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Cullen Murphy (AC 1974) Prince Valiant Comic Collection

Identifier: MA.01000

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises Prince Valiant comic orginal materials, including pencil sketches, story scripts, and illustration scripts drawn and written by Hal Foster, as well as original illustrations by John Cullen Murphy. Also included in this collection is a Stan Drake original comic strip.

The collection highlights the collaboration between Hal Foster, creator of the Prince Valiant comic, and John Cullen Murphy, Foster's successor and illustrator of the comic beginning in 1971. This collection contains two comprehensive examples of their collaborative process: both the original scripts drawn and written by Hal Foster, as well as the final artwork created from the scripts by John Cullen Murphy for pages #1843 and #1939.

Cullen Murphy, John Cullen Murphy's son, replaced Hal Foster as the script writer in 1980. Father and son continued to collaborate on the comic strip until 2004. This collection contains over 80 pages of John Cullen Murphy's original artwork in comic strip layout drawn from the scripts written by Cullen Murphy.


  • Creation: 1971-2000


Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Cullen Murphy (AC 1974) Prince Valiant Comic Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Cullen Murphy (AC1974) Prince Valiant Comic Collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Prince Valiant was created by Hal (Harold Rudolf) Foster and was first published on February 13, 1937. The strip consisted of one full newspaper page published in color once a week. Pages were numbered consecutively.

Hal Foster wrote and drew the strip himself until 1971 when he entered semi-retirement. John Cullen Murphy, a professional cartoonist and illustrator, took over drawing Prince Valiant based on rough pencil sketches and story scripts supplied by Foster. There was a period of transition between pages 1756 (Foster) and 1789 (Murphy) when Murphy, Foster, and other artists drew the strip. John Cullen Murphy is responsible for all of the pages from 1789 through 3501. Page 2241 (20 January 1980) is the last credited to Hal Foster. In February 1980, John Cullen Murphy began signing his name on each page and the phrase "Created by Hal Foster" was added to the Prince Valiant logo. From 1980 until his retirement in 2004, John Cullen Murphy's son -- Cullen Murphy (AC 1974) -- provided the story scripts for the weekly pages. John Cullen Murphy's daughter, Mairead (Meg) lettered and colored the strip beginning in 1988. Page 3501, published 14 March 2004, was the last illustrated by John Cullen Murphy. Gary Gianni took over the comic strip with page 3502.


5.5 Linear feet (2 half archives boxes, 4 oversize flat boxes)

Language of Materials



The Cullen Murphy (AC 1974) Prince Valiant Comic Collection contains sketches, story and illustration scripts, and original artwork in final panel layout created by Hal (Harold Rudolf) Foster and John Cullen Murphy from 1971-2004. Also includes a single panel comic by Stan Drake.


This collection is organized into three series:

  1. Series 1: Hal Foster: Sketches, Story Scripts and Illustration Scripts
  2. Series 2: John Cullen Murphy: Original Artwork in Final Panel Layout
  3. Series 3: Stan Drake: Heart of Juliet Jones Daily Comic Strip 6-6

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Prince Valiant Comic Collection was a gift of Cullen Murphy (AC 1974) in 2011.

Chris Barber
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299