More on Frank Godwin’s methods: corrections of drawings . . .

For the most part, Frank Godwin did not make mistakes in his drawings.  Or, I suppose one could say that if he felt he made mistakes, he rarely corrected them.  In my collection, I have about sixty pieces of original Rusty Riley art (daily and Sunday) — depending on what I count.  (For example, I mentioned that I have five items of daily art from the period after the daily strip stopped.  Whether those should be considered Rusty Riley art is a matter of opinion.)

Anyway, although I have not meticulously examined all of them for corrections, I would guess that only three or so have corrections in the drawings.  Considering the complexity and detail in much of Godwin’s drawing, that low rate of changes is utterly astounding.  (I use the term “correction” here to cover all kinds of changes, some of which would not necessarily be considered corrections.)

Now, as to changes in lettering, that is an entirely different matter.  I have I think a fair number of strips in which the wording has been changed.  I assume that such changes (at least, after Godwin stopped lettering the strip himself) all originated with the syndicate.  Some of the changes deal with points of grammar.  As examples that might or might not be real:  perhaps, for example, whether two words needed a hyphen between them, or whether a comma is needed.  Other changes might require a few words, and I think I have probably seen examples (not necessarily in my collection) where the wording of an entire speech balloon was replaced.

From what I gather, Godwin himself had an excellent command of English grammar — and I suppose that one would rarely, if ever, see any demonstrable grammar mistakes in the strips he lettered himself (such as almost all of the Connie comic-strips).

In any event, still speaking of the lettering of Rusty Riley strips, it is evident that one or more people at the syndicate went over the strips with great care — the things that they noticed, and cared about, were (it seem) sometimes the minutest details.

But anyway, back on Godwin’s corrections on his drawings . . .

I have one strip which is a particularly “fun” one.  The art is great, and it has a couple of Godwin’s detailed portraits of characters.  And overall, it is just a beautiful piece of Godwin art.

And it has several points of interest that are germane to the present discussion.  To begin with, there are no less than five light-blue pencil markings, plainly from the syndicate, indicating possible problems.  I may discuss those in the future.

The unusual thing that really makes this particular strip of interest for present purposes is that it has two paste-overs — and one of them covers an entire panel!

I hope to discuss this strip further in the near future.

—Tom Sawyer

February 18, 2014

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