While recycling the 1949 version of the Christmas Story comics, usually only one or two panels had to be recreated, as above. The following comic required a bit more work—nearly half the panels were new (Nos. 1, 3, 5 & 10).
Because Art Sansom, who did the lettering for both the original “Mitzi McCoy”-era version and this new one was still working for NEA, any text changes would go unnoticed.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig up any relevant information on “Bielefeld Studios,” although it is the name of a television broadcasting operation in northwestern Germany. Somehow I think these comics were prepared for a different entity.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! (Or, as they say in Bielefeld, Fröhliche Weihnachten!)
Any good story is worth telling more than once. That is certainly the case of the Christmas Story, and it was certainly the opinion of Kreigh Collins and the folks at his syndicate, Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA).
In 1949, Collins used his “Mitzi McCoy” comic strip as a vehicle to tell the Christmas Story. Although some panels showed Stub Goodman narrating the story to a young boy (Dick Dixon), most of the visuals consisted of the Christmas Story itself—Stub and Dick generally only appeared once or twice in each episode. Those comics appeared last year on this blog and can be seen here.
Four years later, with a new comic strip (“Kevin the Bold”) and a proven gimmick, the story was recast with Kevin and his ward Brett substituting for Stub and Dick. Only this time, the comics didn’t run in Sunday papers, they served as NEA promotional material. I’m not sure if any other versions appeared, but the following comics were sponsored by an outfit called “Bielefeld Studios.”
The five original comics, in tabloid format, were supplemented by newly-created front and back covers and an introductory comic, and the result was an eight-page version tucked inside a portfolio of white card stock. No comic strip logo appeared in the stand-alone package. In fact, Kevin and Brett were introduced as if the reader had never met them.
The artwork was picked up from the original 1949 version. Occasionally, new artwork replaced an old biblical scene, but usually the only changes were swapping out Stub and Dick for Kevin and Brett.
It probably won’t be delivered in time for Christmas, but The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy is available here. International shipping now available! Forthcoming volumes in the series will feature Kreigh Collins’ mid-1940s “Bible Picture Stories” comics (due in 2019), and “Kevin the Bold” (tentatively scheduled for 2020).
For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.