Doug Wildey’s Rio: The Complete Saga

Doug Wildeys Rio The Complete Saga cover

Doug Wildey was an acclaimed Comic book and comic strip artist, as well as a noted animator. Very much in the school of Milton Caniff and Alex Toth, Wildey was an artist’s artist, a storyteller of the highest order, and worked in many genres—westerns and war stories being some of his most memorable. As an animator, he created and designed the groundbreaking Johnny Quest series in 1964, which inspired a generation of cartoonists with its memorable characters, thrilling, breakneck pace, and innovative designs.

In 1987 Wildey began one of his most personal works, the story of an aging cowboy and gunfighter, as well as special agent for the President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Wildey created stories full of human drama and historical accuracy rarely seen before or since in the comic book western. This volume collects the entire Rio saga in one handsome collection, including the final, unfinished and unpublished Rio story.

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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

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A complete collection of all Rio material available, published and unpublished. If you’re wondering why this is on the Artist’s Edition Index, here’s the preface.

With the exception of 10 story pages, all the images in this volume were scanned directly from Wildey’s original artwork. We have chosen to treat this collection as an art book, with only minor cosmetic cleanup, and have endeavored to reproduce Wildey’s originals as close as possible to his art.

This book follows the format of an Artist’s Edition, with an introduction, chaptered stories, and gallery. But at a reduced size with glossy paper. I asked Scott Dunbier about this book and here are his recollections.

The Rio book is the first Artisan (Edition) in all but name. I was a fan of Rio from the start. I contacted Ellen Wildey about doing a collection and she told me she had nearly all the art, including the unfinished one. We hit it off, she’s a firecracker, very sweet and smart and just all-around wonderful. At that time she lived in Vegas, so I took my family on a weekend trip, met Ellen, picked up the art and brought it back to California with me. A couple of months later I returned it all to her. She was very pleased with the book.

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It’s an interesting mix of mediums. Pencilled pages, inked pages, ink washed pages, coloured pages. At first, I thought these were an assortment of original art pages and colour guides, but Dunbier advised there are original art and comic pages when the original art was unavailable.

At first blush, the colours are bright and garish, but they were coloured for comics with porous newsprint that dulls and fades the colours. I do enjoy the uncoloured pages the most.

Scans are clear and clean: no visual issues. A lot to see on these pages, including blue pencil, correction fluid, paste-ups, marker, and much more. A black marker was used for bold dialogue and it’s bled into the paper. There’s a scratchy quality to the lettering overall.

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Dahlk’s design is elegant and inviting. The sepia on the interior pages and rough paper backgrounds gives the book an aged and weathered feel.

Production is excellent: sewn binding of a medium glossy paper.

Please excuse the glare: I have not figured out how to photograph glossy pages with my iPhone camera without glare. Working on it, but clearly not there yet.

The hardcover has long been sold out but the softcover and digital editions are readily available.



Rio Complete Collection TPB

from Things From Another World