Wild Night

While the entire Count del Morte story is short, its episodes are very graphic, and have a storyboard quality—the sequence seems as if it would translate very nicely to live action. Near the end of the comic strip’s run, plans were afoot for a television adaptation; sadly, this never came to fruition.

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Now back to our story!

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With one of his pursuers no longer a threat, Brett is not yet out of danger.

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The story ends with Kevin admonishing Brett for his carelessness, and neatly segues into a new adventure.


Need a great gift idea?

Call me biased, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more charming collection of Golden Age comics than The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 

Drawn as well as scripted by Collins, Mitzi McCoy showcased the artist’s 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 here 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.

Edited and restored by the artist’s grandson, Brian E. Collins, with an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterword by comics columnist Ed Catto, and a recently-inked tribute illustration of Mitzi by Butch Guice

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

The Count del Morte

In Kreigh Collins’ NEA career, his typical story arcs contained 12–15 episodes. The previous sequence, featuring Prince Rupert, was an extremely lengthy exception, running for 33 weeks. Basically a horror story, “The Count del Morte” was another outlier—it had only five episodes. Each of these is a illustrated with nice half-page examples from the Chicago Tribune.

The action begins with Kevin and Brett sailing into port, where they will be laid up for a short while. As they take note of a foreboding local landmark, the episode’s throwaway panel provides crucial foreshadowing that a tabloid version of this comic would lack.

Kevin has to take care of business aboard the ship, while Brett is feeling stir crazy and needs to go ashore.

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Brett quickly finds himself in quite a predicament, and the episode’s final caption hammers the point home in a scolding tone.

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Out of the frying pan and into the fire, things look especially grim for poor Brett!


The Complete MITZI McCOY

During the short run of Kreigh Collins’ “Mitzi McCoy,” its 11 story arcs featured various overall moods or themes—among them goofball, noir, adventure, and historical reënactment—but never horror. The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins: The Complete Mitzi McCoy collects them all and is available here. Pick up a copy and see for yourself!

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

Hey Bartender!

If you’re reading this on November 7, Happy International Stout Day!


Following the lengthy story of Kevin, Rupert, and Madeline, here is something of a palate cleanser. Presenting… Kevin the Bold Imperial Stout. It’s debatable how well a rich, heavy brew like this would work as an entremet, but until someone comes up with a Mitzi McCoy Blonde Lager, this will have to do.

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For most of his life, Kreigh Collins called Ada, Michigan, his home and it is only fitting that the beer was produced by Ada’s Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery.

Three varieties were produced to celebrate the company’s sixth anniversary. Using both original comic strip art and scanned newspaper comics, I worked with head brewer Nick Roelofs in designing the labels, and I’m pleased with the results.

 

The base version of the beer (“Kevin the Bold”) is a barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout, and the other two have added flavorings. “Kevin Goes to the Beach” uses coffee, coconut, and vanilla, and “Kevin Goes Camping” has a “smores” theme, and uses chocolate and graham flavor. These were the first bottled beers that Gravel Bottom has released.

I searched through my library of comics to find images that coordinated with the beer varieties, and paired them with the recurring image of Kevin. Initially, Gravel Bottom was going to make T-shirts with the bottle artwork—unfortunately, this idea has been moved to the back burner. However, the brewery has featured the artwork in some of their advertising.

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I have yet to taste the beer (I’m hoping they are still holding the bottles they promised me), but others seem to like it, according to online beer reviewing sites.

 

Gravel Bottom Brewery’s website is at gravelbottom.com


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

The King’s Champion

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For this Australian comic book, the cover artwork was completely recreated.

 

As the tournament begins, the competition heats up—between the men, jousting, and the women, in the grandstand.

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As the lengthy tale of Rupert draws to a close, the threads begin wrapping up.

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Though he is honorable to his core, Brett realizes Kevin has thrown the match.

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The final episode of the 33-week epic is completely in character for Kevin, champion of children. The episode is also one of Collins’ best efforts, with a dramatic, final splash panel.


The Complete MITZI McCOY

A collection of his first syndicated comic strip, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy” features previously unpublished photographs and comics and includes wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young. The book is available here.

Mitzi cover final


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

Matchmaker

With the Regent dead, Rupert’s obstacle to ascending to Rheinstein’s throne has been removed. However, other events conspire to prevent him from achieving true happiness.

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Baroness Vichi is a bitch witch, and of course she resents the virtuous Madeline.

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This current story arc, longer by far than any others in the entire run of the comic strip, was a serious attempt by Kreigh Collins to deepen character development in an attempt to increase its overall impact. Also, a couple of significant characters from two previous sequences have cameo roles in the May 3 episode (above): The Count de Falcon, a knight Kevin bested in an earlier tournament appears near the beginning, and toward the end, Kevin asks a favor of a princess he had rescued. (She is now the Queen of Glaustark).

Meanwhile, the tournament nears, and Kevin’s first opponent will be the ruthless Count de Falcon.

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The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Describing “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy,” Bruce Canwell, of IDW Publishing’s Library of American Comics, had this to say:

Originally a painter and illustrator, artist Kreigh Collins delighted comics readers for a quarter-century with his rich compositions and distinctive characters. Collins’s series Mitzi McCoy has its roots in the small town of Freedom, echoing It’s a Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls and pre-figuring TV hamlets like Hooterville and Mayberry. Open this collection and delight in Mitzi’s arresting artwork and solid Middle American sensibilities. Highly recommended!

In addition to the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy,” the book contains the first sequence of the comic strip it morphed into, “Kevin the Bold.” There are also never-before published comics and photographs, and the book includes a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young. It is available here.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


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

The Drowned Rat’s Revenge

With the Regent dead of natural causes, a new villain(ess) appears. Baroness Vichi’s scheming causes heartache for poor Madeline. Elsewhere, Kevin deals with his own problems.

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After an overdue reunion with Brett and the recently coronated King Rupert, Kevin makes plans to rectify some things in Rheinstein.

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

Tree Tunnel

A recent trip to Ireland brought back a childhood memory of a road trip taken in my parents’ old Ford Fairlane 500, c. 1966. In Ireland, I saw many narrow roads covered by canopies of trees, or what my brother Brett and I excitedly called (and chanted from the back seat), “Tree tunnel, tree tunnel!” Likely on our way from our apartment in Ann Arbor to Ada, off to visit Grandma and Grandpa Collins. Maybe we’d heard the phrase mentioned previously…

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Me, Brett, and the Ford Fairlane. And of course, a Sunday comics section.


Despite last week’s flogging, Brett has recovered enough to get back in the game.

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Rupert might not have caught on to Madeline’s act, but Brett certainly has.

22 weeks into the story arc, the action in the March 15 episode, above, is a bit contrived. While Brett seems nauseated by the turn of events, Madeline’s reaction is perhaps best described by Newton’s third law. Despite this interlude, trouble is imminent—and fortunately, Brett is focused on his plan.

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The old, hollowed out tree provides access to an escape route (Tree tunnel!), but it’s a bit difficult to make out in the comic’s rendering. Nevertheless, it works, and now Rupert has a plan.

When we last saw Kevin (three episodes back) he had been overwhelmed and captured by the Regent’s guards as Prince Rupert escaped. Meanwhile, Rupert heads back to the palace and overhears a startling confession.

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No longer the weakling he remembered, Rupert literally scares the Regent to death.



The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Describing “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy,” Bruce Canwell, of IDW Publishing’s Library of American Comics, had this to say:

Originally a painter and illustrator, artist Kreigh Collins delighted comics readers for a quarter-century with his rich compositions and distinctive characters. Collins’s series Mitzi McCoy has its roots in the small town of Freedom, echoing It’s a Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls and pre-figuring TV hamlets like Hooterville and Mayberry. Open this collection and delight in Mitzi’s arresting artwork and solid Middle American sensibilities. Highly recommended!

In addition to the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy,” the book contains the first sequence of the comic strip it morphed into, “Kevin the Bold.” There are also never-before published comics and photographs, and the book includes a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young. It is available here.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


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

A Legedary Sword

Following his near fatal encounter, Kevin makes an astonishing discovery.

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Foretold in an earlier comic, the sword’s legend has proven to be accurate.

Returning to Rheinstein to rule what is rightfully his, Rupert needs to keep a low profile—he and Kevin find it necessary to travel undercover.

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After their cover is blown, Kevin holds the guards at bay as Rupert makes his escape. This positive outcome is then offset by news that devastates Kevin.

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To be continued…


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

Moment of Truth

Fittingly, tragedy has turned comic, and Kevin sets about his defense.

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An expertly-placed tripwire and a faked scream upends two of Torre Hemlar’s men, and in an especially gruesome opening panel, Kevin names his terms. Momentarily, the hunter gets captured by the game.

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The final panel above was used as the basis for the cover of Atlas Publications’ “Kevin the Bold” No. 11 comic book (printed in England, and marketed in Australia). As was the norm, the artwork has been modified: Kevin’s sword is raised while Torre Hemlar has fumbled his.

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Meanwhile, instead of simply attacking Torre Hemlar, the knightly code of conduct requires that Kevin allow his opponent to defend himself. Kevin soon learns that his ruthless adversary is bound by no such rules.

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In spite of all the fighting and dueling that took place in “Kevin the Bold,” losers were often spared death. In other cases, villains died indirectly, falling to their deaths, or accidentally—by their own hands. The February 15, 1953 episode was an exception, and Rupert shows that he has taken great strides since he first met Kevin.

18 episodes into the sequence, this extended story arc has much more in store.

 


The Complete MITZI McCOY (1948–1950)

There’s no sword fighting, but firearms and bows and arrows make appearances in this collection of Kreigh Colllins’ first NEA comic feature, “Mitzi McCoy.” Featuring never before seen photographs, a previously unpublished comic, and a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy” is available here.

Mitzi cover final



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

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.