1968 was filled with change. After appearing for 19 years, “Kevin the Bold” ended its run. At the age of 61, Kreigh Collins launched his third comic strip, “Up Anchor.” This fresh start was the big news in the holiday letter Kreigh and Teddy sent out that December. There were also family updates , typical New Year’s optimism, and a dose of Kreigh’s wit.
“Up Anchor” ran until early 1972, and after its 174 episodes, Collins retired. All told, Kreigh’s comics appeared for 25 years, spanning four decades — over 1,200 Sundays.
In comic strip parlance, a topper is a small secondary strip seen along with a larger Sunday strip. These strips usually were positioned at the top of the page, but they sometimes ran beneath the main strip, as in “Water Lore,” Kreigh Collins’s topper for his third and final comic, “Up Anchor.”
Times were changing in the 1960s — in the comic strip business, they were changing too, as space for comics continued to shrink. Fewer and fewer papers printed half-page comics, and Collins was frustrated by the way his artwork was cropped in order to squeeze into the smaller third-page format. When his new comic launched, he drew it as a one-third pager, and used the topper to fill out the half-page of space. If a paper ran it as a third, the topper was lost. Printed half-page versions of “Up Anchor” are very rare, so these days, the most likely place to see the “Water Lore” topper is on examples of the original artwork.