Terry V1 Covers Sm
Oh yeah! Hip hip hooray! This is it! The comic that set the standard for exotic danger, adventure, romance and femme fatales. Oh yes. Six volumes from IDW starting in July, with the Sundays in color. In case you don’t get that far into the press release, Dean Mullaney, a name not heard in comicdom for quite some time, is editing and designing the series.

And in case you’ve never read TERRY AND THE PIRATES…well, you get another chance.

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


  1. Good to start the day off with news like this! Anybody planning to reprint some of Frazetta’s comic work like his White Indian? Or Van Buren’s Abbie ‘n Slats?

    Thanks for the news, Heidi.

  2. DAMN! I didn’t get a chance to stop and see IDW’s wares at the WIZLA show, (only BSing with Dan Taylor) but Milton Caniff is one of the MASTERS of cartooning, so you damn well know this is ending up on my shelf beside Kirby and Wood.

    IDW wins the internet today.

  3. The folks at Checker should take notice of the cover design in the preview art, assuming it’s the actual cover for one of the volumes.
    You wouldn’t think it’s possible to screw up a Caniff drawing, but they’ve proved otherwise with their Steve Canyon collections.
    Glad someone else is doing this. Also the dimensions of the book look more sensible for a newspaper stip than the Checker format.

  4. To answer various questions about Terry, it is NOT in the Peanuts size/design. Terry will be larger: oblong, 11″ x 8.5″, Sundays in color. The first volume is a whopping 368 pages. I am editing and designing, and have been waiting 25 years for the chance to do Terry the right way. I assure all that the package will live up to the material. Howard Chaykin has written the first intro; Pete Hamill is writing the second.

  5. >> I approached IDW with the imprint because they are dedicated to
    the highest possible production values, and care deeply about the
    books they publish. Working alongside Ted Adams, Chris Ryall and
    Robbie Robertson reminds me of the old days at Eclipse Comics,
    because everyone works hard, has fun, and is producing the best
    work of their lives.

  6. Fantastic! Cant wait. I would have loved even bigger format like 10 x 15 inches but this is great too. I love this. These will sell real good. I would love to see another of my 3 favorite strip/comics reprinted by IDW [since I see they know how to do it with quality hardcover editions]:

    1. Rip Kirby by Alex Raymond [in such a high demand but hardly anyone has done it: hardcover oblong …how about the whole strip across 2 pages! man would the art show so nicely…]
    2.Johnny Hazard by Frank Robbins
    2. Steve Canyon by Canniff —Checkers did horrible job: so tiny and I cant read it even with magnifier. Horrible and softcover too.

  7. I grew up with Terry, johnny Hazard, Smilin’ JACK, pRINCE vALIANT, bRENDA sTARR AND LATER sTEVE canyon. I can’t believe I can now own the complete Terry. I want the wole series and just when is iit availabe. Do I pay for the wole thing ahead of time or as each book is availabe? I am a rabid Terry fan and had crush on Burma as a kid. I CAN’T wait for the wole collection. Many, many thanks

  8. Ric,
    I read somewhere that each volume will be available about 3 months apart which is perfect time to save a few dollars for each one. I think there will be six of them. And then I hope Dean and IDW jump at Rip Kirby, Johhny Hazard or Steve Canyon :)

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