Comics / Comics News

Terry And The Pirate Reprints

By The Editor
March 22, 2007 - 23:51

Celebrating the centennial of Milton Caniff ’s birth, IDW Publishing  will publish a fully authorized six-book series collecting the  entirety of Caniff ’s groundbreaking newspaper adventure strip Terry  and the Pirates. The Sunday pages will be reproduced in their  original color, alongside the daily black-and-white strips.

No cartoonist has so heavily influenced his medium as has Milton  Caniff, and no comic strip has had more imitators than Terry and the  Pirates. He is considered the great American novelist of the comics  medium.

“In Terry and the Pirates,” wrote Jerry Robinson in The Comics,  “all the storytelling techniques of the adventure strip fused and a  classic style emerged. Caniff developed and integrated the narrative  and its visual expression into a uniform aesthetic balance.” Jules  Feiffer noted, “Before Caniff introduced the Dragon Lady to Pat  Ryan, before Burma and Raven Sherman and Normandie Drake fell for our  hero, there was not a hint of sex to be found in the American  newspaper strip. Caniff changed all that.”

Terry and the Pirates provided the vehicle for Caniff's maturation  both as an artist and as a storyteller. He set the strip in exotic  China, where historic events then occurring in the region during the  1930s provided the raw material from which he blended fantasy and  reality to create an extraordinary graphic narrative. Howard Chaykin,  who has written the introduction to Volume One, says, “It's  historically the first, and for my money, greatest example of what we  do. The evolution of what Caniff did with Terry in his first year is  unbelievable. It's pure core storytelling.”

The story introduces young Terry Lee, his adult pal Pat Ryan, their  sidekick Connie, as well as an array of unforgettable brigands such  as Captains Judas and Blaze, and the two toughest women to ever sail  on the China Seas: the alluring Burma and the inimitable Dragon Lady.

Volume One, to be published in July, contains more than 800  consecutive strips, from the series' beginning in October 1934  through the end of 1936. An informed essay provides biographical  material, and places Caniff ’s seminal work in the context of both  comic strip history and of the real-world events reflected in the  stories.

The Complete Terry and the Pirates also launches a new imprint for  IDW: The Library of American Comics. “There's no better comic strip  to inaugurate The Library of American Comics than Milton Caniff's masterpiece," says series editor and designer Dean Mullaney. "This is the definitive edition of the definitive adventure series (NBM’s long out-of-print collections printed the color in separate volumes from the B&Ws). The books will be oversized, 11” x 8.5” oblong, in order to showcase the richness of Caniff ’s art and storytelling. All Sunday pages have been lovingly restored from the original color pages culled from my private collection, and supplemented by the Cartoon Research Library at Ohio State University.”

Color is essential to Terry. The syndicate had dedicated engravers working on his Sundays. Caniff was thrilled, “I never had a chance like this in my life to do real newspaper color…Right from the start, I started using the most elaborate color schemes I could get.” Future editions will be released on a quarterly schedule.

* * * * *

Born in Hillsboro, Ohio in 1907, Milton Caniff received two Reuben awards from the National Cartoonists Society, the Exceptional Service Award of the United States Air Force, as well as the nickname "the Rembrandt of the comic strip."

The Complete Terry and the Pirates joins IDW’s ongoing The Complete Dick Tracy series presenting the best examples of the American newspaper comic strip.

A Library of American Comics Original THE COMPLETE TERRY AND THE  PIRATES Vol. 1: 1934-1936 by Milton Caniff
Introduction by Howard Chaykin
Hardcover, 11” X 8.5”
Full Color & B&W • 368 pages, with index
$49.99, ISBN: 978-1-60010-100-7

9-copy counter display, $449.91, ISBN: 978-1-60010-124-3

Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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