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King of the Royal Mounted: [Newspaper serial]
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v. : col. ill. ; 43 cm.
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[Winnipeg]: [Winnipeg Free Press], [193-?]-[1954?]
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All researchers (including students, faculty, visiting scholars, and members of the general public) must submit a Retrieval Request Form at least 24 hours before their visit to Bruce Peel Special Collections in order to be sure that library materials have been retrieved from storage and are available for their use.
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Western adventure series featuring Corporal, and later Sergeant, Dave King of the R.C.M.P. King of the Royal Mounted began as a weekly newspaper feature in 1935 and, in March 1936, a daily strip was added. King of the Royal Mounted ceased publication as a newspaper strip in March 1954.
King of the Royal Mounted appeared in various Canadian newspapers, including the weekly agricultural supplement of the Winnipeg Free press. According to the Manitoba newspaper checklist with library holdings, 1859-1986 ([Winnipeg]: Manitoba Library Association, 1986), the supplement was published, under a variety of titles, from 15 March 1916 to 21 July 1965. The Lund Comics Collection holds a large set of King of the Mounted strips extracted from issues of the Free press Prairie farmer and Free press weekly Prairie farmer.
Holdings: 1 January 1941 - 19 September 1945
The King of the Royal Mounted entry in the Comics kingdom Web site - available online at http://comicskingdom.com/king-of-the-royal-mounted (accessed 23 January 2017) - possesses what appears to be a quite complete list of the stories presented in the newspaper serial.
King of the Royal Mounted's Canadian locale made it a somewhat unusual western series, but "its themes were easily recognizable and never strayed from the tried-and-true conventions of the genre. From the snow fields of the Yukon to the endless plains of Saskatchewan, Sergeant King, true Mountie that he was, always got his man. In his fights against fur thieves, cattle rustlers, smugglers, and assorted miscreants, he was helped by his loyal sidekick, Pilot Laroux, his eternal sweetheart, Betty Blake, and her brother, Kid." ("King of the Royal Mounted" in Maurice Horn, ed., The world encyclopedia of comics, Philadelphia: Chelsea House, c1999).
Created by Stephen Slesinger for King Features Syndicate, King of the Royal Mounted was also associated with the work of noted western novelist Zane Grey. Although Grey himself likely did not provide text for the series, his son, Romer Grey, may have done some of the writing. During the 1930s through 1950s, the public profile of King of the Royal Mounted began to extend beyond its newspaper origins. Many of the strips were anthologized in various book-length collections, and, in 1936, the first of several films featuring the character was released. Indeed, the character gained such popularity, he began to appear in what, in a modern context, might be called ancillary merchandise. For example, the Lund Comics Collection holds a King of the Royal Mounted Christmas card. an item described separately in the finding aid. Similarly, promotional items containing reprintings of King of the Royal Mounted stories - such as Free comic book, Gilmore superbook of comics featuring King of the Royal Mounted, and The Cisco Kid comic album - were also produced. The Lund Comics Collection holds copies of these works, and they are described separately in the finding aid.
King of the Royal Mounted also began to be published in various magazine-style comic books. From the late 1930s onward, single-issue comics dedicated to King of the Royal Mounted began to appear. The Lund Comics Collection holds copies of a few of these - Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted, Famous feature stories, and King of the Royal Mounted (Large format comic) - and they are described separately in the finding aid.
King of the Royal Mounted also made more regular appearances as a recurring feature in two long-running series: King comics and Red Ryder comics. The Lund Comics Collection holds numerous issues of both publications, and they are described separately in the finding aid.
From 1948 to 1958, Dell Publishing Company issued a series under the title King of the Royal Mounted. The Lund Comics Collection holds what appears to be a complete set of this title, which is described separately in the finding aid.
Various international editions of King of the Royal Mounted also appear to have been produced. For example, the Lund Comics Collection holds issues of editions from Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Mexico. These titles - King of the Mounties, King of the Royal Mounted (Australian ed.), King of the Royal Mounted (U.K. ed.), Audax, and King de la Policía Montada - are described separately in the finding aid.
King of the Royal Mounted has also been reprinted in various modern collections. The Lund Comics Collection holds several examples - Nostalgia comics, King of the Royal Mounted (Dragon Lady Press), Classic adventure strips, and King de la Police montée - and they are described separately in the finding aid.
Although Stephen Slesinger is often credited with the creation of King of the Royal Mounted, the comic's origins may be more complex. The adventure strip Men of the Mounted by Ted McCall first appeared in the Toronto Telegram in February 1933 and was eventually syndicated across Canada. McCall took his idea to King Features Syndicate in hopes of U.S. syndication, but he was turned down. Shortly thereafter, King Features released King of the Royal Mounted, and McCall always felt that the company had plagiarized his idea. (Information taken from Robert MacMillan, "The War years: Anglo-American Publishing Ltd." in John Bell, ed., Canuck Comics, Montreal: Matrix Books, c1986).
McCall ceased production of Men of the Mounted in 1935, but several years later the series emerged again in the pages of two Canadian series: Three aces comics and Robin Hood comics. The Lund Comics Collection holds several issues of these titles, and they are described separately in the finding aid.
Information about the publishing history of King of the Royal Mounted is taken from the relevant entries in Maurice Horn, ed., The world encyclopedia of comics and Don Markstein's Toonopedia, available online at http://www.toonopedia.com/king-rm.htm (accessed 23 January 2017).