Prince Valiant will be presented in an oversized color hardcover format, with two years per book, beginning in 2009. This presentation will be of higher quality than the 50 trade paperbacks Fantagraphics published, which collected all of the strips with art or story by creator Hal Foster. At two years per book, it will take 16-17 volumes just to reprint the full page strips with Foster art.
I’ve become a huge fan of Foster’s strip, and I own the 40 trade paperbacks they printed a decade ago (the other 10 feature the post-Foster work). The paperbacks were of middling quality; the black lines often were reduced to near-vanishing, and the coloring jobs were erratic (the earlier printings of the earlier volumes were pretty good, but they seemed to switch to a lower-quality coloring technology later on). Still, at about 2/3 original size (keep in mind that “original size” was a whole newspaper page) they were pretty good, much better than not having them at all.
If the new hardcovers are of similar size and they upgrade the print quality, then I’ll be happy to pick up the new volumes, too.
(Some company – I think in Germany – printed the first three years of the strip in full-size, black-and-white hardcovers some years ago. I decided to pass on them when I saw them mainly because they were quite pricy, not in color, and the first three years aren’t exactly the high point of the strip. Still, I’m sure someone appreciated them!)