Prince Eisenherz

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Prince Eisenherz ( Prince Valiant in English ) is the name of a US comic series that was added by its creator to the legendary circle about King Arthur and the knights of his round table . It was written and drawn by Hal Foster from 1937 . In 1971 Foster's work as a draftsman ended, and in 1980 his authorship as well. The series was continued by Cullen Murphy as scenarioist and John Cullen Murphy as draftsman, since 2004 Mark Schultz acted as author and Gary Gianni as draftsman. As it became known in April 2012, Gary Gianni finished his drawing work on the comic in late March. The new cartoonist is called Thomas Yeates, his first strip is dated April 1st, 2012 (episode 3921). Mark Schultz continues to work on the comic as a scenarioist.

Foster's very realistic and detailed drawings set the series apart from comparable contemporary works. The effect of the pictures is supported by the large original format (a typical single picture is almost A4 size) and the lack of speech bubbles . The text is used as a subtitle. The series was originally conceived for publication in newspapers, it only appeared one page per week, which is why the draftsman could work very carefully and in detail. According to his own information (1970), Foster invested around 53 hours a week in the creation of a single episode.

Literary subject and anachronisms

Eisenherz is among other things a knight of King Arthur 's round table . On the one hand, the series expressly refers to real historical events, but on the other hand it takes very great liberties: The plot is set to take place at the time of the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, in which the historical background of the Arthurian legend is often classified . As the comic from April 9, 1939, Eisenherz himself was knighted in 433 AD . (Knight existed in the late antiquity in fact not.) At the same time he is a Viking prince of several centuries later Viking period (around 900 n. Chr.) Be. The castles, armor and weapons, as well as the general level of culture and war tactics, in turn, correspond most closely to the high Middle Ages of the 13th century.

Accordingly, in some episodes of the series there are unrealistic encounters and overlaps between Roman legionaries, Greek phalanges , Vikings, knights and Huns. Hal Foster was well aware of these anachronisms ( If I drew - King Arthur - as my research has shown, nobody would believe it ... ), but was of the opinion that a King Arthur “wrapped in furs and clothed with a few pieces of Roman armor left behind “ I cannot draw King Arthur with a black beard, dressed in bearskins and a few odds and ends of armor that the Romans left when they went out of Britain, because that is not the image people have ).


Eisenherz is a Viking prince from Thule , a fabulous kingdom in the far north (set in Norway in the comic). After his father Aguar was driven out to Britain by the traitor Sligon (to an area on the east coast called The Wash ), Eisenherz came to Arthur's court in 425 AD as a boy at the even more legendary Camelot Castle . He becomes a squire of the knight Gawain and later a knight of the round table . The singing sword (vulgo: "Flamberg") helps him in many fights against Saxons , Huns and pirates.

Later he met Aleta, the ruler of a group of islands in the Aegean Sea (the so-called "Fog Islands"). After various wanderings, which recall the fate of Odysseus in the Homeric epic, they find each other and get married (published on February 10, 1946). The eldest son Arn (“born” on August 31, 1947) becomes a knight himself over time and plays an important role, especially in the later adventures. In 1951 and 1961, a pair of female twins (Karen and Valeta) and two other sons, Galan and Nathan, of the couple also appeared in the daily supplements of the newspapers. The latter son is kidnapped as an act of revenge by followers of the Eastern Roman ruler Justinian (ruled 527 to 565) and finally brought to a Jewish farmer couple who give the boy the name Nathan and lovingly raise him for a while until he is found by Arn and comes back to his family.

An influence of contemporary history can be clearly seen in Prince Eisenherz : the hero with his knightly sense of justice gives way, especially after the Second World War, to a complicated relationship, love and later family history with Aleta, the Queen of the Fog Islands. This leads through distant lands and emphasizes the female role (s) as an equal partner or fighter, which (in the case of Aleta) Prince Eisenherz safely guides in the (fever) madness.

The series takes Prince Eisenherz through the ages on worldwide journeys, from Viking excursions to America and Russia to pilgrimages to Jerusalem and the Orient to visits to (already run-down) Rome and known and lesser-known European culturally significant places. The (old) Thule, Camelot and the Fog Islands, possibly in Greek, are to be mentioned as hometowns that are not further defined. In addition to deserts and forests, mountains and glaciers are also traveled.


Prince Eisenherz was initially published as a colored supplement in eight American newspapers. The first episode appeared on February 13, 1937 in the weekend edition of the New York Journal . In 1980 it appeared in 325 newspapers. Even today, the new sequels of the saga are published in many languages. Every week u. a. a current sequel published on

The pages of Prince Eisenherz's adventures, which have been translated into German, have been published by various publishers since 1939, including Carlsen Verlag since 1987 in the only complete edition up to 2017. In 2010 this series caught up with the American Sundays pages with a semi-annual interval (26 pages). Because only 52 new episodes were published annually in America (once a week on Sunday), the publisher was only able to publish one serial volume annually in Germany. In 2014, Carlsen-Verlag therefore took a six-month break from its current publications. In 2017, such a continuation volume was published by Carlsen for the last time, because the publisher agreed with Bocola that he would discontinue his brochures with volume 91 (episodes 4053-4098).

Between 2006 and 2012 Bocola Verlag published a digitally edited 17-volume PE book edition (Series I) with the pages texted and drawn by Hal Foster in 1788 in the original coloring (years 1937–1971). An additional volume pays tribute to the Foster work in text and images. People and storylines, technology and biographical information about the author are compiled on 144 pages.

At the same time, a second Bocola edition began with the pages drawn by Murphy (Series II). It published the ten years following the Foster episodes (1971–1980), which were still written and sketched out by Foster, but converted into final artwork by his successor Murphy. As well as all the episodes designed by Murphy without Foster. Foster was completely eliminated from the series in 1981 for health reasons. From this point onwards, the text, image and layout of the series were solely in the hands of John Cullen Murphy, which he continued with his son (text) and daughter (lettering / color) until 2004 with episode 3501 in the spirit of Foster.

As the third draftsman in the decades-long history of the epic, the draftsman Gary Gianni started with episode 3502 and continued the story up to episode 3920. His creativity can be marveled at at Bocola since Volume 17 / Series II. After eight years of collaboration, Gianni passed the pen to the fourth draftsman, Thomas Yeates, in 2012. This started on April 1st with episode 3921 and continues the series to this day. These pages from volume 21 can be found in the Bocola book series. Volume 24 with the two years 2017/2018 (episodes 4169–4273) was published in November 2019.

It became known that this Bocola edition - unlimited according to the publisher - wants to gradually publish all new episodes in his book series.

As a supplement to the Foster saga, Bocola-Verlag published two special volumes in November 2019 and March 2020, which contain the seven-part comic book series -Prince-Valiant by DELL from 1954 to 1958. Text and drawings came from the US comic artist Robert Bob Fujitani. The stories published in it reflected the film history of the Prinz Eisenherz feature film from 1954 in the first issue. The six other issues continued this freely adapted story, which however had nothing in common with the Foster's saga - except for the main characters.

Movies, TV series and theater

Individual evidence

  1. Andreas C. Knigge , Richard Marschall (Ed.): The great Hal Foster book. Carlsen, Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-551-02816-8
  2. Todd Goldberg and Carl Horak, editors: Don Markstein and Rick Norwood. A Prince Valiant Companion . Manuscript Press. ISBN 0-936414-07-3


  • Brian M. Kane: Prince Eisenherz: A Guide for Connoisseurs and Lovers . Bocola, Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-939625-31-5 .
  • Gerhard Klußmeier : Everything about Prince Eisenherz. Saga, story, comic novel. Pollischansky, Vienna 1987, ISBN 3-85407-037-3 .
  • Andreas C. Knigge , Richard Marschall (ed.): The great Hal Foster book. Carlsen, Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-551-02816-8 ( Carlsen Studio ).
  • Krause, Horst-Burkhardt: Middle Ages in speech bubbles. On the reception of the Middle Ages in comics . In: Kühnel, J. u. a .: Medieval Reception II. Lectures of the 2nd Salzburg Symposium , Kümmerle, 1982, ISBN 978-3-87452-574-9 , pp. 281-299.
  • Hubert Mittler: Prince Eisenherz or the Middle Ages in the speech bubble. The image of knights and chivalry between 1000 and 1200 in selected historicizing comics. Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main et al. 2008, ISBN 978-3-631-57405-8 ( Children's and youth culture, literature and media 54), (At the same time: Dortmund, Univ., Diss., 2007).
  • Hubert Mittler: In the forest of medieval fictions. The image of the Middle Ages in the comic series Prinz Eisenherz and The Towers of Bois-Maury. In: Dietrich Grünewald (Hrsg.): Structure and history of comics, contributions to comic research. Ch. A. Bachmann Verlag, Bochum 2010, ISBN 978-3-941030-04-6 , pp. 155-177.

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