Kevin has decided to take Brett as his ward, and they set off together. Brett’s tragic backstory is revealed in these handsomely-printed and concisely-scripted comics. The impressive variety of settings, exotic locales, archery and wildlife were all hallmarks of Collins’ style.
In what must have been a rare case of transposed films, the Chicago Tribune’s March 9, 1952 comic printed badly. (It seems the magenta and cyan plates were switched — similar to a different instance, involving yellow and magenta). A tabloid version from the same day has its own reproduction issues, but gives an indication of how the colors were probably supposed to appear.
While scrutinizing these comics more thoroughly, the third panel caught my eye, and not just for its printed variants.
Maybe just for me, but they seemed evocative of a certain other Superhero-ward duad.
Must be the capes.
Kreigh Collins was born on New Year’s Day, 1908. As a baby he may have resembled the tyke on the Saturday Evening Post’s annual New Year’s cover, but he eventually grew up to be a large man — 6’3″ and 240 pounds.
Kreigh developed an interest in art and cartooning at an early age, and by the time he was about 11 years old, he was producing some rather fine work. His father served in the United States Army, and during the Great War, First Lieutenant Stephen Collins was stationed on the front lines in France. Germany was the enemy, and so it was that German soldiers played the fool in some of Kreigh’s early comics.
These comics are in the Local History collection of the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Public Library. Despite the horrors of World War I — trench warfare and the use of poisonous gas — it’s refreshing to see a more gentle take on the portrayal of our adversary.
Another cartoon seems to have been inspired by current events — likely the 1919 anarchist bombings or the 1920 Wall Street bombing. Approximately a year older than when he created the earlier cartoons, Kreigh had now advanced to a multiple-panel format.
Some later drawings look like character studies, and appear to show a couple of British gents and a portly businessman. Two are nicely developed, and it seems Kreigh thought so too, as these were signed.
Our final comic is a two-panel job showing a clueless man strolling down the street reading a newspaper’s sports section. By this time, the Collins family had settled in Grand Rapids after living in various locales across the U.S. since Kreigh’s birth. Who knows, maybe Michiganders always made fun of those rubes from Toledo? A nice detail is the shading used in the second panel showing the subterranean darkness, and it’s interesting that the comic would still work today if a cell phone replaced the man’s newspaper.
Happy New Year from the Kreigh’s Comics blog, and a happy 109th birthday to Kreigh Taylor Collins.