Kevin den Tapre 1951-1955

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I recently received a copy of “Kevin den Tapre 1951–1955” from its publisher, Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen. His company, Forlaget desAHJn, has just released a beautiful volume of “Kevin the Bold” sourced from comics translated into Danish for the weekly magazine Hjemmet

This volume represents the first half of the comic strip’s nearly decade-long run in the magazine (and word has it that a second volume is planned that will feature the remaining comics). Initially, I thought the book’s title contained a typo. While the comics inside originally appeared in Sunday papers from 1950–1954, the book’s title refers to the dates when they appeared in Hjemmet

It has a great piece of promotional art to accompany its Forord (Preface), and yours truly is even thanked on its copyright page. (Aside to Mr. Hjorth-Jørgensen, Det er min fornøjelse! Please excuse my broken Danish).

While translating Danish is painstakingly slow for me, I can see that the layout is very nice; the Preface includes original art from Collins’ three NEA features, “Mitzi McCoy,” “Up Anchor!,” and “Kevin the Bold,” and the spread featuring “Up Anchor!” has some nautically-themed art accompanying it, a nice touch.

The book, over 200 pages long, is about the size of a half-tabloid comic. Its comics have great quality color, and it is obvious that much care was taken as the book was readied for print. By my count, there are 175 complete, original episodes—over three and a half years’ worth.

Many of the book’s images are familiar to me, and I am happy to have been a source for some of them. When I started this blog its aim was to raise my grandfather’s profile, and I am thrilled to see that it has done that. Leafing through the book, I am reminded of the expression, “it’s like looking at pictures of my children”—when in fact, many of the pictures are of my grandparents.

The book includes a long epilogue focusing on my grandfather’s early career as a painter, when he produced many landscapes, portraits and murals. I’m not sure what the price of the book is, but the ordering instructions suggest sending an email to desahjn@mail.dk to find out how to get a copy.

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Also available!

Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures, September 5, 1954 to June 2, 1957” contains over 140 episodes of this rollicking, witty and dramatic lost Sunday comics classic! This volume startes up about a dozen episodes after “Kevin den Tapre” ends.

With elegant artwork and smart storytelling by creator Kreigh Collins, KEVIN THE BOLD blends swordplay, suspense, humor and history in a rugged, highly appealing blend! Sourced from rare syndicate proofs and are reproduced in crisp black and white, the volume contains 14 complete story arcs. (Please note: three of the book’s 145 episodes were scanned from Sunday comics).

Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures, September 5, 1954 to June 2, 1957” is available on Amazon.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Ippon!

When I was a lad, I joined a judo team and took lessons for several years. We learned a bit about Japanese culture and a little bit of the language (I still remember how to count to 99). I got a start at a young age, and did pretty well. I loved it.

To win a match, as I recall, you basically needed to score one point. A nice throw might earn a half point (wasa-ari), and if you achieved two nice throws, it was enough to win. A quicker path to winning was to flip your opponent with a more or less perfect throw, and the referee would call “Ippon!“—meaning one point (and game over). I did this once, I can still remember my opponent coming at me, forcing me to retreat, until I spun and unleashed my bread-and-butter throw, the seoi nage.

I only mention this because I thought there were three more episodes in this story arc, when there is in fact only one. And while the blow Toshi delivers is nothing like anything found in Judo (outside of an Austin Powers movie, maybe), it causes a sudden, decisive ending to the fight.

Definitely ippon.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t have an actual copy of this concluding episode, and it looks like it may contain a pice of clip art—a photostat of Kevin’s sword, appearing in the panel after the throwaway. This time-saving device was used by Collins somewhat frequently during this period.

In this piece of original art from my collection (June 17, 1962), Brett is holding onto a photostat of Kevin’s sword (bottom left panel).

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It’s 5:00 Somewhere

Since this was such a short post, let me fill some space with a recent photo of a special beer tasting.

I wrote about these beers last November. I provided customized label artwork for a brewery in my grandfather’s old hometown—Ada, Michigan’s Gravel Bottom Brewery—and the brewery produced three varieties as their first bottle releases. I had previously tasted the base version (Kevin the Bold Russian Imperial Stout), and it was quite nice, but I think I preferred a version that I’d cellared for the last year, “Kevin Goes to the Beach,” with its subtle coffee, coconut, and vanilla flavorings. Aging it really helped. Later in the winter, I’ll surely be cracking open the last one, “Kevin Goes Camping.”

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

One Sep Forward, Two Steps Back

Kevin and Will are jailed, awating their trial.

An escape improves their situation, but for how long?

Kevin quickly wins the fight, but it’s not over yet…

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Kevin the Bandit?

Lady Yuri is determined to either escape or thwart Lord Kira’s plans…

…while Kevin and Will try a more direct approach.

Things look dark. Kevin and Will face their imminent trial, and Lady Yuri is about to be dragged away by Kira.

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Lady Yuri’s Abduction

The episode continues with a very dramatic scene…

…and ends on a somewhat contrived note. Nonetheless, Kevin has allied himself with the good, and is in a much better position than when he washed ashore.

Ah, the ol’ clothing switcheroo, and Kevin is about to join Will on a quest to rescue Lady Yuri.

To be continued…

For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Gone East

Here is a new story arc from 1963. When I first read these episodes, a few were missing, and I was confused about what was happening—where and how, really.

With Kevin’s measurements indicating they were at 45° South Latitude, I was thinking they had just rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and were headed toward India but no—the storm had driven them toward the west, around Cape Horn and the stormy seas surrounding Tierra del Fuego. (For a vivid description of sailing around the Horn, I highly recommend “Two Years Before the Mast” by Richard Henry Dana Jr., published in 1840).

Suspension of disbelief comes into play here, as Kevin eventually washes up on a beach in Japan.

I think this is the first appearance in the comic strip of people from East Asia. Their skin tones are shown in a unfortunate, stereotypical hue and almost ruin the beautiful illustrations. (In a few weeks, these shades will be toned down). Hopefully, the dialogue spoken by Lord Kira is rendered in genuine Japanese characters, and not some ersatz doodling. Can anyone confirm this?

Anyway, despite the new setting, Kevin finds himself in a familiar predicament.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Chott (Pierre Mouchot)

I recently learned from mon ami Gérard that “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold” were both published in France. Gérard is a very knowledgeable collector of French Small Format comics published in the second half of the twentieth century, and he introduced me to Pierre Mouchot, known by his nom de plume Chott.  

An artist and publisher, Chott’s artwork graces the covers of many of his titles, and he started publishing translated versions of Kreigh Collins’ comics around 1949, in various series of comic books.

I learned that “Mitzi” first appeared in issues of Fantax (35-39), then in Big Bill le Casseur (32-51), Robin des Bois (28-32), and finally P’tit Gars (1). For issues of Fantax, Chott created covers featuring characters and events from the episodes inside. Fantax was a superhero character Chott created in 1946, but for several issues, he shared the front covers with Mitzi McCoy.

The cover is representational of Mitzi‘s 4th episode, and the back cover is the conclusion of the 9th episode, so Fantax No. 36 apparently ran most of the strip’s debut story.

Once Mitzi began appearing in Big Bill le Casseur, Shott was no longer featuring her on the cover, but she did retain her spot on the back cover.

I wasn’t able to find many images of Robin des Bois covers online, so I’m not sure if Mitzi still ran on the back cover. The action inside No. 28 is from Mitzi‘s May 29, 1949 episode.

Similarly, I’m not sure if Mitzi ran on the back cover of P’tit Gars, either.

Because Chott featured Mitzi on his covers, I’m obviously most smitten with the Fantax issues. Here is Mitzi’s first cover appearance. That’s quite a cover, certainly worth the price… only 16 francs?

Finally, here is another Fantax cover (No. 37), plus the comics that ran inside (merci, Gérard!).

In the five years I’ve been doing this blog, I never became too proficient with wordpress’s layout tools, and now they seem to have upgraded their platform, and now things are a complete mystery to me. Please except my apologies for this post’s primitive appearance.

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Did Someone Say Mitzi?

Every episode of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA feature is conatined in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” now available directly from its editor (moi!).

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The book’s price is $30. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, first class shipping costs $25. (A recent order sent from New Jersey to France took 10 calendar days to be delivered). To place an order, email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume. The last story collected in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy” is the narrative bridge that set Collins and his characters off on a new journey, beautifully told for the next couple of decades in the much-lauded adventure strip Kevin the Bold.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Serendipity

In addition to the unusual tone of the story, the episodes themselves have a slightly different appearance—most have only six panels. And while the story is a bit silly, it does have a nice graphic impression.

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Kevin is fortunate to be able to persuade his antagonist to help display the “jewels” more discreetly, and as he reaches the king’s palace, he is relieved that his job is over.

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King Henry’s abrupt dismissal and useless advice, to merely dispose of the Shah’s gift leaves Kevin at a loss.

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After a serendipitous meeting, Kevin seizes an opportunity to find a taker for the Shah’s gift.

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Thanks again to Arnaud for the tabloid scans.

Here is a half-page version of this episode, which serves as a finale to both the story arc and Jay Heavilin‘s stint as writer for “Kevin the Bold.”

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To follow the action as it returns to Kreigh Collins’ stewardship, click here for “The Field of the Cloth of Gold” sequence.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

The Shah of Rani

Kevin certainly knows how to keep his cool, and his new acquaintance is impressed.

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What’s less impressive is the laziness of the name given to the Shah, an anagram of Iran. But a quick look online shows that the time period of the action does correspond to the beginning of the Safavid Empire, when rulers referred to as Shah first arose. Beyond that historical note, this sequence is as near to fantasy as Kevin ever strayed. It’s a good thing, because it all seems a bit cliched to me.

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They seem to have made quick work of rebuilding the stone bridge, but danger lies ahead. Religious fanatics  are introduced, and they’re not the visiting Muslims!KTB 050662 TA 150 qcc

To be continued…


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

The Gift

The scans for the following story arc were a gift from my friend Arnaud.


This sequence marks the end of Jay Heavilin’s run as the writer for “Kevin the Bold.” Like much of the action he scripted, it is comes across as more cartoonish than Collins’ work. An argument could be made that this isn’t a bad thing, that Collins’ stories were too traditional, and were more like illustration than cartooning. I’m biased, obviously, but what do you think? (There is a little-used comments feature at the very tail end of this post—hint, hint).

The characters are largely stereotypes, but they do have some redeeming visual qualities. Both Ahmed and his female friends have visible navels, so maybe that ban was no longer in effect.

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Pedro enters, and as was. in the case of the story “The Powder Expert” (which I haven’t yet run), there is some confusion about the meaning of a certain phrase. 

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To be continued…


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.