The peak years for “Kevin the Bold” were the 1950s, but by mid-1957, the Chicago Tribune, an early champion of the comic, was running inferior one-third page versions of the strip. While other papers continued running the strip as a half-page, like the Detroit News, many soon followed suit with the dreaded one-thirds.
Finding half-page examples of the comic from the late-50s can be difficult, so I am lucky to have numerous syndicate proofs in my collection. These proofs (veloxes?), show the entire half-page comic, and are printed on a nice heavy stock. Kreigh Collins used these to provide color guides to the NEA. He would paint them with watercolors, and these would be used by the NEA as guides while colorizing the comics. Extra copies of the proofs were kept in Collins’ studio, and sometimes these ended up being used like coloring books by either his youngest sons or his grandchildren. In retrospect, it’s a real shame, but at the time it probably seemed like a “grand” idea (to use a word that reminds me of Gramma Collins). While some of these proofs were colored or painted on, others suffered a worse fate, as the aspiring artists attempted collages, apparently, cutting holes in the proofs with scissors.
The following sequence, which ran from November of 1960 to January of ’61, has 11 episodes. I have cleaned up one that was painted on (our young artist hadn’t gotten very far with the November 27 episode—for once a short attention span proved beneficial), and I used some one-third page comics to patch up two others.
Despite these flaws, the sequence itself is wonderful. It contains all of the strip’s classic elements: beautiful scenery, a gorgeous young woman (smitten with Kevin, naturally), mystery, and action, plus a nice feat of engineering. It begins with Kevin taking a needed break from his adventures; he has returned alone to Ireland.
After falling into the trap, Kevin’s captors comment on his size and strength, comparing him to one of the ancient gods they worship. Despite his appearance, a perplexed Kevin is released to Barda, the daughter of the cult’s leader.
For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.