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Rusty and Rin Tin Tin.RIN TIN TIN

Rin Tin Tin first came to comic books at Dell in November 1952 (Four Color #434) two years before the TV series began on ABC but at that time Rinty was owned by a strictly comic book character named Red Johnson.

Rusty and Rinty in #20.The 165 episode five season TV series began in October 1954 but the comic didn’t incorporate the TV series until #18 with its April/May ‘57 issue three years after the TV series had begun. At that time the title was changed to RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY and the stories began to feature Rusty (Lee Aaker), Lt. Rip Masters (James Brown), Sgt. Biff O’Hara (Joe Sawyer) and Rin Tin Tin. Only occasionally were Corporal Boone (Rand Brooks) and Major Swanson (William Forrest) included in the comic book.

Five issues over the 21 issue four year run from #18 (April/May ‘57) to #38 (May/July ‘61) included adaptations of TV scripts. #25 (June/July ‘58) featured “Return to Fort Apache” (ep. #114), September ‘57; #27 (Oct./Nov. ‘58) adapted “The Swapper” (ep. #112, June ‘57); #28 (Dec./Jan. ‘59) showcased “Mother O’Hara’s Marriage” (ep. #119, Oct. ‘57); “The Lieutenant’s Lesson” (ep. #94, Feb. ‘57) was in issue #30 (May/July ‘59) and “Cloudbusters” (ep. 146, Oct. ‘58) was adapted for issue #32 (Nov./Jan. ‘60).

Rusty, Rin Tin Tin and Lt. Rip Masters. Art by Sparky Moore in #20.Dell’s RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY began as a bi-monthly but switched to a quarterly publication with #29 (Feb./Apr. ‘59). There were excellent photo covers of Lee Aaker and Rin Tin Tin on all 21 issues. James Brown as Lt. Rip Masters was included in the photo covers from #31 for five issues through #35. Obviously, these five issues and the five issues featuring TV story adaptations are the desirable issues to collect.

RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY ended with #38 (May/July ‘61), two years after the final TV episode in May ‘59… although the TV series did continue in reruns for several years.

It’s worth mentioning that issue #34 featured a one page “Rin Tin Tin Family Album” explaining how Lee Duncan acquired the original Rinty as a pup during WWI.

Gold Key Comics tried to revive the comic with #1 in Nov. ‘63, a reprint of Dell #27, including the cover photo. They did add a photo pin-up of Rusty and Rinty on the back cover. Perhaps sales were soft, at any rate GK issued no more.

Sparky Moore's artwork didn't capture Joe Sawyer as Sgt. Biff O'Hara as in this panel from #25.Competent art in all 21 issues was by Richard “Sparky” Moore whose artwork resembled Lee Aaker quite well. James Brown’s    likeness   was  passable but Moore’s rendition of Sgt. Biff O’Hara looked nothing like Joe Sawyer. “Sparky” Moore (1925-  ) studied at the University of New Mexico and Art Central in L.A. Other Western comics Moore drew for Dell from ‘50-‘62 include BUCK JONES, ELFEGO BACA, JOHNNY MACK BROWN, LITTLE BEAVER, RANGE RIDER, REX ALLEN, ROY ROGERS, SPIN AND MARTY and TEXAS JOHN SLAUGHTER. He also worked on juvenile books, puzzle boxes and in animation for Hanna Barbera and others in the late ‘60s. He worked extensively for Western Publications in the ‘60s, including many comic book movie and TV adaptations. Moore drew the SCAMP daily and Sunday newspaper comic strip from ‘73-‘78 when he took over the daily WINNIE THE POOH strip until ‘83. He also assisted on LITTLE LULU, MAC DIVOT and THORNE MCBRIDE newspaper strips.

THE OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE lists issues of RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY #18 at $21 in Fine with #19-38 at $15 to $18 in Fine. (Our thanx to Steiner Adland for some Moore artwork identification.



Covers to RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY #18 and #19.

Covers to RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY #25 and #29.

Covers to RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY #31 and #34.

Covers to RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY #35 and #37.

Covers to RIN TIN TIN AND RUSTY #38 and GOLD KEY #10092-311 (#1) reprints Dell #27.