Joining the Troupe

Unaware that Torre Hemlar has followed them to England, the mood lightens as Kevin and Rupert become acquainted with their new friends, play actors.

These richly-printed episodes, from the Chicago Tribune, feature wonderful illustrations and great dialog. I especially like Barto’s line from the second panel about mistaking appearance for reality. The throwaway panels add educational diagrams and charming snapshots of the episodes’ ladies.

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A sudden threat interrupts Kevin and Rupert’s afternoon and Kevin quickly takes evasive action; Torre Hemlar thinks he’s set a trap.

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Hidden in plain sight, the ruse worked, and the troupe of actors moves on.

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Believing he owes him his life, Barto bravely steps in front of an arrow meant for Kevin. With what appears to be a mortal wound, the actor utters his final dramatic words. Coldly, Barto prepares to strike again.


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

Acing the Test

After arriving in England, the action slows to allow for a very sweet episode celebrating the Christmas holiday.

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Kevin was able to graciously accept Jerry the stable boy’s offer and simultaneously repay the the lad for his kindness. And from there, it’s back to the important business at hand, making a man of Prince Rupert. Per Collins’ style, as Rupert learns fighting basics from Kevin, the reader is educated as well.

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Readers in Argentina learned, too.

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Moments after parting with Kevin, Rupert is faced with a dilemma: fight or flight.

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Kevin’s tutelage has begun to pay off, but as usual, danger looms on the horizon.


Before Kevin, there was Mitzi

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Set in the quirky small-town world of Freedom, Michigan, “Mitzi McCoy” ran from 1948 to 1950 and appeared in Sunday comics sections across the United States. Its wide variety of storylines included con artists, pin-up girls, counterfeiters and shakedowns.

Scripted by the artist, “Mitzi McCoy” showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator. His landscapes, GGA and thrilling action sequences were filled with detail. The strip was not tied down to one character or setting — each of its main characters was capable of taking the lead at any time.

“The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy” features a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and every episode of Collins’ debut NEA comic strip. It is available here.


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

Facing the Storm

Kevin manages to escape with the drugged prince, but when he comes to, Rupert’s confusion quickly changes to fear.

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The November 30 and December 7 episodes are beautifully-printed examples Chicago Sunday Tribune, but Rupert’s fear is somewhat overstated in the second panel below, with his overly worried expression and his jaundiced complexion—indeed, he is yellow.

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A casual reader might see Kevin or Rupert sailing the longboat into the ferocious storm, but what they were doing was trying to keep the boat’s bow pointed into the wind until the storm blew over. A quick check of the term “broach” yields the rightfully scary-sounding definition “[broaching] can cause the boat to enter a death roll… and if not controlled may lead to a capsize or pitchpole and turning turtle.” Knowing how to utilize a sea anchor is useful information to a sailor, and events in “Kevin the Bold” called for the device every four or five years.

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November 24, 1957

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April 9, 1961

I’m sure a sea anchor is mentioned once or twice in Collins’ final NEA comic strip, “Up Anchor!” I also remember my father describing them while we sailed together—I guess they were part of regular conversation in the Collins household.

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Meanwhile, things are grim in Lutenberg, and as Kevin and Rupert approach England, Kevin ponders how to help the young prince overcome his fears.

 


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