The Guinea Pig

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For a moment, it seemed that Kevin had found a way out, but it was not to be. Months pass, and Kevin remains caged like an animal (in this case, a guinea pig). While Kevin may be out of fighting shape, his mind is still sharp, and he comes up with a plan…

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Meanwhile, Kevin’s elderly ally has set upon providing some relief for his beloved, caged prince.

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It might be a bit of a stretch, but in an another parallel to Game of Thrones, the old man slays Sarrov. Since he’s unnamed, I’m dubbing him the Tyrantslayer. Appropriately enough, this spooky episode appeared on Halloween.

Next week—the sequence’s climax!


The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins

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The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. The first-ever collection of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA Sunday comic strip can be ordered here.


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

Catching a Snag

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Kevin learns the unlikely truth about the sword fighter he leapt to save, and of the horrible fate of the prince. This information is recounted by a newfound ally, and although the old man isn’t given a name, he has an unusual physical feature—a hook for a right hand (not so different than the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister). Notably, the episode’s dramatic splash panel was used as back cover art for a highly-recommended 2017 collection of “Kevin the Bold” comics (details below).

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As a whole, these Chicago Tribune comics are not as vibrantly reproduced as examples from earlier in the decade, but the October 3 episode printed quite nicely.

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Kevin’s plan to get inside catches a snag—and another snag saves his hide.

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The October 10 episode is a marvel; it features perhaps my favorite panel in the comic strip’s entire 18-year run. It is even more dramatic as seen in a black-and-white syndicate proof, which showcases Collins’ mastery of composition and illustration.

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Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures

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Here are over 140 episodes of this rollicking, witty and dramatic lost Sunday comics classic! With elegant artwork and smart storytelling by creator Kreigh Collins, KEVIN THE BOLD blends swordplay, suspense, humor and history in a rugged, highly appealing blend! 95% of the material is sourced from black and white syndicate proofs. Available here.

 


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

Got G.o.T?

Game of Thrones ended, big deal. No one seemed happy with the last season (especially the ending), so why not get your fix of medieval-style adventure with “Kevin the Bold?” It has all the action, thrills, and drama of the TV show, and it’s 100% incest-free. It is as beautifully depicted as GoT, but sorry—no dragons.

Here, the villains aren’t White Walkers and the army of the dead, but descendants of other evil beings—members of the armies of Attila the Hun and Genghis Kahn. They are led by a ruthless Russian usurper named Sarrov. With these comics appearing as the Cold War intensified, my guess is that the name Sarrov was derived from “Soviet Russia.”

Although Nikita Khrushchev wasn’t known to wear a big, furry hat with a skull emblem,  what Sarrov states in the fourth panel was the general fear of many westerners. As Kevin visits his friend King Rupert, he learns that the king is wary of Russian interference in his peaceful kingdom.

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Parallels to modern-day events are found in the September 12 episode, as Sarrov outlines his plans to destabilize Europe.

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Unable to refuse his friend’s request, Kevin sets off for Muscovy. En route, he finds some outcasts with whom he sympathizes, and yet another in need of his help.

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The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins

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The Cold War hadn’t yet started when “Mitzi McCoy” was appearing in Sunday comics sections, the prevailing mood found in the comic is that of post-war optimism. Discover its charm in the first-ever collection of Kreigh Collins’ debut comic strip, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy, available here.


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

Sunday, May 22, 1949

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When I was working on my book, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1, The Complete Mitzi McCoy, a late stumbling block was finding replacement comics for episodes of which I only had third-page examples. Ironically, after searching far and wide for several years, I located them in a comic book shop about a dozen miles from my home. The catch was that I had to purchase them in complete comic sections. I left the shop with five 16-page New York Sunday Mirror Sunday comic sections and while I spent far more than I hoped to, my quest was over. The Mirror carried “Mitzi” for the duration of its run—usually in a half-tabloid format, but occasionally as a full tabloid page. I chose this particular section because its 70th anniversary is imminent.

Flipping through it reveals both big name features and comics now forgotten.

As usual, Ham Fisher’s “Joe Palooka” ran on the front page, followed by Milton Caniff’s “Steve Canyon” and “Mickey Finn” by Lank Leonard. Next up are “Henry” by Carl Anderson, “Kerry Drake,” “Superman” (neither credited, but by Alfred Andriola/Allen Saunders and Stan Kaye/Wayne Boring respectively), “The Flop Family” by Swan, an advertisement for Rinso, and Frank Miller’s “Barney Baxter in the Air.”

What was the main event for me likely falls into the category I mentioned earlier, “comics now forgotten.” This early episode, “Mitzi” ‘s 29th, is at the beginning of the strip’s fourth story arc. Half-tabloids are pretty small, but at least they include the throwaway panel, which full-page tabloid versions do not.

As a young man, Kreigh Collins worked as an illustrator at an ad agency in Chicago. This gig lasted about a year, and the primary reason it ended is that Collins despised having to produce commercial illustrations like the one in the Pepsi ad. At this point in time, I find the the ad’s style quite charming, but maybe I’m just biased because I drank so much Pepsi as a kid. On the facing page, Frank Godwin’s “Rusty Riley” has a style similar to “Mitzi” —leaning more toward illustration than cartooning. In fact, illustrations by Godwin and Collins appeared in Hermann Hagedorn’s The Book of Courage, published by the John C. Winston Company six years earlier.

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Now back to the comics… and advertisements.

Roy Crane’s “Captain Easy,” drawn here by Walt Scott, and V.T. Hamlin’s “Alley Oop” face a couple of nondescript advertisements for Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder and Danderine. Next up are “Bobby Sox” by Marty Links, “Rex Morgan, MD” by Bradley and Edgington, “Boots” by Martin, and Merrill Blossar’s “Freckles and His Friends” (plus the topper “Hector”).

The last full spread in the section features Harry Hanand’s silent comic “Louie,” “Out Our Way featuring the Willets,” by J.R. Williams, “Our Boarding House,” and an ad. The ad might be my favorite part of the entire section. It features the type of male chauvinism so common of the era, but it’s quite hysterical (in my reading, anyway).

Taking its usual spot on the back cover is “Lil’ Abner” by Al Capp.

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Patience Is a Virtue

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According to recent reports, there continues to be occasional delays with order fulfillment, but eventually your book will come, that is, if you order The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. This first-ever collection of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA Sunday comic strip can be ordered here.


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

The Twist

Things look bleak for Kevin, Sir Richard, and Lucia.

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The possessive nature of Sultana Safia is good fortune, as Kevin and his friends avoid another close shave.



The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins

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Although Mitzi never made it as far as Istanbul, she traveled quite a bit in her comic strip. Read about her exploits in her Michigan hometown, and her travels to Chicago, Florida, and Canada’s north woods in The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. The first-ever collection of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA Sunday comic strip can be ordered here.


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

The Fool

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After experiencing Sir Richard’s foolhardiness first hand, Kevin witnesses it again. This time it seem certain that it will cost Sir Richard his life.

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In a shocking turn of events, Sultan Murad releases Richard. And sure enough, the foolish Englishman puts them all in harm’s way again. How many times can Kevin overcome Richard’s ineptitude?


The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins

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The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be ordered here.


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

Escape from the Harem

Just prior to the following sequence, Kevin’s travels took him to Japan. How he got so far east is another story, and because my collection of “Kevin” comics is incomplete, it’s a story I cannot recount at this time.

As this new adventure begins, Kevin is aboard a sailboat near Istanbul, a seemingly unusual place to secure intel on Spain’s plans to invade England.

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Due to the reference to Sultan Murad (III), the events depicted would be occurring c. 1580, the height of the Ottoman Empire. Kevin and tagalong Sir Richard are set to rescue the fetching English spy, Lucia.

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The August 11 episode is a marvel, and Collins’ beautiful line work is fully on display in the NEA Daily. Despite Sir Richard’s timely suggestion to change into less conspicuous clothing, their daring escape is noticed.


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

Did You Also Know–

That today is Easter, but in 1936, Easter fell on April 10.

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Having to produce so many illustrations on such a tight schedule led to a bit of recycling — in several instances, Kreigh Collins “resurrected” visual references he had used previously in his then-short career for some “Do You Know” panels. Among them were a birchbark canoe, a seated child, a ship’s helmsman, and a black cocker spaniel.

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As a newlywed, Kreigh and his wife Theresa spent a summer in a log cabin near Leyland, in northern Michigan. In exchange for rent, Collins bartered with the cabin’s owner—a painting of the landlord’s choice from those produced over the summer. While living in this rustic environment, Kreigh found an abandoned birchbark canoe, which he restored. It appeared in numerous early examples of his work, including a magazine cover he illustrated that summer for Outdoor America, as well as the April 10 episode at the beginning of this post. (If you look closely, you can see his wife’s initials inside a heart carved into a tree on the magazine cover).

 

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Another example of recycled imagery is found in one of the illustrations Collins did for the Informative Classroom Picture Series, an in-classroom teaching aid. In this case, the ICP illustration of the seated boy preceded the “Do You Know” version by about two years.

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During the early 1930s, Collins produced many large murals, some commissioned by the WPA. One of these included a massive, four-panel painting for the East Grand Rapids High school (which is still on display). The EGR sporting teams were known as the Pioneers, and Collins’ painting fittingly depicted the settling of the land. The first of the four panels portrayed an ocean crossing, and the entire mural was unveiled the same year as its corresponding “Do You Know” episode appeared in the ten Booth Newspapers (1935).

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A final example of this thriftiness of source materials was Kreigh and Theresa’s black cocker spaniel, Inky, who was later repurposed as a 1930s Christmas card.

Throughout his career as an illustrator and cartoonist, Collins frequently utilized his wife as a model. On the example from March 23, Theresa is posed as Mme. St. Aubin. Kreigh and “Teddy” were in their late 20s when he was working on the “Do You Know” series, and on the occasion of her 30th birthday in 1936, “Do You Know” seemed a fitting starting point for a home made birthday card .

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Inky even showed up on the birthday card.

Taken out of context, some “Do You Know” illustrations can be pretty humorous, as when Pontiac tells his French counterpart to “talk to the hand.”

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Next week, “Kevin the Bold” returns…


Do You Know–

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…the only place to order The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy, is here.


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

Do You Know–

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To commemorate Michigan’s centennial, Kreigh Collins illustrated a daily feature called “Do You Know.” A collaboration with writer Willis Atwell, it appeared in eight Michigan newspapers and ran from September 2, 1935 to January 26, 1937 (the 100th anniversaries of Michigan first becoming a U.S. territory and then a member of the Union).

Because each panel was comprised of three separate illustrations and historical accuracy was paramount, the project required a great deal of research. The hard work paid off and the feature became a hit in Collins’ home state. Due to popular demand, Booth Newspapers, Inc. compiled these 441 panels into a book, allowing Collins’ reputation as an illustrator to spread.

 

“Do You Know” was quite similar in style to “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.” While “Ripley” will celebrate its 100th anniversary this October, at the time it was a relatively new feature, having debuted 16 years earlier. In fact, another comic feature, illustrated by Art Krenz, appeared around the same time. It was also titled “Do You Know,” and was put out by the syndicate that would hire Collins 13 years later, Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA). The two like-named features coexisted, and it is unclear to me which came first. Even if the Booth Newspapers concept was not entirely original, the illustrations are both entertaining and educational, qualities that would also describe Kreigh Collins’ future comic strips, especially “Kevin the Bold” and “Up Anchor!”

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The March 18, 1936 installment has a very informative diagram showing the relative depths of the Great Lakes, most of which Collins would later sail on extensively (all but Lake Superior). The earliest installments (below) describe a border skirmish between Ohio and Michigan, the results of which are a bit embarrassing for someone whose family hails from the Great Lakes State. 

The illustrations are filled with interesting details, like the reverse lettering on the ink stamp (October 4, 1935), clever political cartooning (October 30, 1935), and despite the time period in which they were published, not only highlight the accomplishments of men, but those of women and native Americans too (November 14 and 1, 1935).


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

A Pretty Little Speech

Besides becoming an artist, the only other career choice Kreigh Collins considered was to become a magician. By the time he reached high school he’d made up his mind, yet magic cropped up in his work frequently enough. In 1937, he wrote Tricks, Toys, and Tim, a unique “how-to-do-it” book  published by D. Appleton-Century — Kreigh’s illustrations appeared throughout. In his later work, subjects related to magic came up — “Mitzi McCoy” had a sequence featuring a yodeling cowboy with a ventriloquist’s dummy (!) — and ventriloquism was featured again in this “Kevin the Bold” storyline.

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If you find a copy, buy it! You won’t be sorry. More information on “Tricks, Toys, and Tim” here.

Unfortunately, Kevin and Tankard are unaware of the current fearful climate in the little Dutch city of Bomen.

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The September 9 episode is a good example showing the difference between the Chicago Tribune’s superior color schemes and that of a typical newspaper. Although the image of the half page version is just a snapshot liberated from an old eBay listing, it has richer colors and and a much more extensive palette than the tabloid.

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The ever-honorable Kevin bids to save his new friends’ lives by sacrificing his own. In what appears to be a cowardly move, Tankard quickly backs the idea.

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Finding the perfect time to demonstrate his talents, Tankard saves the day. Meanwhile, Kevin is appreciative enough that Tankard accompanies him on his next adventure in Ireland, where no doubt he will demonstrate more magic.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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To read the 1949 “Mitzi McCoy” sequence featuring the yodeling cowboy and his ventriloquist’s dummy, pick up a copy of The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy, available here.


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