My all-time favorite “Rusty Riley” Sunday original art . . .

In the most recent post, I talked about one of my favorite Rusty Riley daily strips (original art).  I have quite a  few daily pieces, and I may have ten or fifteen “favorites,” of which I would be hard-pressed to designate my favorite.

That is not really the case with my Sunday art.  I have ten Rusty Riley Sunday strips (original art), and I have one that I like more than the others.  (But if I had the choice of all Sundays, I am sure I would find some I like more than this one.  So this is my favorite of those in my collection.)

As I said, there is one I like more than the others.  And that is saying something, because my Sundays were probably the result of quite a bit of thought and pondering by me.  If I recall correctly, I bought one at the San Diego Comic Con maybe 15 years ago.  Then after that Comic Con, I followed up with one of the dealers and bought one through the mail.  At least one I bought on eBay, from Bruce Bergstrom.  I bought one from Illustration House.  Two I bought (at what I thought were high prices) from another collector, or I guess I can call him a collector-dealer.  (I’m not sure of the sequence of those purchases.)

Another one I think I bought directly from another collector, or maybe he sold it on eBay.  That is the one I want to discuss now.  It is the Sunday Rusty Riley art for May 5, 1957.  There is a little story behind that, and if I remember correctly, it goes something like this.  Dave Karlen sold it to a collector.  Unfortunately I had been asleep at the switch, and didn’t buy it myself.  It showed up posted on the Comic Art Fans sight.  In the course of time, the buyer decided to sell it.  I think he must have placed it on eBay.  Anyway, I bought it from him, and I have possessed it happily ever since.

However, before I bought it, and during a time when I wasn’t certain I would have a chance to buy it, I found the art from two weeks before that (April 21, 1957), and I bought that.

Anyway, back on the strip for May 5, 1957, for me, it “has it all.”  It appears to be the final strip in that story, which involved the theft of trophies belonging to Patty’s dad, Quentin Miles.  The strip ties up the story, and the last panel seems to set up the next story.  The strip has eight panels, all beautifully composed.  However, the main thing I like about it is the fact that it is filled with major characters, in all panels.  (There are also other reasons I like this strip, in addition to the ones mentioned.)

The following image is of most of the seventh panel, which shows all of the major (ongoing) characters other than Flip and Tex.  It’s a great composition (Mr. Miles is not wholly shown here), although I am a little bothered by the fact that Rusty’s head is faced toward the viewer.  But that provides a little transition between the rest of the panel and Patty, who is changing the tone and setting up the final panel.

IMG_4933 books

No Flip, and no Tex, but the other major characters are all well represented.  I feel like I have discussed this in another post, but the breakdown is as follows:

Panel 1:  Patty, Helen, Rusty, Buck

Panel 2:  Rusty

Panel 3:  Buck, Rusty, Helen, Patty

Panel 4:  Rusty, Buck, Helen

Panel 5:  Helen, Patty, Rusty, Buck

Panel 6:  Patty, Rusty, Helen, Buck

Panel 7:  Mr. Miles, Buck, Helen, Rusty, Patty

Panel 8:  Patty, Mr. Miles

(In this discussion, I am disregarding the “real” first panel, which has a typical photostat.)

So, Patty is in 7 panels.  Rusty is in 7.  Buck is in 6.  Helen is in 5.  Mr. Miles is in 2.  Character-wise, it doesn’t get much better than that!

—Tom Sawyer

November 14, 2013

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