(New York - Nov, 15, 2004) - King Features Syndicate has appointed Mark Schultz as the new writer of Prince Valiant, the epic Arthurian legend-based adventure strip. Beginning with the Nov. 21, 2004, release, Schultz will partner with esteemed artist Gary Gianni to chronicle the travails of King Arthur, Camelot and the Knight of the Round Table. Schultz succeeds writer Cullen Murphy, who decided to discontinue writing the strip after his father and collaborator on Prince Valiant died earlier this year.
Mark Schultz, the new writer of King Features' Prince Valiant adventure strip
The powerful artistic combination of mark Schultz and Gary Gianni is viewed as an artistic dream team amongst those who revere highly illustrative adventure art. Schultz and Gianni, who are each known and respected for their superb, illustrative drawings and rich, graphic storytelling, mutually understand what makes a comic strip like Prince Valiant both a thrilling action strip and an engaging human interest story.
"I believe that Mark Schultz is the right choice to follow in Cullen Murphy's talented footsteps," says King Features editor in chief Jay Kennedy. " He knows how to write a story that is to be told visually. He and Prince Valiant artist Gary Gianni have great respect for one another. They will be at their best, performing for each other, to the readers' benefit and enjoyment."
A fan of Prince Valiant since childhood, Schultz defines his new job as his "boyhood dream come true." "As a young, aspiring artist, the strip's consummate artistry and sweeping vision captivated my attention. My love for the characters and concept, along with my respect for the achievements of the men creating the strip, continues to increase as I spend more time with the strip," says Schultz.
An accomplished writer, Schultz is an equally accomplished artist. "Because mark is highly skilled as an artist and writer, he brings a strong visual sense to the telling of Prince Valiant's story. Working with Mark is great fun. Readers will see that joy reflected in the intensity of the drawing I put into Mark's scripts," says Gianni.
Created by Hal Foster in 1937 and syndicated to 350 newspapers worldwide, Prince Valiant has been deemed the best of the illustrated adventure strips to emerge from the Golden Age and is regarded as fine art by collectors and critics alike.
"In spite of 70 years of continued stories, I think there are still themes that have never been explored. Given the fact that readers bring 21st century concerns with them, I hope to achieve an updating of sorts that has readers exclaiming that Prince Valiant is having another renaissance," says Schultz.
Strongly influenced by his love of classic American illustration and its roots, Schultz has been awarded many industry awards, including five Harvey's two Eisners, an Inkpot, a Spectrum and three Haxturs Awards. In 2003, he illustrated a collection of Robert E. Howard's original Conan stories for Wandering Star, and wrote a Pocket Books novel based on DC Comics' Flash character. Schultz also scripts a Batman strip that appears on AOL's "Kids On Line" Web site and he is working on illustrations for Almuric, another of Robert E. Howard's adventures.
"Scripting Prince Valiant give me the rare chance to work on a classic adventure strip, in an adventurous genre that I personally love," Schultz said. "Most importantly, Gary and I want to make our readers feel that they personally know Prince Valiant and the rest of the cast, while never leaving them with a dull moment. We want readers to go crazy waiting for the next week's Sunday funnies to come."
ABOUT MARK SCHULTZ
Born in 1955 near Philadelphia and raised outside Pittsburgh, Penn., Mark Schultz at age six, discovered comic books (Dell Comics' Tarzan and DC Comics' Superman, Metal Men and Hawkman), and classic adventure films (King Kong and the Tarzan series). As a teenager, he was inspired by the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, and the illustrators associated with them, namely Al Williamson, Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta.
Upon graduating from Kutztown State College in 1977, Schultz devoted his career to producing commercial illustrations until 1986. Giving into a long-repressed desire to tell stories, he wrote Xenozoic Tales, a series of comic books published by Kitchen Sink Press. Xenozoic Tales blended genres in exquisitely drawn and told stories featuring jet-powered Cadillacs and fearsome dinosaurs. A critical and commercial success, Xenozoic Tales was adapted to a CBS television animated series aptly named Cadillacs and Dinosaurs.
In recent years, Schultz co-created and co-wrote SubHuman, an underwater adventure series for Dark Horse Comics, and he scripted DC Comics' Superman, Man of Steel from 1998 to 2003. He continues to write and draw Xenozoic stories, as well as produce scripts and cover art for various comic book projects including Star Wars, Aliens and Predator.