Vanishing Harbor Gates

Expecting a fight, Kevin is in for a surprise.

KTB 080667 HA 150 qcc.jpg

While half-page examples of “Kevin the Bold” are obviously preferable to any other format, it is interesting to see how the strip appeared in other configurations. As in earlier examples, tabloid versions excised a single panel, but in these latter-day episodes, the throwaway wasn’t a small panel in the second tier but a larger one from the bottom.

KTB 080667 ret qcc.jpg

Because so many newspapers were running third-page examples of the comic strip, Collins began producing his layouts so that the entire third tier could be deleted. The benefit was that his artwork wouldn’t suffer from having all of its panels cropped, but the drawback was obvious. For this post’s first episode, this would be quite unfortunate. For the following pair of episodes, the results wouldn’t be quite as tragic—but a key plot element’s concise description would be lost.

KTB 081367 HA 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 081367 TH 150 qcc

Lightly showing through the third-page above is another NEA feature, Jim Berry’s “Berry’s World.” Berry and Collins were friends; Kreigh was gifted a signed original. Its date is unknown, but its subject (president Lyndon B. Johnson) makes it about the same vintage as these episodes of “Kevin.”

Berry's World.jpg

The August 20, 1967 episode revisits the workings of the harbor’s pontoon gates.

KTB 082067 HA 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 082067 TH 150 qcc

A year later, when “Kevin” morphed into “Up Anchor!”, this problem would be solved more diplomatically. Instead of an expandable third tier, a topper strip (“Water Lore”) would appear. While this solution had less effect on the presentation of the feature comic, it resulted in very few papers running “Up Anchor!” as a half page.

UA 121568 150 HA qcc

Need a great holiday gift idea?

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more charming collection of Golden Age comics than The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 

Drawn and scripted by Kreigh Collins, Mitzi McCoy showcased the artist’s skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume. The last story collected here is the narrative bridge that set Collins and his characters off on a new journey, beautifully told for the next couple of decades in the much-lauded adventure strip Kevin the Bold.

Edited and restored by the artist’s grandson, Brian E. Collins, with an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterword by comics columnist Ed Catto, and a new tribute illustration of Mitzi by Butch Guice

Available HERE from Lost Art Books.

Mitzi cover final

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

The Twist

Things look bleak for Kevin, Sir Richard, and Lucia.

KTB 090863 HA 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 091563 BWT 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 092263 HA 150 qcc.jpg

The possessive nature of Sultana Safia is good fortune, as Kevin and his friends avoid another close shave.

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

Although Mitzi never made it as far as Istanbul, she traveled quite a bit in her comic strip. Read about her exploits in her Michigan hometown, and her travels to Chicago, Florida, and Canada’s north woods in The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. The first-ever collection of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA Sunday comic strip can be ordered here.

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

The Fool

KTB 081863 BWT 150 qcc

After experiencing Sir Richard’s foolhardiness first hand, Kevin witnesses it again. This time it seem certain that it will cost Sir Richard his life.

KTB 082563 HA 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 090163 BWT 150 qcc

In a shocking turn of events, Sultan Murad releases Richard. And sure enough, the foolish Englishman puts them all in harm’s way again. How many times can Kevin overcome Richard’s ineptitude?

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be ordered here.

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

Escape from the Harem

Just prior to the following sequence, Kevin’s travels took him to Japan. How he got so far east is another story, and because my collection of “Kevin” comics is incomplete, it’s a story I cannot recount at this time.

As this new adventure begins, Kevin is aboard a sailboat near Istanbul, a seemingly unusual place to secure intel on Spain’s plans to invade England.

KTB 072863 BWT 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 080463 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Due to the reference to Sultan Murad (III), the events depicted would be occurring c. 1580, the height of the Ottoman Empire. Kevin and tagalong Sir Richard are set to rescue the fetching English spy, Lucia.

KTB 081163 BWT 150 qcc

The August 11 episode is a marvel, and Collins’ beautiful line work is fully on display in the NEA Daily. Despite Sir Richard’s timely suggestion to change into less conspicuous clothing, their daring escape is noticed.

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

Paper Anniversary

In recognition of one year of posting the comics of Kreigh Collins, we will celebrate traditionally. 

Among other papers, “Mitzi McCoy” initially appeared in its beautiful half-page format in the Pittsburgh Press and the Indianapolis Times. Tabloid newspapers, such as the New York Mirror, ran the comic as tabs or half-tabs. In some dailies, such as the Grand Rapids Press, it appeared in black and white.

MM 100249 150

MM 070850 BW TH qcc

Famously appearing from its onset in the prestigious Chicago Sunday Tribune,  “Kevin the Bold” also ran in the Detroit News and other papers. As the Pittsburgh Press had done with “Mitzi,” the Florida Times-Union used “Kevin” to lead off its comic section.

KTB 010453 HF 150

KTB 010955 HF 150

My collection of comics largely consists of my grandfather’s original samples. They are mostly from the Chicago Tribune and the Detroit News. There are sometimes multiple versions of a particular Sunday, from different papers, in different formats. Entire comic sections are occasionally found, often from newspapers of places Kreigh visited during journeys aboard his schooner Heather.

The inclusion of one of these comic sections always piqued my curiosity. It’s a Tribune section dated December 27, 1959. “Kevin the Bold” is nowhere to be found.  Only recently did I realize the significance — in what must have been a devastating blow to the artist, it marked the point when the Tribune dropped the strip after carrying it for a decade. Notably, “Kevin” does appear in another intact section from the same day’s Detroit News. 

Sunday Comic Formats

KTB 102757 HF 72 QCC

Common formats for Sunday strips include the half page, the one-third page, the tabloid page, and the half-tab. Usually, only the half-page format is complete, with the other formats dropping or cropping one or more panels. Such “throwaway” panels often contain material that is not vital to the main part of the strip. Collectors generally value half pages the most, since the other formats are incomplete by comparison. Half-tabs have approximately the same aspect ratio as half-page comics, so while their printed size is quite small (10″ x 7″ vs. 14″ x 10″ for half-pages), at least the reader sees all of the artwork. The half-page version of the October 27, 1957 episode of “Kevin the Bold” is shown above.

When Kreigh’s comics appeared in tabloid papers, the small center panel was generally the throwaway. When they appeared as one-third pages, severe cropping could occur (in addition to losing the throwaway panel). The storyline would continue but the impact of the comic was lessened.

Below are tabloid and third-page versions of the same comic. In this case, Black Llewellyn’s scowl is the throwaway. Too bad! And in the third-pager, each panel is cropped both left and right.

KTB 102757 TA 72 QCC KTB 102757 TH 72 QCC

At bottom, examples of the “Kevin” that ran on October 19, 1952 show an even more unfortunate example of the cropping that could occur. (This strip also has an appearance by Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo would also show up toward the end of “Kevin” ’s run, in 1967).

KTB 101952 HF 72 QCC

KTB 101952 TH 72 qcc