Gone East

Here is a new story arc from 1963. When I first read these episodes, a few were missing, and I was confused about what was happening—where and how, really.

With Kevin’s measurements indicating they were at 45° South Latitude, I was thinking they had just rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and were headed toward India but no—the storm had driven them toward the west, around Cape Horn and the stormy seas surrounding Tierra del Fuego. (For a vivid description of sailing around the Horn, I highly recommend “Two Years Before the Mast” by Richard Henry Dana Jr., published in 1840).

Suspension of disbelief comes into play here, as Kevin eventually washes up on a beach in Japan.

I think this is the first appearance in the comic strip of people from East Asia. Their skin tones are shown in a unfortunate, stereotypical hue and almost ruin the beautiful illustrations. (In a few weeks, these shades will be toned down). Hopefully, the dialogue spoken by Lord Kira is rendered in genuine Japanese characters, and not some ersatz doodling. Can anyone confirm this?

Anyway, despite the new setting, Kevin finds himself in a familiar predicament.


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

Chott (Pierre Mouchot)

I recently learned from mon ami Gérard that “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold” were both published in France. Gérard is a very knowledgeable collector of French Small Format comics published in the second half of the twentieth century, and he introduced me to Pierre Mouchot, known by his nom de plume Chott.  

An artist and publisher, Chott’s artwork graces the covers of many of his titles, and he started publishing translated versions of Kreigh Collins’ comics around 1949, in various series of comic books.

I learned that “Mitzi” first appeared in issues of Fantax (35-39), then in Big Bill le Casseur (32-51), Robin des Bois (28-32), and finally P’tit Gars (1). For issues of Fantax, Chott created covers featuring characters and events from the episodes inside. Fantax was a superhero character Chott created in 1946, but for several issues, he shared the front covers with Mitzi McCoy.

The cover is representational of Mitzi‘s 4th episode, and the back cover is the conclusion of the 9th episode, so Fantax No. 36 apparently ran most of the strip’s debut story.

Once Mitzi began appearing in Big Bill le Casseur, Shott was no longer featuring her on the cover, but she did retain her spot on the back cover.

I wasn’t able to find many images of Robin des Bois covers online, so I’m not sure if Mitzi still ran on the back cover. The action inside No. 28 is from Mitzi‘s May 29, 1949 episode.

Similarly, I’m not sure if Mitzi ran on the back cover of P’tit Gars, either.

Because Chott featured Mitzi on his covers, I’m obviously most smitten with the Fantax issues. Here is Mitzi’s first cover appearance. That’s quite a cover, certainly worth the price… only 16 francs?

Finally, here is another Fantax cover (No. 37), plus the comics that ran inside (merci, Gérard!).

In the five years I’ve been doing this blog, I never became too proficient with wordpress’s layout tools, and now they seem to have upgraded their platform, and now things are a complete mystery to me. Please except my apologies for this post’s primitive appearance.

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Did Someone Say Mitzi?

Every episode of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA feature is conatined in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” now available directly from its editor (moi!).

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The book’s price is $30. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, first class shipping costs $25. (A recent order sent from New Jersey to France took 10 calendar days to be delivered). To place an order, email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, 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.

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

Serendipity

In addition to the unusual tone of the story, the episodes themselves have a slightly different appearance—most have only six panels. And while the story is a bit silly, it does have a nice graphic impression.

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Kevin is fortunate to be able to persuade his antagonist to help display the “jewels” more discreetly, and as he reaches the king’s palace, he is relieved that his job is over.

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King Henry’s abrupt dismissal and useless advice, to merely dispose of the Shah’s gift leaves Kevin at a loss.

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After a serendipitous meeting, Kevin seizes an opportunity to find a taker for the Shah’s gift.

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Thanks again to Arnaud for the tabloid scans.

Here is a half-page version of this episode, which serves as a finale to both the story arc and Jay Heavilin‘s stint as writer for “Kevin the Bold.”

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To follow the action as it returns to Kreigh Collins’ stewardship, click here for “The Field of the Cloth of Gold” sequence.


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