Introducing: Mary! Or, at least, images of her . . .

I am quite fascinated by the Rusty Riley strip — I am not talking just about the stories as they play out, but by the “reality” that frank Godwin managed to create.  I know that it is fiction, but — as many people view the Sherlock Holmes stories — I see the Rusty Riley world as having a reality of its own.  I look at the Connie strips in the same way.

So, when a character is introduced, that is important.  And here I am talking about Mary.   As I hope I have made clear, I do not know for certain that she was introduced in the final daily story.  But that is the earliest I know of her.

I would love to have a Rusty Riley daily (original art) that portrays Mary.  Even if she wasn’t around long, I think she would have been, if Godwin had lived longer.  But even though she is not in any of the original art I own, I can’t complain, because I do have quite a few nice ones from that same final story in which Mary appeared.

Anyway, below is an image from the first panel I know of that portrays her.  This is from the strip for July 7, 1959.  (Godwin passed away about a month after this episode appeared.)  Patty is on the left, and Mary is on the right (in the back).  This panel shows that Godwin could show, essentially, the backs of the heads of the two main characters, and still have an effective composition:

Mary

Above, Mary appears to be totally one of the group — not at all an outsider or second-banana.

Below is quite a clear image of what Mary looked like.  This image also shows how well Godwin could differentiate between characters, with hair-styles and facial features.  But for good measure, Godwin has included one of Patty’s trademarked hair-bows.  This panel is from the daily strip for July 14, 1959:

Patty and Mary

—Tom Sawyer

December 16, 2013

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