Rip1 Cvr
Okay! Finally some good news! IDW is planning to add Alex Raymond’s gorgeous Rip Kirby to its deluxe comic strip reprint series, with the first Dean Mullaney-edited volume due in September:

Following the Eisner-award winning Terry and the Pirates, IDW’s Library of American Comics will present Alex Raymond’s modernist classic Rip Kirby in a definitive five-volume archival hardcover series.

Edited and designed by Dean Mullaney, Rip Kirby will contain every daily from the strip’s inception in 1946 through Alex Raymond’s tragic death in 1956. “It’s going to look gorgeous,” Mullaney says. “We are reproducing the strips from pristine syndicate proofs that will allow readers to see, for the first time, the full luxurious detail of Raymond’s brushwork.”

Rip Kirby was the first hip and cool detective in newspaper comics. Created by Alex Raymond when he was deactivated from the Marines after World War II, it was a fresh approach to the genre, a departure from the prevailing hard-boiled style of detective fiction. Rip Kirby was urbane and cerebral, and used scientific methods as often as he used his fists when solving crimes and mysteries. But there was still plenty of action — Kirby was an All-American athlete and decorated war hero.

Co-written with Ward Greene, Rip Kirby often addressed contemporary issues, including trafficking in black market babies and the attempt to limit the proliferation of atomic and biological weapons. The supporting cast was comprised of Rip’s valet and assistant, Desmond, and plenty of breathtaking women, particularly Rip’s girlfriend, Honey Dorian, and the raven-haired and aptly-named Pagan Lee. Highly conscious of the fashions of the day, Raymond brought post-war and early-50s chic and fashion to the comics page, dressing his female characters in ultra-chic clothes obviously inspired by Dior’s “New Look.”

The strip also signified a grand departure, both thematically and artistically, from Raymond’s first major creation, Flash Gordon. With Rip Kirby, Raymond wedded his incomparable brushwork to a sweeping approach to storytelling and camera movement that was missing in the more static Flash. He promulgated a new art style — one of cinematic photo-realism — that influenced such artists to follow as Stan Drake, Leonard Starr, Al Williamson, and Neal Adams.

Biographical and historic essays will be written by Brian Walker, author of the best-selling Comics Before 1945 and Comics After 1945. The first volume will have an introduction by Raymond biographer and authority Tom Roberts.


  1. Other comicstrips on my collection wishlist:
    Barnaby, by Crockett Johnson (estate playing coy)

    Rudy, by William Overgard

    Hejji, by Dr. Seuss

    King Aroo, by Jack Kent

    (Woody Allen is reissuing his comicstrip, so I’ll remove that)

  2. Honestly, when it comes to projects like this–there is no one better than Dean. He was one of the pioneers for reprint anthologies when he was at the helm of Eclipse Comics all those years ago, and now, well now, the lush deluxe packages he has been putting together at IDW really are the best of its kind in the marketplace today.

  3. I’ve heard lots of cool stuff about Rip Kirby over the years, so I’m looking forward to this.

    Does anyone know if there’s been a recent collection of Raymond’s Secret Agent X-9? That’s another one I’ve heard about but never seen; I’m kinda curious since the stories were written by Dashiell Hammett. Wikipedia says there was an X-9 version done from 1967 to 1980 with work by Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson; that sounds like it’d deserve a collection!

  4. WOW! I cannot believe it! WOWWWWW! Are you kidding me? I love it. I love it. Master Alex Raymond is finally getting reprinted. I cannot believe this is finally getting a print that it deserves. I know now that this beauty will be reprinted in awesome HC style. Dean and IDW bring some fantastic news.

    I love IDW: Terry Pirates, Rip Kirby, Scorchy Smith, Spaghetti Brothers, Torpedo, and more great drawn stories…yeah, bring them on…

    I cannot wait.

  5. Infortunately, IDW did not use syndicate proofs (what was the reason?) and many, many of the strips were pooooorly reproduced. I’ve seen many of the same strips produced in foreign editions so clear and magnificently showing Raymond’s art, while in this IDW editions the same strips were murky and obviously scanned/photoshot from various sources, definitely not from syndicate proofs. Why did they lie to us?

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