Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day, a day on which servants, tradespeople, and the needy are traditionally presented with gifts. It originated in the United Kingdom, and is primarily celebrated in countries formerly part of the British Empire.

It precedes Kevin the Bold, who might have celebrated it differently.

Panel taken from KEVIN THE BOLD’s third episode (October 15, 1950)

I learned of Boxing Day more as a day to share holiday leftovers and good cheer, and this post will follow that line of thinking. In my more freewheeling younger days, my brother (Brett) and I would often host Boxing Day parties where we’d encourage attendees to dress in boxer shorts and play a few rounds of Rock-em Sock-em Robots.

Brett and I are comics fans from way back but didn’t start throwing Boxing Day Parties until the late ’80s.

Brett was Kreigh Collins’s first grandchild and my brother’s namesake character was a major player in KEVIN THE BOLD from January 1952 until April 1965.

A character named Brian only appeared in a single 1961 sequence and although the characters Brett and Brian both preceded my brother’s and my existence, I can’t help but feel a bit jealous about the discrepancy in those characters’ roles—though I’d be smart to avoid mentioning this to my Uncle Glen (Uncle Kevin’s brother).

At least Brian, the Duke of Duval, was a bad guy and basically shared a name with a tasty Belgian beer.

Speaking of Belgian beer, the painting above, from the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s collection, with its unusual composition, is unlike any other I have seen by Kreigh Collins. Its date (5/14/31) indicates it was produced while Kreigh and his wife Theresa were summering in Europe, shortly after they were married.

Although there were no major characters named Brian in my grandfather’s comic strips, I was bestowed a cool nickname in the Christmas letter he and my grandmother sent out in 1964. (I was born three days before his third grandchild, my cousin Josh).

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With that, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, a gay holiday season, and that you look forward to 1965 2022 with as much anticipation as I look forward to all of the adventures the year promises to bring.

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Brett in in the Lions’ Den

At each others’ throats just moments before, Kevin and Karl are now completely aligned.

The short chapter’s quick pace continues, and with Brett’s lion cub/baby switcheroo, the story begins to transition to Kevin’s next adventure.

Before Kevin’s lady friend gets a chance to share it, her story comes alive!

This story line would continue in the pages of the Monomonee Falls Gazette. KEVIN THE BOLD debuted in issue No. 109 (January 14, 1974), which featured Kreigh Collins’ artwork on the cover. For the next six months, KEVIN ran on the gazette’s back cover, and continued inside until the demise of the publication four years later.

In case you can’t get your hands on MFG issues 109–232, the next dozen or so KEVIN THE BOLD chapters are collected in the book Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures. The 154-page collection, about 97% of which was compiled from BW syndicate proofs, is available on Amazon.com.

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

The Mountebank’s Lions

This short chapter appeared at the tail end of 1954. Its five episodes were all taken from the Chicago Sunday Tribune, and although they are a bit past that newspaper’s prime years (as far as reproduction and printing of Sunday comics is concerned), they are beautiful examples nonetheless. This early chapter—KEVIN THE BOLD’s 17th—immediately precedes the episodes that ran in the Menomonee Falls Gazette.

As noted in the opening caption, the action is set in 1491. The year is somewhat arbitrary—my feeling is that it just serves to peg the action as occurring just before Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. It was a busy year for Kevin—the strip’s three previous chapters also took place in 1491. These were the first times a specific date was referenced for KEVIN THE BOLD’s action.

This sequence also kept Kevin busy—quite a bit of action was packed into its five episodes, which lacked the longer exposition normally found at the beginning of a chapter.

Having just arrived, Kevin makes immediate impressions on both the town’s law and order man and his pretty female friend. The jealous Swiss guardsman insults Kevin and moments later they square off to fight. Oh, and there are lions!

As quickly as it started, the fight ends, and the two combatants join forces in a common goal, finding the lioness’s cub. It’s all happened so quickly that I barely had time to look up the definition of mountebank—if he’s a charlatan, the townsfolk don’t seem to mind. Now back to the action!

In an odd form of payback, the lioness kidnaps a baby. Brett emerges as the voice of reason, the lion cub returns and… has Brett lost his mind?

To be continued…

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Old Scores, Old Scars

Chicago Tribune episodes are preferable to those found in other newspapers—except in cases where they are damaged. My copy from November 25, 1956 had gotten torn long ago, and the remedy my grandfather used was cellophane tape. 64 years later, it left quite a nasty yellow diagonal scar. I often complain about third-page examples, but in this case one from the Detroit News helped save the day. (The tear ran from Mary Campbell’s “hard scotch skull” in the splash panel all the way to the word “Tribune” in the running head). Now, back to the action.

While Mary immediately regrets their decision, Kevin relishes the opportunity to settle an old score. As the ensuing melee devolves into hand-to-hand combat, even Mary gets in on the action.

Things look especially grim for Kevin as Mary manages to escape.

The sequence ends dramatically—and with a unique layout. Instead of a single, double-decked splash panel, Collins includes two, the second being a silhouette. Having King Henry arrive on the scene of the conflagration at the moment of climax is a bit contrived, but there is no time to be wasted as he introduces Kevin’s next adventure.

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

On the Trail of Treason

Happy New Year! January 1 also marks Kreigh Collins’ birthday; he would have been 48 years old when the following story arc appeared. The first two episodes are beautifully illustrated, and show Kevin sailing past the Isle of Sark. As is the case with many of the plot lines in “Kevin,” I was inspired to look up where exactly this little island was located—and I became intrigued by the local talent at the Elephant and Castle.

The previous episode’s splash panel is lovely, but it is no match for the one that followed. The third panel is also masterfully executed—the Strangler is a menacing villain straight from central casting.

To be continued…

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For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

The Coward’s Coat

Last week’s episode ended with a flurry of activity—Louise was bound and gagged, and Jacob inadvertently started a fire, which quickly spread.

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Too late, Kevin discover’s Sir Guy’s secret weapon, but as the story concludes, Sir Guy will get his just desserts.

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Ain’t karma a bitch?


All That and More

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The two story arcs just presented—plus a dozen more!—are featured in the collection “Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures September 5, 1954 to June 2, 1957”.

Compiled by Eisner Award-winning comics historian Frank M. Young, the collection is available online from Amazon (a bargain at $14.99).

As Described on the back cover: Unjustly neglected in newspaper comics histories, Kreigh Collins’ Kevin the Bold is one of the 1950s’ best, with outstanding artwork and witty scripting. Here are close to three years of Kevin (and Collins) at the top of their game, sourced from rare syndicate proofs.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Sir Guy’s Revenge

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The pirates picked a fight with the wrong crew—even the “gentle” artist Stephen gets into the act. (It’s always interesting to note how Kreigh Collins portrayed artists in his comics).

Louise Essex is slowly coming to her senses; unfortunately, she’s still a bit naive.

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Kind of a funny thing, lovely Louise is running around and can’t seem to make an impression on the men—meanwhile they’re both headed to the shore, to scrutinize the same boat.

Jacob Merrily, an acquaintance of Stephen’s, was introduced during the previous sequence—in the March 4 episode. When Stephen went into hiding, the kindly old sailor gave him shelter; following a chance encounter with Louise, his protective instincts kick in again.

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Sadly, things didn’t work out the way Jacob had intended.

Next, will Stephen stop for lunch? Or will Kevin persuade him to investigate the smoke first? Check back next week for this story’s conclusion!


Note to readers: I know you’re situated all over the world, but wherever you are, I hope you are healthy and safe from the coronavirus. The situation is getting a bit worse where I am, in northern New Jersey, but at this point my family and I are fine. I sincerely hope the same is true for you.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

The Battle Draws Nigh

A surprise visit by Louise catches Sir Guy Thornberry unawares. (It’s hard to imagine what they see in him, but Sir Guy certainly attracts lovely young ladies).

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Shoving  Jacob Merrily to the ground, Thornberry shows his true colors, and Merrily’s comment proves to be prophetic.

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The May 27 episode is a beauty, with especially arresting opening and closing panels. The events are equally portentous with Louise naively sharing sensitive information and Kevin discussing the merits of different sailing rigs. It also includes an interesting sailing term of the day, shouted by the watch. These days, left is referred to as “port” side of a ship, as is “starboard” for the right, but in the 16th century, the left was known as the “larboard” side.

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As Stephen Moore sketches, the battle draws nigh.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Lovesick Louise

The action from the preceding story arc continues, and with many of the same characters. Sir Guy Thornberry has skulked offstage, but for how long? For reasons unknown, Louise Essex is smitten with the scoundrel. Meanwhile, King Henry has an important job for Kevin—once he overcomes a certain obstacle.

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The second panel has a nice rendering of the Cliffs of Dover.

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By this point, there wasn’t much difference in the print quality of the comics in the Chicago Sunday Tribune and the Detroit News (as shown below). One detail the Tribune versions lacked was the comic’s date inked into one of the panels (shown in the final panel of the News version). For Trib comics that didn’t appear at the top of a page, with the date typeset directly above, a nice personal detail for me is the date written on them, recognizable to me as done by my grandmother, Theresa. (“Teddy” also frequently modeled poses for her husband and basically served as his secretary).

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The colors are a bit richer in the “Tribune” version, but in the third panel there seems to have been some indecision whether to include a yellow background or not.

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I think the second and third panels look better with a white background.

Another nice family detail is found in the name of the ship Kevin captains. Argonaut was the name of Kreigh Collins’ own sailboat, a yawl—somewhat smaller than her namesake (I think she was only 25′ long). And while Collins purchased his schooner Heather later this same summer, she too was dwarfed by Kevin’s ship.

Argonaut-Heather

Collins and his family sailed aboard “Argonaut” (shown at left in Racine, WI) from 1952–1956, and aboard “Heather” (shown in Annapolis, MD) from 1956–1972.


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.

Bargaining with the King

This story arc concludes with three episodes taken from three different newspapers: the Chicago Sunday Tribune, the Florida Times-Union, and the Detroit News. The reproduction quality varies noticeably. Despite being years past its early 1950s prime, the Tribune is superior, the News is decent, and the Times-Union… not so much.

Kevin finds himself in the King’s good graces and is soon made an offer that he cannot refuse. Kevin agrees, under one condition.

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Where Kevin has brought Marion Drake and Stephen Moore untold happiness, he has served an equal amount of misery to Sir Guy Thornberry.

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What’s the deal with all of that magenta?

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April 22, 1956 — The Detroit News

As Thornberry crawls off, tail between his legs, Kevin receives an assignment from his new champion, King Henry. In fact, the King becomes an oft-recurring character in “Kevin the Bold,” appearing in at least 14 more story arcs over the next 6-plus years of the comic strip’s run.

Next week: Sir Guy Thornberry seeks revenge!


For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.