Comments on Frank Godwin’s “Rusty Riley,” and in particular, regarding the first Sunday “Rusty Riley” . . .

I recently obtained an example of the first Sunday episode of Frank Godwin’s Rusty Riley, as extracted from a newspaper (June 27, 1948).  I am almost positive I already have an example of it somewhere, as I have (I think) a reasonably complete run of the Sunday Rusty Riley strips.  But I somehow was attracted to it, and I was the only bidder.

Here is a link to the eBay auction:

Rusty Riley auction.

The first thing obvious about it is that it’s a “third” (third-page strip), and not a half.  In another post, I stated some information about Rusty Riley formats.  Thirds are nice, but halves are better — far better!  Thus it is unfortunate that the vast majority of the Rusty Riley Sundays that I have seen for sale have been thirds.  I don’t know the exact ratio of thirds to halves, but it would not surprise me if 90% of the Rusty Riley Sunday strips in my collection are thirds. It almost goes without saying that the syndicate offered the strip in thirds and halves throughout its run.  On the tabloids, I don’t really know, but I imagine that it was always offered in tabloids.  But I have relatively few Rusty Riley tabloids in my collection — maybe one or two dozen as a wild guess.

An interesting feature of the Rusty Riley strip in the eBay auction is that Rusty’s jacket is white.  In the Sunday strips, it is almost always pictured as brown.

Like I said, I think I have another example of the first Sunday Rusty Riley.  I think it is a third as well, so I probably will not be able to compare the third to the half.  But a few of the panels look a bit “cramped” in their composition.  There are also one or two other anomalies–for instance, in the fourth panel, Tex is not wearing his vest.  I wonder whether the problems arose because of modifications made to convert the half to a third.

Also, the first strip hints at the especially effective use of color that was seen in at least some of the Rusty Riley Sunday strips.

—Tom Sawyer

July 6, 2012

(About 357 words.)

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