Merry Christmas and a Good 1969

KTC xmas 68 200

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.

UA envelope 72

Toppers

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.”

UA 081069 OA 72

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. 

UA WL 022270 OA 100February 2, 1970
UA WL 091370 BWS 100 qccSeptember 13, 1970
UA WL 092070 BWS 100 qccSeptember 20, 1970
UA WL 100371 BWS 100October 3, 1971
UA WL 102471 BWS 100October 24, 1971
UA WL 103171 BWS 100 qccOctober 31, 1971
UA WL 110771 BWS 100 qccNovember 7, 1971
UA WL 111471 OA 100November 14, 1971
UA WL 112170 BWS 100 qccNovember 21, 1971
UA WL 121971 OA 100December 19, 1971