It is not easy to identify stories which have Frank Godwin’s best “Rusty Riley” art . . .

In an earlier post, I questioned a certain opinion, in an eBay listing, that dealt with the “castle and raft” story.  I know a lot of people like the “castle and raft” sequence.  I do, too, but from what I know of it, it is not consistently outstanding, although quite a few of the strips of that story are outstanding.

However, I did not really give any examples of Frank Godwin art (specific daily episodes), from other Rusty Riley stories, which I felt compared favorably with the best of the “castle and raft” strips, at least from the standpoint of the art.

In this post, I will show images of a few such examples.  These will be based on strips extracted from newspaper issues (of The San Francisco Examiner), because I don’t own the original art from any of the strips shown.  The strips were printed six on a page, which is quite unusual.

From March 7, 1958:

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From July 15, 1957:

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From June 27, 28, and 29, 1957 (first panels from each strip):

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In terms of the quality of the drawings, the examples above are at least as good as any other Godwin comic-strip art I have seen.  As to the bottom four, there is a lot of talking (not much action), and Rusty only appears in a single panel of the bottom four.  So, they are not necessarily prime examples of great Rusty Riley strips.  But my main point is that the art in all of the images shown above is of the highest caliber.  I would not like to single-out any one story as an example of Godwin’s best work.

I know that not all of the Rusty Riley strips have such brilliant drawings as those shown above.  Maybe sometime I will identify a few strips that are not in the same category as the foregoing.

—Tom Sawyer

December 22, 2013

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