PART 1 — “Rusty Riley” Sunday strips versus “Rusty Riley” daily strips: Are the dailies really more detailed?

In this post, I am going to discuss Rusty Riley, specifically the Sunday strips versus the daily strips.  I am mainly addressing original art, but I suppose that a lot of what I say here will also apply to the strips as they appeared in newspapers.

I think that there is a danger that collectors may pigeon-hole examples of Frank Godwin’s Sunday and daily art for the Rusty Riley comic strip.  For instance, you may see or hear generalizations along the lines that the daily strips were more fully developed, and more intricate, than the Sunday strips.  Even if this is valid as a generalization (and I am not sure that it is, at least in the absence of a lot more discussion on what it means), there are probably a great many of Godwin’s daily strips that are extremely lean, pared-down, lacking in intricacy — that type of thing.

By the same token, a lot of the Sunday strips are remarkably detailed.

Below is shown a section of a panel from a Rusty Riley Sunday.  In the panel shown, there is about as much detail as one could want or expect.

A detail from the original art for the June 23, 1957, Sunday "Rusty Riley," showing the type of considerable detail often found in "Rusty Riley" Sunday art.  The characters are Buck, Rusty, Buck's sister Helen, and Patty.

A detail from the original art for the June 23, 1957, Sunday “Rusty Riley,” showing the type of considerable detail often found in “Rusty Riley” Sunday art. The characters are Buck, Rusty, Buck’s sister Helen, and Patty.

Below is shown almost an entire panel from a daily Rusty Riley.  There is not much detail shown.

This image is from Frank Godwin's daily "Rusty Riley" art for April 9, 1956 -- not a lot of detail here.

This image is from Frank Godwin’s daily “Rusty Riley” art for April 9, 1956 — not a lot of detail here.

The foregoing two examples fly in the face of the notion that the Sunday strips are more detailed than the dailies.  The examples shown are not necessarily typical, but such examples are probably quite common.

Of course, the Sunday strips are larger than the daily strips.  That is, the Sunday originals are larger than the daily originals.  (And the usual printed versions of the Sundays are larger than the usual printed versions of the dailies.)  On the whole, it stands to reason that the large art would be expected to have less detail “per square inch.”

This would be especially so, if the Sunday art was reduced more in size (for printing) than the daily art — but it was not.  The reality was that the Sunday art was reduced significantly less than the daily art.  On the other hand, this tends to make the published versions of the daily versions look more detailed than they would appear (if both the Sunday art and daily art had been reduced the same amount).

So, is the Sunday art less detailed, and less developed, than the Sunday daily art?  It depends on which examples you are considering, and on the standards that you are applying.

—Tom Sawyer

November 6, 2013

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2 Responses to PART 1 — “Rusty Riley” Sunday strips versus “Rusty Riley” daily strips: Are the dailies really more detailed?

  1. Dennis Wilcutt says:

    For me, I have nearly the first six years of the RR dailies. I also have most all the Sundays on either printed Sundays or on DVD. I do not think the Sundays come close to what Godwin did on the dailies. That is just my opinion.

  2. Joel Sloane says:

    Yes, the Sundays are considerably less detailed than the dailies for the simple reason that in the Sundays Godwin relied on COLOR to add detail; in the dailies he added graphic detail to compensate for the lack of color. I thought this was obvious

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