A follow-up to the preceding post: “Plunky” as depicted by Frank Godwin, and “Plunky” as depicted by the unidentified artist — both in the same strip!

One of the interesting unfinished Rusty Riley strips in my possession is that dated 9-25, which would have been the September 25, 1959, strip, if it had been distributed by the syndicate. The final daily strip distributed by King Features was the one for Saturday, September 19, so the 9-25 strip would have been for the following Friday.

This strip was worked on by Frank Godwin and another artist. It is partly inked by Godwin and partly by the unidentified artist discussed in the preceding post.

For those who suppose that Godwin would draw a strip, then stand back from it and say, “That’s perfect! I can sign it now!” — this strip proves that this was not necessarily the case, for Godwin signed it before it was finished (in box, lower right-hand corner, not shown here).

The second and third panels were nicely finished by Godwin, and based on the style and coolness levels, I doubt that anyone else had anything to do with those. Not so as to the first panel, which was partly inked by Godwin and partly by the other artist. The young guy with the guitar, as revealed by this and other strips, is Plunky, a friend of Rusty’s and Patty’s. I’m pretty sure that parts of the dad (not shown here) in the first panel were inked by Godwin and parts by the other artist. And it’s pretty plain that Plunky in the first panel was inked by the other artist.

This is shown clearly by the following images.

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.59.54 PM   Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 11.00.47 PM

One of the interesting, and rather strange, facts about the foregoing images is that, as indicated above, both of these drawings appeared in the same daily strip.

The background on the image on the top is rather spare, making me think that Godwin may have intended to add further background. I don’t want to be too critical of the art on the top, but it is plain that the basic handling on Godwin’s drawing (bottom drawing) is superior in a number of respects. For instance, the shadow areas of Plunky’s chin and neck have more subtleties than are found in the non-Godwin (top drawing). As another example, the inking on the Godwin shirt are more graceful than on the non-Godwin shirt.

In any event, one can appreciate that King Features Syndicate would not have been eager to continue the strip with art along the lines of that by the non-Godwin artist. It would have been a significant departure from Godwin’s art.

—Tom Sawyer

May 16, 2017

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