NEA Daily and Sunday Comics

NEA Booklet 01 100

Among my collection of Kreigh Collins’s comics is a sampler of NEA comics from mid-1955. It looks likel the entire NEA comic package for the week of May 23–29, 1955 — but I’m not sure because it’s the only one of its kind I’ve ever seen.

It’s a 32-page, self cover, black and white tabloid, printed on a coated stock. Curiously, it isn’t bound in any way, so the eight individual sheets that it consists of can be pulled apart and put back together with ease. Because of its lack of staples, nice reproduction quality, and decent paper stock, I wonder if it wasn’t intended for newspapers to use for printing their comic sections.

If not, it apparently made for a nice keepsake for the NEA artists whose work was contained inside. As a young boy, I remember stacks of these things piled in Grandpa Collins’ studio. And of course I noticed the comic that appeared inside the front cover!

NEA Booklet 02 100

Beyond that, I’m not sure how far I read. I might’ve skipped the Sunday and daily Boots and Her Buddies comics (by Edgar Martin), but who could resist V.T. Hamlin’s Alley Oop?

It’s interesting to see which strips had daily versions, and which were Sunday-only. Although the topic of Kevin the Bold becoming a daily came up between Collins and his NEA boss, Ernest Lynn, it never happened.

I’m not too well-acquainted with many of the other comics that follow, but I am familiar with others (mostly due to seeing them on the backs of my Kevins). I recognize the name Walt Scott, since he drew the charming illustration that the NEA staff gave my grandfather on the occasion of his twin sons’ birth (in February, 1951).

Besides Walt Scott (whose The Little People, below, ran on page 7), I’m familiar with Red Braucher (quite a character himself), Herbert W. Walker (Newspaper Enterprise Association president), Dean Miller (he illustrated the Vic Flint Sunday on page 15), and… that’s about it.

from NEA

Here’s Walt Scott’s take on Kreigh Collins serenading his newborn baby sons Kevin and Glen (while older sons David and Eric crack wise).

Next up in the NEA tabloid are a Sunday and dailies for Freckles and His Friends (Merrill Blosser), Walt Scott’s The Little People (accompanied by its topper strip, Huckleberry Hollow), and seven days of Captain Easy, by Lesley Turner.

Then, Sundays and dailies for Out Our Way with “The Willets” (J.R. Williams) and Pricilla’s Pop (Al Vermeer).

Continuing to show the variety the NEA package offered, Sundays and dailies for Vic Flint (Dean Miller/Jay Heavilin) and Bugs Bunny (uncredited) follow.

Next up: Chris Welkin Planeteer (Russ Winterbotham), a “fun page” with several small strips including Tom Trick Fun Detective (credited simply to Dale), and seven days of Our Boarding House with Major Hoople (six daily one-panels and a Sunday tabloid).

The single-panel comics Side Glances (by Galbraith), and Carnival (by Dick Turner) follow.

Bringing up the rear are several comics featuring women (Brenda Breeze by Rolfe) or drawn by them (Sweetie Pie by Nadine Seltzer). Continuing in a domestic vein, there is Hershberger’s Funny Business, and apparently to fill extremely tiny spaces, Little Liz, a tiny daily single-panel, that is essentially an illustrated fortune cookie message.

Finally, it’s The Story of Martha Wayne by Wilson Scruggs.

If anyone has further information about any of these comics or the NEA, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section, below.

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

5 thoughts on “NEA Daily and Sunday Comics

  1. Hello there,

    What this is (and I have a lot of them myself) are copyright books. NEA, King Features, and United Feature, would take the comic strips and panels from daily and Sunday comics that were printed on proof sheets and then copy them into a single publication (by the 1970s, photocopying) for the purpose of submitting all the comic strips at the same time to the U.S. Copyright Office to obtain copyrights on all the strips in question. There might have been others, like the Chicago Sun-New York News Syndicate who did this, but I have not seen them.

    When newspapers drove early comic syndication, they would send the entire Sunday newspaper, along with the comics, to obtain strip copyrights. As more syndicates came into being (and daily comics), they would just send printed samples of those strips. In the late 1930s, this method of copyright obtaining was more efficient way to get one’s comic content (and in the case it King Features, syndicated columns too) copyrighted.

    In order to obtain copyright as a published material, these items would be distributed through the mails to select people, and sold at New York City area newsstands, probably those near the syndicate’s New York office. Later, by the 1980s up through the 2000s, they would be sold at comic book stores in Manhattan.

    These are not the same as proof books. Proof books were proof pages that was collected just like these copyright books, except they are one-sided, and were sent to the newspapers to cut up to paste onto their daily layout pages. Since Sunday comics were published differently, the proof books contain only daily strips/panels, unlike the copyright books. NEA had one called NEA Comics, at least during the 1980s. Due to the nature of their use, these proof books are much rarer than the copyright books. I have not seen other such proof books from other syndicates yet.

    There are a number of NEA Comic Weekly and NEA Service Weekly copyright books from the 1960s up for sale on eBay currently and others show up, here and there, on occasion. The NEA ones date back at least to about 1945 and continued until late 2000s when it was converted to all digital copyright submissions. Searching through the U.S. Copyright search page will discover the copyright listings for all these titles from 1978 onwards and the digitized Catalog of Copyright Entries from 1938 up to 1977 is found in places like Google Books and The Internet Archive who have digitized these catalogs.

    Hope that sheds some light.
    my best
    Ray Bottorff Jr
    Editor, Grand Comics Database


  2. Hi Ray,

    Thank you for reading my blog, and thanks also for enlightening me on my the purpose of this sort of comic section. As you could probably tell from my post, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the nuts and bolts of the comics business, and I appreciate hearing from people that do. Thanks also for mentioning that these things can sometimes be found on ebay — I often search for “kreigh” or “Kevin the bold,” and now I have a new search term to use.

    Regarding your other NEA copyright books examples, by any chance do you have any from November 1948-September 1950? I recently published a collection of my grandfather’s first NEA comic (“Mitzi McCoy”) and I would love to see an example of Mitzi among her contemporary strips. Mitzi strips are pretty scarce, especially so for BW examples, so I’d get a kick out of seeing one.

    Happy New Year — See you in the funny papers!

    Brian Collins


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