One of the weirdest “Rusty Riley” stories, 62 years ago — in fact, probably one of the weirdest stories in any comic strip that usually has somewhat “normal” settings — eohippuses and a saber-toothed tiger . . .

One of the weirdest stories in the whole Rusty Riley saga has to be the story which dealt with the retrieval of miniature “horses” on a remote plateau in the Grand Canyon.  They were, of course, eohippuses, previously thought to be extinct.  Rusty and Mr. Miles were among the participants in the expedition.

A lot of great art by Frank Godwin went into the story, and the strips hark back to Connie, with fabulous settings and great adventure.  The story starts on October 1, 1951, and ends on December 31, 1951 — or possibly January 1, 1952.  (I seem to be missing the January 1, 1952, newspaper strip.)  For the Rusty Riley strip in general, which typically has more or less “everyday” settings, this breaks the mold.  (But I should probably mention that the story preceding the eohippus story was an international adventure in which Rusty helps track-down a spy.  No, really.)

Below is a portion of the daily strip (from a newspaper) for November 22, 1951 — 66 years ago today.  You can see Rusty, holding three of the eohippuses.  This panel is pretty good, but it pales a little in comparison to some of the others in the story.

eohippus

Unfortunately for me, the newspaper from which this strip was taken did some serious cropping before printing, I suppose to help make room for more strips.  The lower-right corner shown above is the lower-right corner of the printed strip.  The signature box is almost entirely missing!  As I recall, I have one or more strips — not from the same story — where a speech balloon (or some other wording) was moved!

—Tom Sawyer

November 22, 2013

P.S.  I forgot to mention the saber-toothed cat.  One appears in the story.  Mr. Miles shoots it!

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