Winning the Bet

Having come to the north woods to win a bet, Tim has found no time for bear hunting. It’s a good thing that he has been keeping his archery skills sharp, as he does finally get a chance to use his bow.

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With the accuracy he had displayed twice before, Tim takes a 100-yard shot and pins Waboosh to a tree with an arrow seemingly straight through his heart. It’s grim stuff for the comic strip, but it turns out that Waboosh’s wound is not fatal. And just as the tension eases, Mr. McCoy is startled by another gun-toting local.

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The “Bow and Arrow Bear Hunt” sequence ends neatly, with a chance encounter with an old friend, loose ends being tied up, and the final payment on a debt. “Mitzi McCoy” was hitting its stride nicely as it was about to transition into its most significant chapter to date, “The Christmas Story.”

The Hunt Begins

Features director “East” Lynn was no doubt glad to see Mitzi reappear in Kreigh’s illustrations. In correspondence with his artist, he reminds Collins to portray the heroine in flattering poses, and raved about her “equipment… facial, pectoral and callipygian.” However, Waboosh has also taken notice of her arrival in Roaring Fork, and the stage is set for further conflict.

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Coming to the north woods to hunt bears with a bow has left Tim and the McCoys at a disadvantage when confronted by Waboosh and Toadie. In the October 23 comic, things look especially dire as Waboosh kidnaps Mitzi at gunpoint.

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October 23, 1949: click comic to enlarge.

A Close Shave

“Mitzi McCoy” was designed to have plot lines that could be carried by any of its main characters — Mitzi, Stub Goodman or Tim Graham. In this case, Tim grabs the spotlight, as he is the only regular character appearing in a string of four episodes. “Mitzi” also promised lively adventure, romance and human interest, and with Tim leading the way, the action veers into violence for the first time since Stub Goodman bounced Phil Rathbone from the offices of the Freedom Clarion.

Another strategy “Mitzi”used was to create new characters that would reflect various demographics it was trying to reach as it tried to grow its audience. A previous sequence had brought aboard young Dick Dixon, and Lynn and Collins had discussed the possibility of adding a girl to the Bow and Arrow Bear Hunt chapter. It was decided that a later sequence would feature a schoolgirl, and last week’s comic introduced Mugs, a native boy defended by Tim.

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Fortunately for Tim, his unlikely ally Mugs returns the favor… in spades. Mugs saves Tim once and after being warned away, the boy lingers long enough to save Tim yet again. Later, while setting up camp, stereotypes are shattered and his bond with Mugs is sealed.

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Perhaps reminding readers of the reason he had come to the north woods in the first place, Tim puts on an exhibition of his archery skills for his young friend. The October 2, 1949 comic also features some clever survival skills employed by Mugs. This comic proved to be very popular with Kreigh’s test audience (sons Erik and David, ages eleven and nine). In the final panel, an attractive young native woman heralds the return of the comic’s usual eye appeal, as Mitzi and her father have been summoned to Roaring Fork.

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