Bad Hair Day

Some Sunday comic sections were known for their high-quality coloring jobs, others less so. But no matter where they appeared, comics were reproduced using the standard four-color process: cyan-magenta-yellow-black. I doubt the Florida Times-Union won many awards for color reproduction, as this comic from early 1955 makes clear. The yellow and cyan plates were switched, resulting in bizarre colors, most notably in Brett’s blond hair — check out the ’do in the throwaway panel! The foliage was relatively unaffected, being comprised up of both cyan and yellow, but anything colored primarily in tints of yellow (hair) or cyan (armor) had a pretty undesirable appearance (not to mention those skin tones).

KTB 011655 HF 300 x QCC

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Merry Christmas and a Good 1969

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1968 was filled with change. After appearing for 19 years, “Kevin the Bold” ended its run. At the age of 61, Kreigh Collins launched his third comic strip, “Up Anchor.” This fresh start was the big news in the holiday letter Kreigh and Teddy sent out that December. There were also family updates , typical New Year’s optimism, and a dose of Kreigh’s wit.

“Up Anchor” ran until early 1972, and after its 174 episodes, Collins retired. All told, Kreigh’s comics appeared for 25 years, spanning four decades — over 1,200 Sundays.

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Selling Mitzi

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As the calendar flipped to 1949, “Mitzi McCoy” began to appear in more and more newspapers. The NEA would use nice, clean reproductions of the comics on glossy paper to try and sway comics editors’ opinions of the appeal of the strip. By February, 35 newspapers across the United States and Canada were running the comic.

However, conservative attitudes held more sway in some cities than others. In one such case, the Sunday Editor at the Boston Post, John H. Griffin, informed the NEA that Mitzi showed more of her female charms than the Post was comfortable  printing.

This was the era when Dr. Fredric Wertham began pushing his ideas on the alleged negative effects of comic books on children. A 1948 interview with Wertham in Collier’s magazine was titled “Horror in the Nursery.”  The reaction to Dr. Wertham’s views was swift. By spring, a story in Time magazine quoted Detroit Police Commissioner Harry S. Toy, who declared all the comic books available in his community were “loaded with communist teachings, sex, and racial discrimination.” Mass burning of comic books began across the country.

Appealing to Collins, his boss, NEA features director Ernest Lynn, emphasized the importance of signing the Post: “keep her as attractive as possible, and snappily dressed, and don’t try to conceal the fact that she is a woman. Just let good taste be our guide always, and when there is a question of doubt, lean over backwards on the side of the Watch and Ward Society.” However, Wertham’s beliefs seem to have prevailed, as “Mitzi McCoy” never ran in the Post’s pages. 

Promoting Mitzi

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The NEA provided promotional materials for newspapers that ran its comics, including Mitzi McCoy. The promos featured nice artwork, some marketing text and instructions for where the newspaper would insert its own name into the copy. They were used to herald the addition of a new strip to the paper’s comic section. In the case of the Grand Rapids Press, the comics ran in black and white on Saturdays.

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In the case of the Grand Rapids Press, Kreigh got additional promotion, as he fell under the “local boy makes good” news angle. The paper ran a profile of Collins with some interesting pre-1950 biographical information.

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