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?
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.
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