The Legacy of Hal Foster and Edgar Rice Burroughs


From 1937 to 1967. the Prince Valiant page was printed on a full comic page of the Chicago Herald American and thousands of Hearst papers. When the Herald American went out of business  in 1967, the Chicago Tribune printed Prince Valiant for 5 weeks in a full page format.  It stopped suddenly, and has not been seen in a Chicago newspaper since. Everyone wondered what had happened.

I found out during a talk I gave about the exhibit. An elderly women in a wheel chair volunteered she knew what had happened. She said she worked at the Chicago Tribune during that time. She said the Tribune wanted to cut down the Prince Valiant full page, to a half page. Hal Foster would not allow it. That is the reason no Chicago paper has printed Prince Valiant ever since.

The result has been two, or, more, generations of Chicago comic fans never heard of Hal Foster while the rest of the world has enjoyed following the stories of the Knights of the Round Table and Camelot. Foster won many awards and recognition for Prince Valiant, but, few people knew of the Tarzan years and how it started the whole super hero industry.  Even the King of England, Edward the Duke of Windsor, called Prince Valiant “the greatest contribution to English literature in the last one hundred years.”  Hal Foster was even on one of the most popular TV shows of that era,  Ralph Edward’s, “This is Your Life Hal Foster”

Since Hal Foster was completely unknown in the Chicago area,  I decided to enlarge some pictures from my collection of Tarzan and Prince Valiant books, by and about Hal Foster, published by Fantagraphic books and others, and put them into an exhibit.  The exhibit was seen in twenty two art centers , libraries, and museums around Chicago over the last six years. The Skokie Library enlarged thirty of the pictures to museum size and made a formidable exhibit showing off Hal Foster’s great art work. The exhibit is now in storage at the Skokie Library for reference for historians and fans. There has been talk lately, of putting the exhibit on tour nationally. You can see parts of the exhibit by going to the internet at http://www.youtubecom/dragonsrobotsghosts.

When you get into the main site, type Hal Foster in the top search box. Three five minute videos appear.  The Art of Hal Foster Parts One and Two and Sarah Asks Sid About Comics Collecting ( The Skokie Library Exhibit.)

The purpose of the exhibit was to make the Chicago area aware of the fact that they had a giant contributor to the arts and commerce living and working here for twenty years. Even today, Chicago’s greatest museums and cultural centers have never recognized Hal Foster, and how he and Burroughs actually invented and gave birth to a giant worldwide industry right here in Downtown Chicago.

The information in these blogs are my own interpretation of the information contained in the many books and articles written about Hal Foster. I obtained other information while on tour with the exhibit and the talks I gave at twenty two art centers, libraries and museums.   I was/am an avid follower of Prince Valiant and it inspired me to keep up my hobbies of oil and acrylic painting, and writing and illustrating children’s books with my children and grand children.


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