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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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.

_______________________________________________________________

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.”

_________________________________________________________________________

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.

El Diario

May 11, 1952

Over the summer, I came across a new outlet for KEVIN THE BOLD—El DIario, a newspaper that featured a Spanish translation called KEVIN EL AUDAZ. I wasn’t immediately able to find any publishing information for El DIario, and I wondered if it could be from Mexico City.

I’ve been collecting my grandfather’s comics for quite some time, and the related digital files on my computer are fairly organized, yet with all their different sources, sometimes things get… well not quite lost, but it’s a great feeling when they’re rediscovered (“so that’s where I saved it!”). That was how I felt when I came across a couple images from El Mundo (Havana, Cuba), also featuring KEVIN EL AUDAZ. OK, so these newspapers both ran the Spanish version of KEVIN.

Episode 2 — October 8, 1950

While doing further research on El Diario, I learned it was originally published in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a New York City edition appeared sometime after the end of World War II. A tip from a colleague led to my acquisition of a couple El Diario comic sections.

June 8, 1952

Because of the Spanish, It brought to mind KEVIN EL DENODADO (from Argentina’s Tit-Bits magazine), but I soon noticed differences between the two. For one thing, Tit-Bits ran KEVIN episodes about 15 months after their original publication date, whereas El Diario’s episodes appeared in a newspaper and were current. Not only that, but the translations differed, as the corresponding Tit-Bits version (below) shows.

A spread from Tit-Bits issue No. 2311, published on October 6, 1953
The original version of the June 8, 1952 episode.

The rest of the June 8, 1952 comic section follows. While I don’t have the entire section from Havana’s El Mundo, it also features the United Features Syndicate’s title FERD’NAND on the second page, behind KEVIN. Silent comics such as this were an obvious choice for markets with different languages, and it’s interesting to note that the window advertisement in the first panel wasn’t translated (especially since the strip originated in Denmark, and was created by Mik, AKA Henning Dahl Mikkelsen).

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

On Page 4 was NEA’s Spanish version of CHRIS WELKIN, PLANETEER (written by Russ Winterbotham and drawn by Art Sansom), and more NEA material followed, with Vic Flint on page 5.

Two more features from Unite Features were up next, the Spanish version of ABBIE AN’ SLATS (Raeburn Van Buren) and Al Capp’s EL CHIQUITO ABNER.

Running on the back page of the section was Warren Tufts’ CASEY RUGGLES, another United Features Syndicate title.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Flash News

The outline ends. As before, it accurately describes the final episode of the chapter—another graphically-appealing example of Collins’ work. The example I have, like many of the MITZIs in my collection, is a half-page from The Pittsburgh Press. For nearly its entire run, MITZI McCOY was the Press‘ lead comic feature (though as you may have noticed, my examples from this sequence also included tabloids, half-tabloids, a third-page, an NEA promotional slick, and a photo of one of the original pieces of artwork).

This final episode includes several interesting panels. One is an interior of the Freedom Clarion’s work space (note the metal type being composed on the make-ready table, and the first and last panels of the second row both show exterior scenes of the little town of Freedom that very closely resemble those shown in the proto-episode Collins created for NEA that became MITZI. These exterior scenes were modeled after Fishtown, the commercial lakefront district of Leland, Michigan, where Collins spent much time in his career, both at leisure and painting.

As the outline came together in March-April, 1949, Collins was able to sneak in a teaser reference to the upcoming chapter in the one he was currently inking. In the June 12, 1949 episode, from the prior sequence that introduced Dick Dixon, the boy notices a poster for the Notty Pine show that was central to the chapter just featured. (Incidentally, this one is one of my favorite MITZI episodes—along with the Notty Pine reference, DIck stuns Tim Graham with his knowledge of various sailboats’ histories, and there are several beautiful examples of good-girl art—typical hallmarks of Collins’ work.


__________________________________________________________________________________

Speaking of Mitzi…

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, 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.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Search and Rescue

The outline continues.

An aspect that was simplified was the omission of Billy telling Stub his troubles, and Billy’s plan to leave the cave and spread the word about Dick being safe.

Also, no reason was given in the finished episode for Tiny jumping overboard, but otherwise, the episodes neatly match the outline.

This MITZI McCOY chapter will wrap next week with the final episode in the sequence.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

No Gimmicks

The outline continues with some more description of the cave Yo Delle’s manager Billy Buildup found for them to hide out. It also establishes that Billy has a more blue collar existence than many of MITZI McCOY’s other characters, who are busy with leisure activities in the next couple of episodes.

The outline was clearly written by someone familiar with sailing small boats, and the final product shows he had a facility with drawing sailcraft. No doubt the final dialogue was all written by Collins too.

A nice tabloid example of the July 24, 1949 episode shows the footer common to NEA features, with Mitzi fifth from left.

That’s a pretty brave stunt young Dick is pulling, trying to free the Snipe’s centerboard while under sail—all without wearing a life vest. But it’s Stub who needs to be careful. When Stub moves over to the high side to keep an eye on Dick, he causes the boat to jibe. A opposed to tacking into the wind, an uncontrolled jib can be very dangerous, and Stub illustrates this by getting clocked by the boom as it swing quickly across the cockpit. Meanwhile, DIck shows impressive life saving technique as he struggles to get Stub to shore.

The “gimmick” proposed by Collins in his original outline (either a watch with a second hand or something similar) was scrapped and replaced with standard captions, but he revisited the idea nearly a decade later, in a 1957 episode of KEVIN THE BOLD.

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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