Frank Godwin’s “Rusty Riley” original art — and Illustration House in New York . . .

In 1996 (according to an exhibit catalog), Illustration House, in New York, held an exhibit of comic strip art to celebrate the centennial of the comic strip.  They issued a catalog of the exhibit, which was largely a sales catalog, but it included listings for quite a few works that were not for sale.

I don’t think that the exhibition was a place to grab any bargains, and I suspect that the comic-strip centennial provided a lot of public awareness of comic strips, their history, and their value.

I’ll mention below some of the highest prices from the catalog, but remember, this was about seventeen years ago.

Foster, Tarzan Sunday, $9,000

Foster, Prince Valiant Sunday (partial), $9,000

Herriman, Krazy Kat Sunday, $8,000

Hogarth, Tarzan Sunday, $4,500

Raymond, Flash Gordon Sunday, $29,000

Schulz, Peanuts daily, $3,800

Now the thing that really interested me was number 95, a Rusty Riley Sunday from September 27, 1959.  I knew that had to be one of the last Sunday Rusty Riley strips — and that was my main interest in it.  It was not pictured in the catalog.  As I recall, I bought it sight-unseen, after discussing it with Fred Taraba, a dealer in illustration art who was then employed by Illustration House.

The price was $550.  That seemed quite a high price at that time.

–Tom Sawyer

October 18, 2013

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4 Responses to Frank Godwin’s “Rusty Riley” original art — and Illustration House in New York . . .

  1. Dennis Wilcutt says:

    I have done an interview with Diane Godwin which will be published in the first RR reprint book by Charles Pelto. Very good interview with quite a few insights about her father. She guessed that the last Connie was done in the late 1940’s or very early 1941.

  2. Hi Dennis,

    I had a lot of posts regarding the dating of the Connie comic strip which are now private, for various reasons that it would take too long to get into at this time. But Diane Godwin’s statement is consistent with what I said about the Sunday strip.

    In a nutshell, my conclusions included the following. The most recent Connie Sunday that Frank Godwin plainly drew was the December 8, 1940, strip. After that, Godwin may still have been involved in the Sunday strip, in some way (maybe in some penciling, for example), but the inking does not appear to have been done only by Godwin.

    There were at least four Sundays after that December 8, 1940, strip — that I know of. Godwin’s name did not even appear on the last two of the four. Whether the Sundays continued after that, I have no concrete evidence one way or another.

    The foregoing is kind of simplified. For instance, my only evidence of the December 7 and December 15 strips are Paulette strips published in Canada. I went throuhg all this in what might be called “excriciating, agonizing detail” in a series of eighteen posts entitled “Rethinking Frank Godwin’s Connie comic strip,” which are now private, at least for the time being, in part because this blog is presently attempting to focus more on the Rusty Riley strip, instead of being all over the map.

    The Ohio State University website relating to their comic-strip collection list daily strips into February 1941. It also lists a Sunday strip for January 19, 1941.


  3. Joel Sloane says:

    Hi, Tom. I came upon your blog by chance and am happy that I’m the not the only Godwin fan around. I have several originals, including a 1952 Sunday RR, half of a 1936 Connie Sunday, and even a 1940 Roy Powers daily. Glad to see someone keeping FG’s memory alive! Joel

    • Dennis Wilcutt says:

      Joel, is it possible you could scan the Connie Sunday from the original so we could see what it looks like? That is great news just to know that piece exists. Very rare, I would say.

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