|Current status / schedule||Ended|
|Launch date||Sunday: April 27, 1958
daily: May 19, 1958
|End date||March 8, 1981|
|Syndicate(s)||Chicago Tribune Syndicate|
Characters and story
The strip is set in the Western town of Conniption where Rick O'Shay is the deputy sheriff, since the town is too small to have a full sheriff. His best friend is gunslinger Hipshot Percussion. Other key characters include gambler Deuces Wylde, dance hall owner Gaye Abandon, physician Dr. Basil Metabolism (and his nurse, Ophelia Pulse), gunsmith and Civil War veteran Cap'n Ball, banker Mort Gage and a boy named Quyat Burp. The neighboring Indian tribe includes Chief Horse's Neck, his ugly but sweet daughter Moonglow and her persistent suitor Crazy Quilt.
Rick O'Shay started as a Sunday strip on April 27, 1958, and the daily comic strip began on May 19 of the same year. Lynde created the strip and worked on it until 1977, when he left the syndicate. As the syndicate owned the rights to the strip, Rick O'Shay was continued by others: Marian Dern (writer), Alfredo Alcala and Mel Keefer (artists). The strip was discontinued in 1981.
Lynde and his wife formed Cottonwood Publishing, which later acquired the rights to Rick O'Shay. The company has published reprints, posters, collectibles and a new two-part comic book story, The Price of Fame (1992), featuring Rick and Hipshot. They reprinted all of the dailies from the beginning up through 1964, except for one week in December 1963. They also published A Month of Sundays reprinting 60 Sunday strips from the 1970s, 32 of which are in color. Further plans for reprints were put on hold after some of the original artwork was destroyed in a fire.
The Menomonee Falls Gazette reprinted dailies from September 24, 1973 to March 13, 1976. Comics Revue magazine reprinted strips from the week missing in the Cotonwood books in issue #231, and is reprinting all of the dailies, starting where Cottonwood Publishing left off, in issues #227 to date. (As of 2017, they are up to 1975.)
The backgrounds were realistically drawn; the characters were originally cartoonish (Rick's nose was pure cartoon), but became more realistic over the years. There are surreal themes mixed in (such as the pun-laden names). The strip was originally a humor strip set in the present-day West, but in 1969 the setting was changed to the year 1869. Strong elements of adventure, philosophy, morality and tragedy — such as Hipshot teetering on the brink of death following a gunfight — were then added to the storyline.
Breathtaking scenery is often shown in single panels in the Sunday strip, with an unusual slant. Hipshot is frequently referred to as an "outlaw", and in one strip he decided to regain his losses at poker by holding up the local bank. Sometimes in the Sunday strip he is shown alone, on horseback, in the Western background, speaking to his Maker, whom he addresses as "Boss". He does not attend church and prefers to recognize his God in a privately styled fashion.