Whistle Bait

Pedro has found someone to charter Heather, and he introduces the prospective customer to Kevin Marlin—a lovely plot twist indeed.

News of Heather’s upcoming charter reaches certain unsavory elements.

With Heather on the hard, vulnerabilities are exposed.

It’s interesting to see “whistle bait” appear in the dialog (third panel)—that was the name of a song written in 1958 by 13-year-old Larry Collins of the Collins Kids. (Sadly—no relation). It’s 95 seconds of rockabilly heaven, and is arguably the first punk rock record ever. To my ears, it’s astonishing, but it’s impact is diminished by not being accompanied by live footage. To see the Collins Kids live, check out Hoy Hoy. Still don’t believe me? “They’re lip synching!”—then check out this live performance. Besides all that energy, Larry’s got some skills! He later earned a co-writing credit for a worldwide #1 hit, Helen Reddy’s Delta Dawn… but that’s a story for another blog.


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

Heather the Bareboat

Sailing has always been a popular hobby in my family. My grandfather owned a succession of boats, and for a number of years, so did my father. My dad was also fond of “improving” existing sailboat designs—using tracing paper and a pencil to refine designs seen in sailing magazines. He also built numerous small wooden craft, always starting with a scale model made from balsa wood. When I was in high school I recall him asking to use my scientific calculator to determine sail displacement/length ratios.

Displacement being the amount of volume a boat’s hull takes up that would otherwise be occupied by a water, and LWL representing the boat’s length at the waterline. You’ll have to ask one of my more boat-savvy family members for further explanation!

Uncle Kevin has had a boat for most of his adult life; he plies the waters of Lake Michigan each summer. As for my generation, the sailing bug didn’t bite me so hard—I’ve never owned a boat but am happy to be part of a crew. On the other hand, my brother (Brett), a boat-owning sailing enthusiast, recently arrived in the Virgin Islands to charter a 50-foot catamaran with some friends. Accordingly, I thought now would be a good time to switch things up and feature a chapter from my grandfather’s final NEA comic strip, UP ANCHOR!

Tom Mix Nr. 1 (1953)

With a release date of September 11, 1953, TOM MIX Nr. 1 was the first of 18 comic books to carry the Swedish version of KEVIN THE BOLD (ROLAND DEN DJÄRVE). As hyped on the cover, the issues ran in color (mostly!) The covers were nicely printed on slightly heavier paper stock than the interior pages; oddly, the inside front and back covers only ran in black and white. The 6-3/4″ x 10-3/16″ comic book is 36 pages long.

This repackaged version (ROLAND) appeared about three years after KEVIN’s initial newspaper run, and wasn’t the first time Kreigh Collins’ comics appeared in Sweden. Nine months earlier, the weekly magazine Allas Veckotidning started running episodes of ROLAND DEN DJÄRVE.

TOM MIX Nr. 1 was part of a wonderful gift from my friend Roger—18 comic books spanning ROLAND’s complete run. Having previously seen the 17th comic book in the series, I was familiar with UGH, the silent comic appearing on the inside front cover (I think it’s growing on me?) Facing it is an introduction modeled after a newspaper’s front page. This is immediately followed by the title comic, TOM MIX (possibly illustrated by Carl Pfeufer).

After the four TOM MIX spreads, a new feature is introduced—along with a contest. I wasn’t able to make out much of the text, and page 12 is very nicely composed, but what caught my eye were the illustrations on page 13, done by an unknown Swedish artist.

Roger graciously translated the text—page 12 reads as follows:

Giant Tom Mix competition
Hail, noble knight!  All brave and courageous men who can wield a two-handed sword as deftly as they wield their quill pen are invited to join my cruise! We intend to visit unknown shores, inhabited by heathens and Moors far away from our Ireland. Strange adventures await… We will reach ten different coasts on the journey, which you can follow in our cartoon log book. Unfortunately, our scribe is an uneducated chap and doesn’t know the names of all the places we sail past. Therefore, it is up to you to guess where each stage ends, guided by our drawings and scant text. If you manage to win one or more stages, you may travel to Ireland, my home country, and spend a week among my relatives on “The Green Island”!  The first stage begins on the next page. Where did we get to on our first leg?
Welcome aboard!

Page 13 includes the contest’s questions:

Cruising with Roland

First log book sheet  
1. Autumn had arrived in Ireland. All stores were on board when rain and windstorms whipped off the trees’ golden leaves, forming a thick carpet on the deck the day we sailed from the island of our birth.  

The trip has now been going on for a week. A storm forced us to seek shelter yesterday. We did not understand the language of the local people. We were passing the southern tip of the country. A high rock island.  

Shortly after we sailed through the strait, we were attacked by pirates. They were dressed like Arabs.  

Another week passed. We approached a country populated by heroic men and women.  

Arab horsemen attacked us. We sailed away… Like Odysseus, muttered Roland. What was the country?  

Submit your answer to “Cruising with Roland” before September 25!

Following the Roland den Djärve teaser spread were seven pages of BUFFALO BILL. Next up was ROLAND DEN DJÄRVE!

ROLAND’s seven pages were sourced from three original Sunday episodes, minus their throwaway panels. The illustrations were given new color schemes, and avoided the occasional two- or three-color treatments that appeared in some of the originals’ panels. The original episodes, as printed in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, can be found here. Interestingly, the action starts with the third KEVIN THE BOLD episode—I guess the first two are seen as a transition away from Collins’ first strip, MITZI McCOY.

Following ROLAND were seven pages featuring Lash LaRue, and on the inside back cover was a short story about Native Americans’ use of smoke signals called “The Prairie Telegraph.”

An ad promoting upcoming TOM MIX issues appeared on the back cover. Also mentioned were a series that would run on those future issues’ back covers, “Famous Men and their Accomplishments,” plus another mention of the ROLAND DEN DJÄRVE trip to Ireland contest (was this a real prize?!)


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

Don’t Call Her Mistress

The ominous footsteps heard by Marie belong to none other than Jaques, the thuggish bodyguard she has chosen.

Original artwork for the January 8, 1967 episode.

Well! That’s quite a twist on the old trope of the caveman clubbing a woman and dragging her back to his cave!

Marie’s fears are well-founded!

Jacques meets an unsavory end as the story concludes, and Saigen reappears as the audience for Kevin’s tale of the Norman Conquest, featuring his flaxen-haired ancestor.

The end of the chapter has arrived, but there are still 20 pages left in BIBLIOTEKA LALE — BROJ 174, most of which is filled with a military comic. I was curious to see who were the good guys and who was the enemy—after all, Yugoslavia was behind the iron curtain in 1968, when the comic book was published.

The series, apparently called “Partisan Ingenuity,” featured two episodes—the first of which was titled “Saboteur.” I had assumed the good guy was a Soviet soldier plotting against the Nazis. The saboteur was in fact a member of the Yugoslavian resistance. In real life, these partisans were led by Josip Broz Tito, who later became President of Yugoslavia. In the comic book, the saboteur is shown plotting against the fascists, and his mission is a smashing success. I was surprised to learn that Tito had in fact severed ties with Moscow in 1948, and by 1968, civic protests were erupting in cities, similar to what was happening in Paris and elsewhere. So, this comic basically served as nationalistic propaganda, much like Captain America and Sergeant Rock did in the USA.

The last couple of pages featured gag comics, and the back cover seemed to be hawking Disney product knock-offs.


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