Homeward Bound

When Kreigh Collins scuttled “Kevin the Bold” and launched “Up Anchor,” he had a fresh start with a new theme. After nearly 20 years of Kevin’s 15th-century exploits, the action was now set in the 20th century. Most of it took place aboard Heather, with a fictionalized version of his family serving as crew.

Much of what was depicted in the new comic was inspired by events the Collinses experienced while cruising the Great Lakes and beyond. In 1966, Heather returned to her home port after a nearly two-year absence. Much of the journey was chronicled in a series of ten articles that appeared in the Grand Rapids Press, much the way blog posts are written today. The articles were illustrated by Kreigh and written by wife Theresa. Later, the articles were adapted into a narrative, “The Wake of the Heather,” which appeared in The World of Comic Art, a trade journal. Eventually, the journey became the basis for one of the final sequences in “Up Anchor.”

Surviving newsprint copies of “Up Anchor” are not very common, but I as able to piece together nine consecutive comics from a variety of sources. There are black and white “silver print” proofs, color comics from the newspaper, and photograph of a piece of original art.

The action begins with the comic from October 3, 1971.

UA 101071 Th 300 qcc

UA 101771 Th 300 qcc

UA 103171 BWS 300 qcc

Here is Theresa’s description of the foul weather as it originally appeared in “The Wake of the Heather:”

Nearing Buffalo, we passed through an impressive fruit belt with vast orchards on both sides. Here homes line the canal banks. We had been underway a month and it had rained only once. We reached the North Tonawanda boat yard just as one of the fiercest squalls we had ever experienced hit. The next morning the Heather was rigged, and by noon her masts were once more in place and she was ready to sail again.

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