The Warden of the Smoke and Bells

When Kreigh Collins’ first NEA comic strip (“Mitzi McCoy”) debuted, it was designed to be carried by an ensemble cast, where any of the regulars could take the lead in a given story arc. This was certainly less the case with “Kevin the Bold,” with Kevin dominating the action, but there could be stretches of two or three weeks where he was completely absent.

A much longer sabbatical happened in late 1959. For seven consecutive episodes, Kevin’s ward Brett took the lead—it wasn’t until the final panel of the eighth episode that Kevin appeared. At the conclusion of the story arc, “Kevin” was dropped by the Chicago Sunday Tribune (it’s unclear if this was a coincidence). “Kevin the Bold” was the first NEA comic to grace the Trib‘s pages, and the paper had run the strip since its inception. No doubt this was a blow to its creator.

The first episode of this new story is a densely packed with exposition. While Brett is Kevin’s ward, he has yet to learn the importance of holding his tongue. However, the lad does manage some choice words.

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The next two episodes originally ran in the Carbondale Southern Illinoisian. Despite the pall cast over the last episode, the mood brightens considerably as we meet the kindly Professor Sachs…

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…before taking another dark turn.`

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Here are the three episodes in color, as third-pages.

Available Now

Initially available only from the publisher’s website, I now am happy to offer copies for sale of “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy.”

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The book’s price is $30. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, shipping costs $25. To place an order, email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at], and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume. The last story collected in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy” is the narrative bridge that set Collins and his characters off on a new journey, beautifully told for the next couple of decades in the much-lauded adventure strip Kevin the Bold.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

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


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