

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.49: Frank Quitely

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.50: Mike Ploog

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.51: Johnny Craig

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.52: Darwyn Cooke

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.53: Steve Dillon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.54: Gil Kane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.55: Michael Zulli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.56: John Romita

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.57: Joe Maneely

 

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.58: Marshall Rogers

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.59: John Severin

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.60: Alex Toth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.61: Brian Bolland

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.62: David Mazzuchelli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.63 Reed Crandall

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.64 Harry Anderson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.65 Nick Cardy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.66 Matt Wagner

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.67 Bryan Hitch

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.68 Shawn Martinbrough

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.69 Al Feldstein

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.70 Nestor Redondo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.71 Tarpe Mills

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.72 Eduardo Risso

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.73 JH Williams III

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.74 Irv Novick

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.75 Dan Zolnerowich

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.76 Gilbert Shelton

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.77 Tommy Lee Edwards

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.78: Sean Phillips

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.79: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.80: Dan DeCarlo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.81: Marie Severin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.82: John Paul Leon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.83: Jim Lee

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.84: Denys Cowan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.85: Ross Andru

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.86: Paul Gustavson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.87: George Evans

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.88: Michael Golden

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.89: Matt Baker

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.90: Todd McFarlane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.91: Fiona Staples

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.92: Carl Barks

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.93: Carmine Infantino

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.94: Alan Davis

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.95: CC Beck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.96: Syd Shores

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.97: Bob Fujitani

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.98: Tim Sale

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.99: Jim Aparo

https://tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/tripwires-101-greatest-comic-artists-of-all-time-no-100/

https://tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/tripwires-101-greatest-comic-artists-of-all-time-no-101/

 

The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.33: Hal Foster appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

No.33: Hal Foster Hal Foster was another cornerstone of the comic medium, developing the form with his accent on draughtsmanship, attention to detail and experimentation with chiaroscuro, naturalism and cinematic action. Along with contemporaries Milton Canniff, Burne Hogarth and Alex Raymond, he was the progenitor of the adventure comic strip. His key series, Prince Valiant,
The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.33: Hal Foster appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.Read MoreTRIPWIRE MAGAZINE

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