I am collecting comic books for 25 years already and know my heroes. But on a day somewhere in 1982 I bought a second hand and in bad shape book from Semic, the Dutch Valiant publisher. I was astonished! This was the best knight comic ever made. It was also more or less the first serious one ever produced, started in 1937. Many other knight comics are since then based on Valiant.
Offcourse I started to collect all Semic press books. I studied the Dutch comic catalogue (with all Dutch language comics ever made; over 40.000!) and came to the conclusion that it was not too difficult to collect all Dutch Prins Valiant books. It cost me a few years to collect all of them. A few years indeed, because it was only possible to buy these books on comic trade fairs and with comic book shops. There was no internet, remember! Further on there was nobody who knows much about our hero and I didnít find any other fans in the Netherlands, let alone the rest of the world, which was very big for me by that time! So, I believed the comic catalogue was correct and on a certain moment I had everything stated there.
Offcourse that was not correct, I know by now. Put Prince Valiant in a search engine on Internet and you get 50.000 hits. So there is more, much much more.
Lucky enough I was not aware of that in 1985. Junior Press takes over the Dutch editions of Semic and continues to publish new books every year. That was a beautiful and relaxes time. As a fanatic collector I was satisfied that I had all PV books.
In 1992 it became quit with Junior Press after book 53 (plate 2375). Junior Press was present on the main comic fair that year and I was going there to ask for their plans. Perhaps there was a printing problem with book 54? The girl behind the stand was telling me un-interested that there were no new books scheduled. The publisher stopped with our hero. I didnít know how it feels to get hit by a hammer on the head, but it must be similar like that moment. To make it even worse the last book, 53, was called ďthe big lossĒ. Was that by purpose? I now believe so.
By that time I knew that Valiant was still being published on a weekly base in that far away country, America. So there was material enough to keep on publishing. Was there somebody else who put my hero on printing paper?
This was the moment that my search for the Holy Grail, Ö.eh Book was starting.
In the Dutch comic catalogue some foreign publishers are stated and I asked the writer of the catalogue if he had some addresses. He had. He had the postal address of Pollischansky verlag in Austria. I wrote a letter (no no, no email, a Letter) and surprisingly they sent me a fax with current publications. I bought the material which was continuing were Junior Press stopped. They published everything up to plate 2553. And that was it. Nothing more. But I had an other address, Carlsen Verlag in Germany. Again writing letters and again they could help me with some additional material. Now I was helped all the way up to page 3000.
Back to the collecting activities again. Throughout these foreign publishers I came in contact with more and more foreign material. But everything was going slow. Still by letter, fax and trade-fair. But I was still happy; having all the material I could imagine there was ever published.
And then there was the Internet. There was nothing wrong with that, but together with Internet there came Ebay, e-comic shops, forums, libraries online, museums online and more and more. And more and more. I wasnít happy in these days with everything I found, realizing that I had NOT everything. You couldnít see Prince Valiant throughout the trees any more. There was simply too much. I realised that there were two major markets, the US and European market. These markets are not in contact with each other and still donít have the slightest idea what is happening in PV land. Cheap German editions of PV are sold in the US for loads of money as being special! And the other way round too.
I realized that somebody should order all this information and store it for future generations and fellow enthusiasts. And by reason that nobody was doing it already I decide that that somebody must be me. I started buying foreign PV work if needed to obtain more information and started also to contact fellow experts around the world.
The result of all my work went into the digital air on 1st of April 2004.