I've never been a hard-core newspaper comic strip collector. All my collections are composed of stuff I've run into those rare moments when I've had both the inclination and the money. Not surprisingly there are several strips of which I have only one or two samples.
On the heels of Ger's Appeldoorn's excellent coverage of Tom Corbett come my only two samples of Ray Bailey's earlier newspaper strip, Bruce Gentry. The first is from 15 August 1945 and the second from 1 January 1946.
We see here that most of the elements of Bailey's mature style were in place. In the later example is one of those rendered-up heads that appeared in Corbett from time to time. They only thing Bailey doesn't have down is how to draw a good mouth for his hero. The one in the last panel of the January strip looks like a Golden Age comic book artist drew it.
My other orphan for the day is Stony Craig, a war strip that would soon be on its way out. Joakim Gunnarson has a good article about Stony Craig at this address:
It's hard to recognize the mature Draut in this early example. By the 1960s he had grown into a solid draughtsman with considerable merits that didn't seem to catch on with the public. Bill Draut was another of those good artists whose conservative drawing and storytelling style didn't fit with the approaching age of the superhero. He was definitely more at home in romance comics. In the late 60s he did some very nice work on a war-adventure story for Harvey's comic line. I regret that I don't have a sample to post.