Foster, Hal

About The Artist

Harold “Hal” Foster (1892–1982), a Canadian-American cartoonist, was a pioneer in the field of adventure comic strips. He spent his childhood hiking and fishing in the untamed wilds around Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he developed a fondness for the great outdoors. After years of self-taught drawing, he cycled 1,000 miles from Winnipeg to Chicago, where he studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Looking for more financial stability than his commercial illustration work afforded him, he jumped at the opportunity to draw an adventure strip. Tarzan debuted on January 7, 1929, and Foster’s fine art approach drew wild acclaim. The strip is widely thought to have peaked during its two-year “Egyptian” sequence that revealed Foster’s his fascination with ancient history. Foster drew Tarzan for about six years, but wanted to create his own strip, with his own writing and creative control. After months of research, he made a pitch to William Randolph Hearst, and Prince Valiant began in 1937. The swashbuckling strip showcased Foster’s brilliant storytelling and lush, painterly style. He wrote and drew Prince Valiant for over 30 years, and through his strip influenced countless artists and cartoonists to come.

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