Comments on a special “fan-drawing” by Frank Godwin, from the collection of Murray Harris . . .

In an earlier post, I briefly discussed the concept of drawings of Rusty Riley and Connie that Frank Godwin made for fans.  In this post, I want to talk about a drawing that Godwin made for one of the all-time great fans of comic strips:  Murray A. Harris.

Here is a link to a Los Angeles Times article about Harris, from 1995:  Link.

The article has a fairly long discussion of Harris’s collecting methods, and of his collection.  One of the things he did, starting in 1916, was to send prepaid postcards to comic strip artists, accompanied by a request that they draw something on the postcard and return the postcard to him.

In my collection, I have a beautiful drawing by Frank Godwin on the “message side” of a postcard addressed to Murray A. Harris, in Massachusetts.  The postmark is from January of 1941, and it shows that the card was mailed in Washington, DC.

I bought the card many years ago on eBay.  I forget what I paid for it, but as I recall it seemed like an extremely high price at the time — and it was probably between $200 and $300.  I have really enjoyed owning it, though.

I am kind of guessing, but I probably thought, at the time, “Hey, this is a type of Godwin art — art for fans — that does not come up for sale very often, and this is an especially nice example.”  I think that in those days, reasonably “fresh” original Rusty Riley art — and quite nice examples — was coming up for sale on eBay at frequent intervals.  It was basically a whole different ball game then.

I have a very strong aversion to posting images of original Godwin art, for many reasons, so I am not posting an image of the drawing.  But I might change my mind sometime.

The drawing appears to be a combination of India ink and watercolors.  It basically comes across as a full-color watercolor of a very attractive woman’s head.  She has black hair, and she is looking forward at an angle.   She is smiling.  Within the confines of the postcard, the image is rather large.

It is difficult to read the exact date on the postmark, but in is a January 1941 date.  I find that quite interesting, because I believe that the last Connie Sunday that Frank Godwin had anything to do with was in December 1940.  I wonder whether Murray Harris learned that Godwin was leaving the Connie comic strip, and whether that might have been the immediate impetus for him writing to Godwin.

In any event, it is plain that the portrait on the card does not depict the Connie character.  It her hair were blonde, I would probably have a different opinion on that!

—Tom Sawyer

October 16, 2013

(About 453 words.)

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