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The Complete Prince Valiant Title Panels/updated

The Complete Prince Valiant Title Panels by Thomas Yeates 2014 – 2018

In an effort to preserve the integrity of the Prince Valiant comic strip in all its formats Thomas Yeates created the Prince Valiant Title Panel. With King Features’ enthusiastic approval the idea was applied and, since 2014, the third-page version of Prince Valiant has carried the illustrations. Events leading up to this Valiant innovation can be read here.

 

Title Panel #1 – The Eel
(March 2, 2014 – March 15, 2015*)

apology #1: I don’t have a copy of this first panel, so the image is taken from the above strip.

As Thomas Yeates has stated, his title panels debuted on March 2, 2014 (page # 2021).

apology #2: At the time family and occupational obligations had me going south for a newspaper subscription, unfortunately Prince Valiant was published in the newspaper north; so no steady diet of these and no exact start and stop dates.

 

Title Panel #2 – A Medieval Portrait
(March 22, 2015 – December 13, 2015*)

By at least April 26, 2015 a gorgeous drawing of Val and Aleta (above) was being showcased. This panel ran until at least November 29, 2015.

Here’s a close-up of that shot with a hat tip to Michael J. Bayly:

Now imagine that drawing as an 18 inch high x 12 inch wide signature plaque. That’s what I saw when I met the artist at a Thomas Yeates signing/meet and greet. It’s beautiful.

 

Title Panel #3 – Elephants Through the Himalayas
(December 20, 2015 – January 15, 2017 and February 12, 2017*†)

This first appeared in December 2015 (at least December 27, 2015).

When I met Thomas he said the #2 portrait panel was an anomaly. Because comics sections vary in width (standard broadsheet, skinny broadsheet) some newspaper sections squeeze or stretch the strip to fit the page. Thomas purposely creates images with creatures and landscapes up front and humans in the background so the title panels panel can be widened or compressed without obvious visual distortion.

This image last ran on either February 12 or February 19, 2017 (I have a February 12, 2017 issue).

 

Title Panel #4 – The Underground River
(January  22, 2017 – February 5, 2017 and February 19, 2017 – February 4, 2018*†)

apology #3: my source for these title panels prints the Prince in the middle of the page, the wrinkling is the result.

This first appeared either February 19 or February 26, 2017 (I have a February 26, 2017 edition).

To continue with the squeezing/stretching of the panel. When I showed Thomas a (then recent) strip from my source (the Gannett Sunday Comics Section, in a skinny, 11 inches wide broadsheet version) he immediately noticed that the strip itself, not the title panel, was what had been squashed to fit the page. The best laid plans…

I have no idea how long this panel ran, my next hard copy of the strip features:

 

Title Panel # 5 – The Port City of The Misty Isles
(February 11, 2018 – present*)

My first copy of this panel is from March 4, 2018, but the story started earlier in the year. This panel and the story is still running to this day, though an ending is eminent.

You may have noticed that some of the above drawings are initialed “T.Y”, this one also contains the initials “H.F.” That sent me into a deep dive of my Prince Valiant books. In volume 9, from the November 4, 1954 strip I found this:

I think Thomas included Hal Foster’s initials to credit him as the inspiration for the drawing.

While the establishment of a title panel untangled a major kink in the process, it didn’t solve everything. In fact a new problem was created. The layout now had to be set so as not to leave a big bare spot in the first panel(s) of the full tabloid and half-page formats when the logo was moved to the title panel. Here is the March 4, 2018 tab page corresponding with the #5 title panel shown above.

As seen when comparing the two, the caption in the first panel of the strip proper has been elevated to replace the logo. Thomas also includes incidental background art and decoration in place of the missing logo. All in All Thomas’ idea of a title panel has improved the visuals of the strip for those us us reading the third-page version.

 

I want to note that the naming of the title panels are invented by me and not official.

If any of you have exact start and stop dates for the panels, please let us know!
* Big tip of the hat to Jimmy Delach for providing start and stop dates for the titles!
† Another hat tip to T. G. Umhoefer for date corrections on #3 and #4!

In an email exchange quite a while back Thomas said then that only the last panel (#5) was still available for purchase. Prince Valiant and other Thomas Yeates originals are available from the artist.

As far as I know this is the first time these panels have been collected in one setting, so:
A Daily Cartoonist Exclusive!

 

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Jimmy Delach
September/25/2018
@ 3:45 pm

D.D., through the Palm Beach Post (via newspapers.com), I can confirm this about the Prince Valiant panels…

Panel #1: 3/2/2014 – 3/15/2015
Panel #2: 3/22/2015 – 12/13/2015
Panel #3: 12/20/2015 – 2/12/2017
Panel #4: 2/19/2017 – 2/4/2018
Panel #5: 2/11/2018 – present

#2 D. D. Degg
September/26/2018
@ 1:39 pm

Thanks for the dates Jimmy, added to the article.

#3 T. G. Umhoefer
October/3/2018
@ 11:51 am

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Prince Valiant strip,
Feb. 12, 2017, title panel was #3 Elephants…, although
#4 Underground…had already begun.
So the dates should be:
#3 Elephants…12/20/2015 to 1/15/2017, plus 2/12/2017.
#4 Underground…1/22/2017, minus 2/12/2017, to 2/4/2018.

#4 D. D. Degg
October/3/2018
@ 3:10 pm

Thanks T. G. U.! Updated!

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