Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth told us at Book Expo America that the company has acquired (or in one case, re-acquired) the rights to reprint two classic adventure strips with long and illustrious histories:  Prince Valiant and Wash Tubbs & Captain Easy.  

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.  


NBM collection Vol. 3
Fantagraphics will also begin releasing its collections of Wash Tubbs and its successor strip Captain Easy in 2009.  Sundays will be printed in color; dailies in black and white.  Although the two strips ran an incredible 64 years, from 1924 to 1988, creator Roy Crane’s work ran only until 1943.  NBM released an 18-volume series collecting the Crane years from 1987 to 1992.

The market for strip reprints has been expanded dramatically in recent years, primarily because bookstores have become a more receptive environment for them.  Groth said that Fantagraphics’ Peanuts collections, for example, sell roughly ten times larger numbers in bookstores than they do in comic stores.  Other collections with less mass appeal sell only four to five times better in bookstores, Groth said.