John Cullen Murphy, who drew the classic comic strip 'Prince Valiant', is the undisputed heir to the mantle of Hal Foster, who created the strip in 1937. Murphy always wanted to be a baseball player, but he eventually decided to become an illustrator under the guidance of his neighbor, the illustrator Norman Rockwell. Murphy earned a scolarship at the Phoenix Art Institute in New York, and his first assignments were drawing sports cartoons to promote boxing matches at Madison Square Garden. While in the Army during World War II, Murphy drew cartoons for the Chicago Tribune. Back in the States, he began to illustrate for Look, Collier's Sport, Reader's Digest and Esquire.
In 1949, comic strip writer Elliott Caplin of King Features approached Murphy with the idea for the boxing strip 'Big Ben Bolt'. The strip would last nearly 25 years. John Murphy began collaborating with Hal Foster on 'Prince Valiant' in 1970 and took over the strip when Foster retired the following year. His son, Cullen Murphy, drew the texts from 1979. John Cullen Murphy retired in March 2004. The strip was continued by artist Gary Gianni. Murphy died shortly after his retirement, in July 2004.