Joining the Troupe

Unaware that Torre Hemlar has followed them to England, the mood lightens as Kevin and Rupert become acquainted with their new friends, play actors.

These richly-printed episodes, from the Chicago Tribune, feature wonderful illustrations and great dialog. I especially like Barto’s line from the second panel about mistaking appearance for reality. The throwaway panels add educational diagrams and charming snapshots of the episodes’ ladies.

KTB 011153 HF 150 QCC

A sudden threat interrupts Kevin and Rupert’s afternoon and Kevin quickly takes evasive action; Torre Hemlar thinks he’s set a trap.

KTB 011853 HF 150 QCC

Hidden in plain sight, the ruse worked, and the troupe of actors moves on.

KTB 012553 HF 150 QCC

Believing he owes him his life, Barto bravely steps in front of an arrow meant for Kevin. With what appears to be a mortal wound, the actor utters his final dramatic words. Coldly, Barto prepares to strike again.


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

Facing the Storm

Kevin manages to escape with the drugged prince, but when he comes to, Rupert’s confusion quickly changes to fear.

KTB 113052 HF 150 QCC

The November 30 and December 7 episodes are beautifully-printed examples Chicago Sunday Tribune, but Rupert’s fear is somewhat overstated in the second panel below, with his overly worried expression and his jaundiced complexion—indeed, he is yellow.

KTB 120752 HF 150 qcc

A casual reader might see Kevin or Rupert sailing the longboat into the ferocious storm, but what they were doing was trying to keep the boat’s bow pointed into the wind until the storm blew over. A quick check of the term “broach” yields the rightfully scary-sounding definition “[broaching] can cause the boat to enter a death roll… and if not controlled may lead to a capsize or pitchpole and turning turtle.” Knowing how to utilize a sea anchor is useful information to a sailor, and events in “Kevin the Bold” called for the device every four or five years.

ktb-112457-hf-200-qcc

November 24, 1957

KTB 040961 TH 150 qcc.jpg

April 9, 1961

I’m sure a sea anchor is mentioned once or twice in Collins’ final NEA comic strip, “Up Anchor!” I also remember my father describing them while we sailed together—I guess they were part of regular conversation in the Collins household.

KTB 121452 HF 150 qcc.jpg

Meanwhile, things are grim in Lutenberg, and as Kevin and Rupert approach England, Kevin ponders how to help the young prince overcome his fears.

 


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

The Four Corners

Kreigh Collins truly had a wanderlust, and his comic strips’ settings reflected this as well. “Mitzi McCoy” was set in Freedom, Michigan, but in its short run, Mitzi traveled to Canada’s North Woods (in her own plane), Miami Beach, New York City, and Chicago; action also took place in ancient Rome and Ancient Israel.

“Kevin the Bold” had an 18-year run, and its protagonist travelled much more extensively—to the four corners of the Earth.

KTB 010652 HF 150 QCC

This dramatic Irish cliff seems at least party inspired by the Cliffs of Moher.

Although Kreigh Collins never visited Ireland, he did travel to Morocco as a young man, and his classic Sadea sequence from 1952 featured the North African country.

KTB 041551 150 qcc

Situated as close to Ireland as it was, much action took place in the Netherlands, as in this episode from 1961. Bruges (Belgium), was also a relatively short trek for Kevin.

KTB 032661 TH 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 100751 HF 150 QCC

Often, action was taking place in several distant lands in a single comic. The March 16, 1952 episode features Switzerland, northern Italy, and Byzantium (aka Constantinople).

ktb-031652-ha-150-cst-qcc

In a sequence that has yet to run on this blog, Kevin travels to Venice and eventually sails to the eastern Mediterranean in pursuit of the pirate Zyclos.

KTB 060852 HA CST 150 qcc

Much of the action from the mid-50s episodes of “Kevin the Bold” took place in London and other locations in England; fictitious German towns were also a frequent setting. In Firenze, Kevin nearly bumped into Leonardo Da VInci.

KTB 082452 HF 150 QCC

On an adventure that was published in the summer of 1953, Kevin traveled as far east as the Caucasus Foothills (Georgia, Asia). By the end of that chapter, he was back in the south of France.

KTB 062153 HF 200 QCC

KTB 070553 HF 200 QCC

The next year, Kevin rode to Muscovy (modern-day Moscow). And of course, Kevin’s travels were generally in the name of fighting injustice. KTB 090554 HA CST 150 qcc

In 1955, Kevin set sail for Suez, Egypt, in order to return a princess to father. For this episode, Collins prepared a customized layout for the Chicago Tribune, featuring fewer panels and the addition of a nicer rendering of Kevin’s storm-tossed ship.

KTB 032055 HF 300 QCC

KTB 032055 HA CST 150 qcc

A later sequence took place in Norway, again featuring one of the artist’s specialties, beautifully-drawn boats.

KTB 052558 HA 150

In early 1962, Kevin’s adventures to him to the New World, the first of several trips he would make across the Atlantic.

KTB 021862 BWT 150 bw

The following year, a storm struck Kevin’s ship and blew him off course—apparently around Cape Horn and into the Pacific, where he eventually beached in Japan. Unfortunately, and not so surprisingly, given the era in which this episode was published, the Japanese are shown with a skin tone beyond caricature. (However, by the time the sequence had wrapped, this travesty was corrected).

KTB 042163 HA 150 qcc.jpg

In the mid-60s Kevin again crossed the Atlantic, reaching the North America mainland. He saw the location of the ill-fated colony of Roanoke, Niagara Falls, and the California coast.

KTB 080165 150 qcc

KTB 041766 HA 150 qcc

KTB 061266 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Near the end of its run, Kevin’s journey takes him furthest from his Irish beginnings, to the other side of the world, the South Sea Isles.

KTB 030368 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Although Kevin’s journey seemingly brought him to the four corners of the world, this blog’s readers hail from an even more diverse list of exotic lands:

Estonia, Slovakia, Bolivia, Bahrain, Vietnam, Iceland, Malta,
the Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Albania, Honduras,
Luxembourg, Greenland, Ecuador, Singapore, Qatar, Tunisia,
American Samoa, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Peru, Romania,
Japan, Guam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia, Macedonia, Puerto Rico,
Latvia, Myanmar, Poland, Greece, Indonesia, Uruguay, Panama,
Pakistan, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Belgium, South Africa,
Nigeria, South Korea, Ukraine, Mexico, Switzerland, Hong Kong,
Ireland, Norway, Turkey, New Zealand, Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Philippians, Finland, Hungary, Chile, Australia, India, Argentina,
Thailand, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Serbia, Denmark,
Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Brazil, Croatia, Portugal, Spain,
Italy, France, and (not as exotic to me), the United States

In commemoration of this blog’s fourth anniversary, I thank its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


The Perfect Anniversary Gift!

Forget those traditional and modern gift lists—click here to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. In addition to the entire run of “Mitzi McCoy,” the book includes the opening sequence of the comic strip “Mitzi” evolved into, “Kevin the Bold.”

The book also features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


 

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

 

Catching a Snag

KTB 092654 HA 150 CST qcc

Kevin learns the unlikely truth about the sword fighter he leapt to save, and of the horrible fate of the prince. This information is recounted by a newfound ally, and although the old man isn’t given a name, he has an unusual physical feature—a hook for a right hand (not so different than the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister). Notably, the episode’s dramatic splash panel was used as back cover art for a highly-recommended 2017 collection of “Kevin the Bold” comics (details below).

Kevin book back cover.jpg

As a whole, these Chicago Tribune comics are not as vibrantly reproduced as examples from earlier in the decade, but the October 3 episode printed quite nicely.

KTB 100354 HA 150 CST qcc

Kevin’s plan to get inside catches a snag—and another snag saves his hide.

KTB 101054 HA 150 CST qcc

The October 10 episode is a marvel; it features perhaps my favorite panel in the comic strip’s entire 18-year run. It is even more dramatic as seen in a black-and-white syndicate proof, which showcases Collins’ mastery of composition and illustration.

KTB 101054 300 BWP BW panel cc


Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures

61NhkKcYitL

Here are over 140 episodes of this rollicking, witty and dramatic lost Sunday comics classic! With elegant artwork and smart storytelling by creator Kreigh Collins, KEVIN THE BOLD blends swordplay, suspense, humor and history in a rugged, highly appealing blend! 95% of the material is sourced from black and white syndicate proofs. Available here.

 


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

A Pretty Little Speech

Besides becoming an artist, the only other career choice Kreigh Collins considered was to become a magician. By the time he reached high school he’d made up his mind, yet magic cropped up in his work frequently enough. In 1937, he wrote Tricks, Toys, and Tim, a unique “how-to-do-it” book  published by D. Appleton-Century — Kreigh’s illustrations appeared throughout. In his later work, subjects related to magic came up — “Mitzi McCoy” had a sequence featuring a yodeling cowboy with a ventriloquist’s dummy (!) — and ventriloquism was featured again in this “Kevin the Bold” storyline.

KTC Tricks Toys cover 150

If you find a copy, buy it! You won’t be sorry. More information on “Tricks, Toys, and Tim” here.

Unfortunately, Kevin and Tankard are unaware of the current fearful climate in the little Dutch city of Bomen.

KTB 090251* HA 150 qcc.jpg

The September 9 episode is a good example showing the difference between the Chicago Tribune’s superior color schemes and that of a typical newspaper. Although the image of the half page version is just a snapshot liberated from an old eBay listing, it has richer colors and and a much more extensive palette than the tabloid.

KTB 090951 HA CST 10.6x7.2_150 qcc.jpg

KTB 090951 TA 150

The ever-honorable Kevin bids to save his new friends’ lives by sacrificing his own. In what appears to be a cowardly move, Tankard quickly backs the idea.

KTB 091651 HA CST 150 qcc.jpg

Finding the perfect time to demonstrate his talents, Tankard saves the day. Meanwhile, Kevin is appreciative enough that Tankard accompanies him on his next adventure in Ireland, where no doubt he will demonstrate more magic.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Mitzi cover final

To read the 1949 “Mitzi McCoy” sequence featuring the yodeling cowboy and his ventriloquist’s dummy, pick up a copy of The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy, available here.


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

Sunday, December 27, 1959

Since my comics collection mostly consists of episodes of my grandfather’s comics cut from Sunday papers, the only other comics of the era I’m very familiar with are whatever printed on the other side of those pages. Occasionally, my grandfather saved entire pages (featuring up to a half-dozen comics), and in a few cases, entire comic sections, so these are in my collection too.

One example of an intact section is the Sunday, December 27 edition of the Detroit News, from 1959. Despite being almost 60 years old, nearly all the comics appeared as one-third pagers. The only comic appearing as a half page is Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner.” Unfortunately, due to the size of the News’ masthead, Capp’s comic is pushed down onto the fold, making it more difficult to scan. (Sorry about the slight misalignment of the the comic’s two pieces).

Not surprisingly, many of the comics’ themes revolve around Christmas (“Pogo” by Walt Kelly, “Red Ryder” by Fred Harman, “Freddy” by “Rupe,” “Will-Yum” by Dave Gerard, and “Dennis the Menace” by Hank Ketcham). New Year’s was also a popular motif (“Boots” by Edgar Martin, “Emmy Lou” by Marty Links, and my grandfather’s “Kevin the Bold”). This episode of “Kevin” is notable as far as my grandfather’s career is concerned—it marked the point where the Chicago Tribune dropped his comic. (I also have the comics section from that day’s Tribune).

Winter themes occurred in a couple comics (“Mickey Finn” by Lank Leonard, and “Out Our Way” by J. R. Williams), and Al Fatally & Harry Shorten’s “There Oughta Be a Law” focussed on a birthday, with somewhat racy results (am I seeing tan lines on that model?)

Otherwise, it’s business-as-usual for soap opera strips and other serials (“Rex Morgan, M.D.” by Dal Curtis, “Steve Roper” by Saunders and Overgard, “Mary Worth” by Ernst and Saunders, “Kerry Drake” by Alfred Andriola, and “Tarzan” by Edgar Rice Burroughs) as well as comics like “Archie” by Bob Montana, “Mark Trail” by Ed Dodd, “The Smith Family” by Mr. & Mrs. George Smith, and “Off the Record” by Ed Reed.

As for the other comic included, “Tales from the Great Book: David and Saul” by John Lehti, I’m not sure if this is Old Testament stuff of the New—perhaps I need a nice book of Bible Story Picture Comics to help me get straightened out on that. (The next volume in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins” series will focus on his like-named pre-Mitzi strip, and is tentatively scheduled for publication in September, 2019).

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!


Happy Birthday!

Kreigh Collins was born 111 years ago on New Year’s Day.


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