Sunday, July 18, 2021

Ahead of His Time

By Guest Contributor Brian Kane

Prince Valiant creator Hal Foster was ahead of his time, tackling issues of bullying (the Giant in 1940), women’s rights (Aleta since the 1940s), bi-racial couples and children (Boltar, Tillicum and Hatha – 1952 and 1953), men showing their emotions (1940 Val, Gawain and Tristram parting – “and the tears run freely down bronzed cheeks . . . for in those days brave men had not learned to be ashamed of their emotions.”), and prejudice against the physically disabled, Jews, Arabs, and Blacks.

Because Foster never drew something without a reason, it makes me wonder if a character in Prince Valiant, page #757, August 12, 1951, panel 1, striking a traditionally feminine pose, might be gay. The crew’s reaction is to Arf, “the singer of songs who made the lonely hours of the night watch seem short.” I am not suggesting anything happened between the two, but the crew member’s reaction to Arf’s leaving needs some discussion.

The pose was not uncommon; it appeared in silent films, and is similar to that of Bugs Bunny in drag playing the Valkyrie Brünnhilde in the Chuck Jones classic “What’s Opera, Doc?” (Warner Bros., July 6, 1957 – almost six years after the Foster panel appeared). Any thoughts?


  1. IMHO he is ashamed because his work is so praised ... I have a photo from my childhood, there I stand exactly like that. And I'm not gay ;-)

  2. BTW: Prince Valiant turns 90 next year. According to Hal Foster he was five years old in 1937 ...