Il Nerbiniano – Anno VIII, n. 4

NERB 08 04 C1

During a trip to Italy this summer, I met with an old friend from Trieste—Fabrizia had been an exchange student that stayed with my family when I was a senior in high school. What made the reunion sweeter was that she gave me a package containing 14 issues of the Italian comics publication Il NerbinianoAnother friend had generously purchased them for me and mailed them to Fabrizia in order to avoid expensive international shipping. Talk about overstimulation—being in Venice, and having a bella regazza hand over such a wonderful trove of my grandfather’s artwork!

Il Nerbiniano was published for at least ten years; the issues I received came from years IV through VIII (I’ll use Roman numerals per the publication’s style because “when in Rome…”) The number of issues per year varied from four to six. At some point, an Italian translation of KEVIN THE BOLD began running, but without a complete collection, it’s hard to say when—the comic strip’s storylines do not appear in their original sequence. The oldest copy I have seen (Anno III, n. 1) has a sequence from mid-1951, whereas KEVIN’s introductory chapter ran in Il Nerbiniano a few years later (starting in Anno 6, n. 1). This issue was published in the last quarter of 1980.

First up was a profile on Roberto Diso, an artist who illustrated MISTER NO.

This was followed by some material I didn’t have any luck in translating/researching, I’m sorry to say.

For me, things got exciting at the mid-point of the book. The orientation of the artwork on the pages changes, with half of a KEVIN THE BOLD tabloid episode appearing before and after a four-page section geared toward subscriptions. Because the action picks up with the third and fourth tiers of the episode (January 28, 1951), there isn’t a KEVIN logo identifying the strip. Following the four subscription pages, another half-episode appears—the first and second tiers of the February 4, 1951 episode. It’s a shame they are arranged like this, otherwise each spread would feature a single tabloid version. It would have been an impressive layout due to Il Nerbiniano’s ample trim size—these reproductions are larger than the original tabloid versions.

Issues of Il Nerbiniano generally included two to four KEVIN episodes, but on this occasion, it ran the equivalent of eight episodes—meaning KEVIN occupied more than half of the issue’s pages. As the issue’s featured comic strip, it ran in two colors.

Halfway through the pages featuring Collins’ artwork, The “Count de Falcon” chapter ends and the action transitions to the next sequence,“The Search for Sadea.”

The conclusion of the “Sadea” chapter would appear in Il Nerbiniano’s future issues (assuming there were any). As the final issue of 1980, the back cover was dedicated to a New Year’s greeting (“Best wishes to all readers”).

By splitting the tabloid comics in half and running them on two separate pages, they are printed about 12-3/4″ wide, larger than the original Sunday versions. ’ve heard of half-page comics turned into tabloids, but vice-versa? Interesting. By running landscape-oriented versions, they appear twice as large as they would otherwise, but only half as many comics fit in the six pages allotted to Kevin. Either way, there wouldn’t be enough room for the entire sequence, so it’s nice to see them enlarged like this, it must be a sign that Il Nerbiniano’s editors appreciated the quality and detail of Kreigh Collins’ comics. Perhaps this sequence continued in the next issue of Il Nebiniano?


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

She Said Yes!

Once again, beautiful Marie dominates the July 7 episode, which includes a very charming, barrier-breaking throwaway panel where she addresses the reader directly—visible only in the half-page format such as this. Meanwhile, the final panel introduces a character who has proven to be a scene-stealer in the past.

Where have I seen that snout before? Craigwood Molloc Druich bears a resemblance to a certain pup Collins had featured in MITZI McCOY nearly 20 years earlier—Stub Goodman’s dog, Tiny.

Tiny played a significant part in the metamorphosis of MITZI McCOY into KEVIN THE BOLD—but that’s another story.

To be continued…

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More Tiny?

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” back in stock, features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, MITZI McCOY, and includes Tiny the Irish Wolfhound in one third of its episodes.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ 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 in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” 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.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an afterword by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book’s price is $30. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, add $25 for first class shipping. To place an order, leave a comment below or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal information.

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

Rinaldo Senza Paura

Aware that KEVIN THE BOLD had been published as part of the 1970s Italian comic book “Il Nerbiniano,” I recently learned that Kevin was originally featured in his own line of comic books under the moniker RINALDO SENZA PAURA. It’s a great name for our hero, since Rinaldo means “wise power” or “ruler’s advisor,” and senza paura translates to “fearless.” (A huge grazie to my friend Davide for alerting me to these Italian editions!)

The comic books must be rare—the ones listed on ebay are quite expensive. According to the publishing information Davide sent, 14 editions were published by La Rosa dei Venti, based in Milano, dating from 1953–54. Printed in a horizontal format, the comic books were initially 24.5 cm x 17 cm (9.6″ x 6.7″) and 32 pages long; after four or five issues the trim size was reduced to 17 cm x 8 cm (9.6″ x 3.1″) and ran 96 pages. Here are some of the larger-format issues:

Above at left, the first RENALDO SENZA PAURA issue (53-7-30). The sample interior pages show it featured KEVIN THE BOLD’s debut “McCoy Family Legend” story arc, while the cover comes from the second story arc (“The Search for Sadea”). Above center (RSP issue 53-09-30) also has cover and interior pages from “The Search for Sadea;” above right (RSP issue 53-10-30) has cover and interior pages from KEVIN’s fourth “Baron Von Blunt” sequence. Below are some of the smaller-format issues. Perhaps these were designed to be pocket-sized—if you had deep enough pockets (if I had deeper pockets, I’d own one of these beauties!)

The cover for issue 54-04-15 features the ruthless Zameel, interior pages indicate that the issue also ran the Cave Bear sequence.

Kevin wasn’t the only character expanding into a new market—inside front covers often carried ads for other NEA titles.

While doing this research, an interesting hit led me to an old book. It contains a very old poem—and by old, I mean 13th century! A reprinted version of the book lists 1788 as its date of publication, though I’m not certain if the following images are from same edition. Below, its title page.

The book, nearly 300 pages long, consists of a single poem, written in over 2,000 eight-line stanzas. The first page of the book has a large woodcut illustration showing two armored men battling, helpfully including identifications of the combatants—one of whom is named Rinaldo.

Every few pages, one of the stanzas is replaced by a woodcut spot illustration; occasionally there are two of these illustrations on a single page. I asked a friend from Italy if she could provide some translations, but she said it was written in very old Italian and difficult to read.

The illustration on the left appears to show a dragon, an man in armor, and his horse.

The reason this interesting old book come up in my search results was due to a mention (in the seventh line of stanza 53) of the character illustrated on the title page, “Rinaldo senza paura.”

This old poem seems to be the inspiration for Kevin’s moniker in the Italian comic books. It’s an excellent choice, given the subject matter of the poem, and the fact that it dates (approximately) to the era in which KEVIN THE BOLD was set.

In all, the book contained about 25 different spot illustrations. In general, each one was repeated several times at various points in the book, leading me to surmise that they were decorative, and not specific to the action of the poem.

Many of the illustrations depict the type of scenes portrayed in KEVIN THE BOLD episodes. Above, in the first column, we see horsemen riding with banners flying, a ship being loaded with cargo, and a view of a walled city. The second column has three scenes featuring a king—on the battlefield, in the throne room surrounded by advisors, and watching two men in combat. The bottom illustration appears to show a soldier being led away as a prisoner. The third column has scenes of mounted soldiers preparing for or engaging in combat, with the bottom one featuring a centaur who seems to have killed one of the two soldiers he was facing. The fourth column features hand-to-hand combat; the bottom illustration appears to show a soldier carrying the severed head of his opponent.

While it is doubtful that Kreigh Collins ever saw this old book, he was known for thoroughly researching his subject matter, and many of KEVIN THE BOLD’S adventures were likely based on similar original sources.

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Ciao, Italia

Next week, I will be traveling to Italy. Along the way, I hope to find some comic book shops that have (affordably priced) copies of either Il Nerbiniano or Kevin Senza Paura. If anyone knows of any stores I should visit in Milano, Firenze, Venice, or Verona, please let me know! Leave a message below, or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com. Grazie!

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On Deck

Next week, a new story arc begins. It features the villain Count Noir, and ran in the funnies in the summer of 1957. The story arc picks up where the action in “Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures” leaves off. “Sunday Adventures” is a collection of nearly three years’ worth of episodes, presented in a black and white tabloid format, from original proofs (for all but a few episodes). Available here.

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

Mas El Diario

To commemorate today’s National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan, here are some more examples from El DIario. I don’t have much information about the newspaper (originally published in San Juan, Puerto Rico), but I learned its NYC edition originated in the late 1940s.

June 15, 1952

Based on the logo at the top of the page, this must be issue No. 126. I assume that El Diario was a daily, but if so, the “126” is confusing—June 15 is not the 126th day of the year, but the 152nd. “126” also doesn’t make sense if the paper was published six times a week—then it would be issue No. 141. in KEVIN EL AUDAZ, “–126–” is inscribed in the final panel, to the right of the usual NEA date identifier “6-15”. I don’t recall where I got this image, but I do have a hard copy of the 8-page comic section from El Diario No. 127, which follows. It is comprised of three NEA strips and five from United Features.

June 22, 1952

The action in KEVIN EL AUDAZ continues from the previous episode, and El Diario’s identification number is again inscribed in the final panel along with NEA’s “6-22”.

The second page has the United Features Syndicate’s title FERD’NAND (by Mik, AKA Henning Dahl Mikkelsen).

I don’t see a “–127–” label, but the final panel does have “7–13,” which seems to indicate a date (July 13, 1952 was a Sunday). Being unfamiliar with FERD’NAND, I wonder if this episode ran early?

Page 3 featured another United Features Syndicate title, DORITA, originally Ernie Bushmiller’s FRITZI RITZ.

DORITA is labelled with both a “127” and “July 13.” Next up, page 4 has NEA’s Spanish version of CHRIS WELKIN, PLANETEER (written by Russ Winterbotham and drawn by Art Sansom). CRISTOBAL TROTAMUNDOS DEL ESPACIO is labelled “6-22” and “–127–”.

VIC FLINT (Michal O’Malley and Dean Miller), on the fifth page, has the labels “6-29” (?) and “–127–”.

This is followed by the Spanish version of Raeburn Van Buren’s ABBIE AN’ SLATS (“7-13” and “–127–”).

That’s an interesting episode—I wish I could read Spanish! It is followed by EL CHIQUITO ABNER (Al Capp), also labelled “7-13” and “–127–”.

Running on the back page of the section was Warren Tufts’ CASEY RUGGLES, another United Features Syndicate title, also labelled “7-13” and “–127–”.

With all the 7-13 labels, I wonder if the section was actually from July, since only the NEA strips had June dates either 6-22 or 6-29). If any readers have better information on El DIario, please leave a comment. As I like to mention, I am no comics expert, and please accept my apologies for any mistakes I make.

While the publication dates are confusing, I think the publisher of El DIario clearly made the right call on which comic strip to feature on the front page of its comic section.

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

Big Horn No. 2

Issue No. 2 of the French comic book Big Horn follows the same format as its predecessor. In addition to Warren Tufts’ title comic, it also features John Wheeler’s KID COLORADO and Kreigh Collins’ KEVIN LE HARDI (“Kevin the Bold“).

Because these comic books are so thick (132 pages), they don’t scan very well. These images are photos I took outside with the comic book spread flat beneath a piece of plexiglass. Leading off is BIG HORN.

Full- or half-page ads separate the comic book’s features, which include a text-heavy short story. BIG HORN is followed by the more graphic KID COLORADO.

Once again, KEVIN LE HARDI brings up the rear of the book. It leads off with another nicely illustrated opener—but I can’t immediately peg which episode it came from.

The action picks up where it left off in No. 1, partway through the September 30, 1951 episode.

As before, the panels’ original sequence has been edited, with some of them omitted completely.

(Sorry about the glare in the images—I was taking the pictures on a relatively balmy day in mid-January).

Page 117 was devoted to the splash panel that was featured in an all-time great episode (October 28, 1951).

An oft-mentioned line in biographies of Kreigh Collins is that he employed his wife, Thersa, as a model. The comic book’s final panel is a good example—the close-up of the princess dressed as a commoner. The previous panel was likely posed by Teddy as well. While I can’t vouch for the décolletage, my grandmother did have a very slight build.

Despite the caption at the bottom of the final panel, this was not the end of the episode—it went on for another nine weeks. That action is featured in Big Horn No. 3.

Finalement, congratulations to Emmanuel Macron on his reelection as President of France.

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

Power to the People

Following Count Nargyle’s dramatic disappearance is an equally astonishing entrance.

The October 23 episode is a beauty—its two oversized panels showcase some wonderful artwork. The colors are rather unique too—the burgundy in the first frame and the ghostly, almost psychedelic trees looming in the background of the last seem to come from a different palette.

Meanwhile, with his options limited, Count Nargyle makes important concessions to the beggars of the forest.

The reunion between Kevin and Brett inspired Kreigh Collins to employ a favorite pose—a boy playing leapfrog.

It first appeared in an episode of BIBLE STORIES COMICS (far right, c. 1944) and then twice in KEVIN THE BOLD (October 30, 1955 and December 15 1963). Collins used it a final time in his last NEA feature, UP ANCHOR!, where it popped up in a “Water Lore” topper from 1968.

Next week, the story of Brett meting the beggars of the forest continues, and another lovely lass is introduced.

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

The Deadfall

Mitzi continues to wander, realizes the great mistake she’s made, and starts to seek shelter.

Inches from certain demise, Mitzi is saved by Tim’s quick thinking.

Tim’s shouted warning has also put Mitzi in an eye-catching position! Seeing a familiar face seems to have brought her back to her senses, and Tim has landed a major scoop for the Freedom Clarion.

Mitzi was fortunate not to have gotten caught in the deadfall trap. Several years before turning up in MITZI McCOY, Collins illustrated one of the devices for the book “The Lone Woodsman,” by Warren H. Miller (1943). Though unfortunately printed on cheap wartime paper, the book contains numerous lovely illustrations and comes highly recommended.

MITZI’s introductory chapter ends with a humorous denouement. The dialogue brings a smile to my face due to a phrase my father often used in lieu of cursing—“Blankety Blank!” (sixth panel). Although Erik and Kreigh weren’t close, the two shared plenty of idioms. I think their estrangement is one of the main reasons I am so interested in my grandfather’s career. Growing up, iIt’s not like I was unaware of my grandfather’s work, I just wish there was more dialog about it when Kreigh and Erik were still alive. Of the few comments my father made on the subject was a bemused remark when I switched my college major from engineering to graphic design—“a commercial artist, that’s what my dad was.” Although Kreigh died young (shortly after his 66th birthday), my grandmother lived into her eleventh decade, and I’m proud that she lived long enough to see I had started collecting Kreigh’s comics, and had taken the first steps to start raising his profile. As his wife, muse, frequent model, and champion, I know she took pride in that.

To read more about the return of Mitzi’s ex-fiancé, and the other goings-on in the little town of Freedom, order a copy of “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy.”

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An Overlooked Classic

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy” features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, and is available for a limited time at a reduced price.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ 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 in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” 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.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book is available for $30 ONLY $20! For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, please add $25 to cover first class shipping. To place an order, leave a comment below or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

______________________________________________________________________

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

Mitzi, You’re Lost

Meeting Pemican, Tim has lucked out. Mitzi too, but she is blind to her good fortunate.

Perhaps you could chalk it up due to stress, but Mitzi’s reaction to her benefactors certainly hasn’t aged well. Then again, bolting does seem second nature for Miss McCoy.

Appearing for the first time in MITZI’s seventh episode was a new title logo. It’s possible that this graphic was executed by an NEA staff artist, following Collins’ original. At this point, Collins still handled the lettering of all the balloons and captions. (Art Sansom would take over in episode number 25, on April 24, 1949).

OK, clearly I’m a Mitzi McCoy apologist. That’s a pretty vile thought running through her head, but remember—this is 1948. Sadly, many others besides Mitzi harbored such feelings. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Mitzi redeems herself before this chapter ends!

The final MITZI McCOY episode from 1948 was used as a promotion, sent to newspapers as an enticement to carry Collins’ strip. I’m lucky to have a copy of this slick reproduction, one of two in my collection. If I was the comics editor of a newspaper, the first panel would have sold me. And maybe that sweet visage would’ve distracted me from Tim mansplaining in the following two panels.

It’s s visually arresting episode—it even reintroduces Phil Rathbone. In a bit of foreshadowing, Mitzi’s ex-fiancé is razzed by some young ladies—Phil won’t appear again until MITZI’s second chapter, when he’ll play a more memorable part.

_________________________________________________________________________

An Overlooked Classic

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy” features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, and is available for a limited time at a reduced price.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ 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 in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” 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.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book is available for $30 ONLY $20! For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, please add $25 to cover first class shipping. To place an order, leave a comment below or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

______________________________________________________________________

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

Wild Goose Chase

A news item from Stub Goodman’s Freedom Clarion has reached the big city papers, and the little guys move quickly, trying to stay on top of the story of Mitzi’s disappearance.

MITZI’s third episode is again densely packed with figures and action as the narrative picks up speed. My knowledge of comics history is somewhat limited, but MITZI reminds me of CONNIE, an earlier strip by Frank Godwin. Like Collins, Godwin’s background was in illustration, and both strips’ protagonists were female aviators. A connection between the two artists first happened in the early 1940s, when the two produced illustrations for Hermann Hagedorn’s “The Book of Courage,” published by The John C. Winston Company in 1943.

Near the onset of his professional career (late 1920s), while summering in a rural northern Michigan cottage with his new wife Theresa, Kreigh Collins came across a discarded old birch bark canoe. He set about restoring it, and it became a frequently-used prop in his artwork. It first appeared in paintings, then as a magazine cover, and later as a part of the “Do You Know—” series (a 16-month, daily newspaper feature Collins illustrated from 1935–1937).

Eventually, the canoe made its way into the fourth episode of MITZI McCOY, reproducing beautifully in the nascent comic strip’s first splash panel.

The episode is packed with more arresting content—a racing canoe, a suggestively posed and unconscious Mitzi, her burning aircraft, and some stereotypically-depicted Indigenous people (whose conversation quickly brings Mitzi back to consciousness). Collins availed himself to his “Do You Know—” canoe reference material a second time for this episode. Having launched his career as the Great Depression began, Kreigh had learned the virtues of thriftiness.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle, er, Canada’s Great North Woods, Tim has made tracks in his pursuit of Mitzi. His 1,000-mile trip from Freedom, Michigan would likely situate him near the northern boundary of Manitoba, on the western shores of Hudson Bay. While the Great North Woods might be sparsely populated, folks tend to be friendly—lucky for Tim.

The chase continues (as do the plugs for my book).

An Overlooked Classic

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy” features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, and is available for a limited time at a reduced price.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ 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 in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” 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.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book is available for $30 ONLY $20! For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, please add $25 to cover first class shipping. To place an order, leave a comment below or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

______________________________________________________________________

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

The Runaway Bride

Seventy-three years ago today, Kreigh Collins’ first NEA-syndicated Sunday comic was published. After a short courtship by the Cleveland-based syndicate, and a one-off feature proposal by Collins (the unpublished TOM MATCH AND STUB), the two sides settled on a weekly serial named for a headstrong daughter of wealth, and featuring a cast of characters that took turns in the spotlight.

Elements of Collins’ proposed comic strip remained, but were reshuffled significantly. Much of the action revolved around the employees of a small-town weekly newspaper, but unlike TOM MATCH AND STUB, where a younger man was the boss of his older employee, in MITZI McCOY the employees operate under a more traditional arrangement, with the young reporter (Tim Graham) working for the grizzled publisher (Stub Goodman). These changes were no doubt strong-armed by NEA Features director Ernest “East” Lynn—and in hindsight, it seems to be a case of Lynn trying to remind the freethinking Collins of who was in charge.

Despite their differences, the pair worked well together, and the result was a long and fruitful relationship for Collins and the NEA. MITZI McCOY takes off immediately, with our heroine abruptly cancelling her own wedding. Before long, Mitzi is airborne too.

While the strip would continue to evolve over its short lifespan (23 months), it started strongly, featuring many elements typical of Collins’ style. There was action, scenes rendered from multiple viewpoints, beautiful illustrations, and lovely women. Collins modeled the strip’s titular character after Rita Hayworth, a lovely choice, but it is unclear if this was his decision or Lynn’s—TOM MATCH AND STUB had introduced a sultry brunette in its lone episode.

Rita Hayworth, circa 1940

Regardless, basing Mitzi on the woman who was arguably the most popular pin-up girl of the WWII era was a fine idea.

Collins worked hard on his new project, as MITZI’s expertly-composed and detailed panels make clear. Each one was packed with visual information; Collins initially handled the lettering as well. The Grand Rapids Public Library has a large collection of original MITZI McCOY artwork in its local history collection, and these oversized pieces of original artwork are a marvel to behold.

In the strip’s second episode, regulars Stub and Tim make several appearances, but so do Mitzi, her father, and a smattering of the small town’s residents. Also included are Stub’s jalopy, Mitzi’s convertible, Mr. McCoy’s Packard, a couple of the McCoy family’s boats, Mitzi’s seaplane, and different setting or viewpoint for each of the episode’s ten panels.

November 14, 1948. From the collection of the Grand Rapids Public Library

Nice details from this episode include the third panel, with Mitzi running down the dock to her seaplane (shown in the foreground, with her convertible parked up high in the background), the realistically-rendered printshop interior shown in the panel directly below, the body language shown by Stub as he takes an earful from Mr. McCoy bottom left, and the gossipy townsfolk shown in the final panel, all hunched over and peaking at the scene playing out on the street corner, as they learn the scandalous news of the McCoy family.

When in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I highly recommend paying a visit to the city’s main library in order to view the MITZI originals up close. If a visit to Beer City is not in your travel plans, a nice fallback option is to acquire a copy of the book, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins: The Complete Mitzi McCoy,” with details (you guessed it!) provided below.

An Overlooked Classic

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” is available for a limited time at a reduced price; it features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ 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 in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” 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.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book costs $30 ONLY $20! For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, please add $25 for first class shipping. To place an order, leave a comment below or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

______________________________________________________________________

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