Because the next chapter starts a bit abruptly, let’s back up one week to see what happened as the previous sequence transitioned. These were the first two chapters to follow Jay Heavilin’s credited writing stint, and the following chapter was clearly written by Collins (To me, the acrobatics in the finale are a dead giveaway). Dank u to my friend Arnaud in Rotterdam for the tabloid examples shown here.
Ah yes—Kevin was sailing from France to England with a load of precious cargo when a storm whipped up. And what a storm it was—instead of a relatively straight shot across the English Channel from Balinghem, France to London, the storm has driven the ship far to the north, toward the Scottish Highlands. There, a more genteel scene is set, and a host of new characters are introduced.
Reading between the lines, one can surmise that Blackie has an axe to grind with Sir Duncan McDonald.
With arson on his mind, the storm plaguing Kevin’s ship reaches Blackie and his band of hoodlums.
After bumbling upon the nefarious trio, McDonald and Louise bolt away blindly and tumble off a ledge. In hot pursuit, Blackie and his gang meet the same fate.
As this drama has been set, one notable absence from the past three weeks’ action has been Kevin. As it happens from time to time, others take the lead while the strip’s titular character sits out a few episodes. Sir Duncan and Louise could certainly use his help now!
Allas Veckotidning (“Everyone’s Weekly”) is a Swedish magazine first published in 1931. Though its title proclaims it to be for everyone, it seems more geared toward women. (A huge thank you to my friend Roger for trading me 15 copies of the magazine for a copy of my book “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, The Complete Mitzi McCoy”).
Dating from 1953, Issue No. 15, shown above, had a cover wishing its readers a Happy Easter. Inside, the contents are typical of a weekly: music listings and news, short romantic fiction pieces, movie reviews, crossword puzzles, and more romantic fiction pieces. Plus, it featured several comics interspersed throughout.
All four covers were printed in full color, with interior pages running in either two colors (black plus red), or just black and white. So it figures that only the most prestigious comics would appear on the covers (inside front cover, or occasionally on the back cover).
In the magazine, one consistency in the comics’ style was for the absence of speech balloons, with single captions beneath each panel utilized instead. Comics rotated in and out of the full-color cover positions, with Ricky (“The Friend of the Horses,” unsigned) appearing here. Facing it is Ett Gott Skratt Förlänger Livet (“A good Laugh Prolongs Life”) a typical single-panel gag cartoon that anchored the spot opposite the inside cover. A signed comic is found on page 28, Falcon Stormfägeln, av (“by”) Kreigh Collins.
Kreigh Collins’ comic strip, curiously renamed as the equivalent of “Falcon Storm Birds,” had a slightly modified logo, and reproduced nicely in a two-color scheme. This episode of “Kevin the Bold” (below) originally ran on May 18, 1952, meaning appearances in “Allas Veckotidning” came about 13 months later.
An unusual—and pleasant—aspect of the magazine was the scarcity of ads throughout. A few fractional ads tend to show up toward the back of each issue, where more comics were also found (plus a couple pages of classified ads). Filip & Majken, Ann, (both unsigned) and Fabian (by Emil Brinck) were also part of the magazine’s stable of comics.
I guess the inclusion of my grandfather’s comic is an example of U.S. cultural imperialism, but in my biased opinion it’s more charming than an ad for a “Yankee Junior” boys’ suit.
Issue No. 44 (1955) featured more of the same type of material, but had a more typical celebrity-based cover—say hello to Mr. Fred Astaire.
As a non-Swedish speaker, it’s fun to guess what articles are titled—sometimes it’s not so hard, but watch out for the false cognates! The article below translates to “A Man’s Way.’
Måns (“Moon” possibly signed by Skat Holman) ) and Var Finns Kitty? (“Where is Kitty?” unsigned but subtitled “Our brilliant young girl’s series”) appear in some, but not all issues of Allas Veckotidning. Below is an episode of Falcon Stormfägeln from the chapter “The Mountebank’s Lions” (December 5, 1954), not yet featured on this blog.
With an appreciation for the time period these magazines were published, paging through them is fun, even without understanding the editorial content.
From 1958, we have cover girl Debbie Reynolds and some examples from inside.
A new feature of the magazine is basically a photo-based soap opera comic strip; it ran on two spreads.
Another development in the layout of Allas Veckotidning was the grouping together of comics on some spreads (including what was the March 10, 1957 episode of “Kevin the Bold”).
Often ads are a nuisance, but I can’t resist this one. There’s catchy ad copy (“Read Here How to Play Guitar Next Week”) and great photography. If only speech balloons weren’t banned, that lead photo would show the guy thinking, “Guitars! That’s how I’ll get girls!” This was early 1958—just wait until Beatlemania!
At this point, any reader of “Kevin the Bold” knows Spider is going to get his—but how? Spider himself seems to know the end is near.
Kevin’s keening war cry, busted out only on rare occasions (such as on Sunday, October 24, 1954), startles Spider. Encumbered by gold, he sinks like a stone, much like Sir Guy Thornberry (in an episode from 1956).
While earlier action was reminiscent of action heroes like Indiana Jones, the chapter wraps up with more of a Tom and Jerry/Itchy and Scratchy feel.
Oddly, the chapter ends with Lord Dismore showing a complete lack of gratitude. As the action transitions, King Henry shows off his new armor, with a shout-out to Conrad Seusenhofer, and a factoid that would be repeated several years later.
As for Lord Dismore, perhaps he should become acquainted with Itchy.
At the tail end of 1957, the 37th chapter in the “Kevin the Bold” saga begins with the introduction of a couple of unsavory characters and a sad, naive young lady. Kevin pops up near the end of the episode and story’s framework begins to take shape.
Kevin suspects trouble is in the offing but as usual, doesn’t seem concerned.
Spider describes his poisonous plan and the game is on.
“Kevin le Hardi” was included as part of five French “Big Horn” comic books, which were published beginning in October, 1957. The comic books, though small in trim size (about 5-3/8″ x 7-1/8″), were quite lengthy, 128 black and white pages plus color covers. On the cover, Kevin received third billing, and Kreigh Collins’ creation ran on the 31 pages at the back of the book.
Warren Tufts’ title comic occupied the first 32 pages, and it was followed by “Kid Colorado,” by John Wheeler. Each of the comics have nice, custom introductory pages (three pages for “Big Horn.”)
At the conclusion of the “Big Horn” adventure is an ad for “Fantasia.” Next up is a sizable chunk of “Kid Colorado.” I wasn’t able to find out much about it, other than it was the work of a British artist, John Wheeler. Here, it runs for nearly 60 pages—about half the comic book’s pages—and is followed by an ad for “Rancho.”
Now, allow me a “Wizard of Oz”-like transition (RGB files for the good stuff!). Here’s the star of our show, Kevin le Hardi. I know just enough French to make some foolish assumptions about what I’m reading, so it looks like the charming introductory page presents Kevin, his enemy Von Blunt (en français, Von Blut), and his loyal, um, squire (I had to look that one up), MacGrégor (Stub).
“Big Horn No. 1″ features the fourth chapter in the “Kevin the Bold” saga, “The Witch Hunt.” The action picks up with the episode that ran in Sunday comic sections on August 5, 1951.
Ici, a single Sunday episode typically runs three and a half pages (sans throwaway panels).
Au dessous, the September 2, 1951 episode starts at the end of the left-hand spread, and in the center spread, a couple of panels are reversed in order. Otherwise, the panels follow unimpeded for the remainder of the chapter.
Près de the very end of “Big Horn No. 1″ (page 124), the fifth “Kevin the Bold” chapter begins. It features the foe shown on Kevin’s introductory page, Von Blut. The second-to-last page has another example of panel re-sequencing—Von Blut’s mug originally ran on September 23 but it is plopped right in the middle of the September 30, 1951 episode. It works just fine.
Sous the final panel, it curiously states “end of the first episode,” but it’s not even the end of the September 30, 1951 episode! Not to worry, the action continues in “Big Horn No. 2.”
Malheureusement, the back cover highlights everyone but Kevin le Hardi.
After making a couple jokes about cars and drivers in previous episodes, it should come as little surprise that Heather’s destination was Mackinac Island, noted for being completely free of automobiles. However, there are other ways to get around the island, as Erik and Dave soon discover.
Coming ashore meant becoming reacquainted with civilization—for better or worse.
In the sequence’s final episode, it accurately portrays how the artist Kreigh Collins continued working as he plied the water—his mail was forwarded to Post Offices along their route, and Collins continued to send and receive artwork along the way. The episode ends with another blow against the cliche of the pampered life of a sailor.
Apologies for this week’s meager selection of color comics—my collection is a bit spotty as far as “Up Anchor!” episodes are concerned—but going forward in this chapter, things will brighten up considerably.
As the Marlin family gets ready to launch their boat, they first have to deal with on-shore know-it-alls. Luckily, sailing is a team effort, and that includes putting obnoxious folks in their proper place, done this time by Jane Marlin. Jane was loosely based on my Gramma Teddy, and one thing the two shared was an inability to mince words.
In the “Water Lore” topper, Kevin and Jane Marlin make a rare appearance (possibly the only time this happened).
With the boat finally launched, there is rigging and provisioning to be done before setting sail.
In the fifth panel, where Kevin points to the nautical chart, it also shows where my family was going to relocate, a few months after this episode was published. We moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan (near the lower part of mitten-like Michigan’s “thumb”), to Fredonia, New York when I was just shy of five years old.
It’s a shame that I don’t have a color version of the February 9, 1969 episode—it features a couple of strategically-placed bathing beauties modeling some of the season’s finest swimsuit apparel. It also features a character who offers an explanation of why Collins and his family spent so much time on their boat during the summer.
With Memorial Day approaching, so too is the traditional start of sailing season. This usually means having already done prep work in chilly conditions. In order to extend the season, Kreigh Collins liked to launch early. Kevin Marlin was in the same boat — literally — they both sailed aboard Heather.
While the photo above shows skipper Collins 10 years after he purchased his schooner, the “Up Anchor!” chapter starting today was just the second one in the strip’s 3.5-year run. It starts with Pedro showing off a small fiberglass boat he’s peddling, which must have appealed to Kreigh — maintaining a 40-year-old, wooden 40-footer required quite a bit of elbow grease! No doubt the Collinses worked up a sweat, even in chilly spring weather.
Not only did Kevin and Kreigh sail the same boat, but they had the same kitchen, too. (The opening panel in the episode below is a rendering of the tiny kitchen in Kreigh’s own Ada, Michigan home).
Featuring a family’s adventures living aboard a sailboat, “Up Anchor!” was unique, and while it promoted the growing hobby of pleasure boating, it fought against the stereotype of it being a glamorous sport solely for the wealthy.