The Witch Hunter

Stub’s warning proven true, Kevin starts to swim for shore, looking for safety.

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After being rudely welcomed ashore, Kevin makes an acquaintance with the opportunistic Tankard. There is plenty of knavery afoot, as geese come and go.

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There is joy in the town, but its counterpart is manifest in the witch hunter, Swatrzhunt.

A little more than a year after the August 26, 1951 episode appeared in Sunday papers, its splash panel was repurposed as a cover for Tit-Bits, a weekly publication from Argentina. Tit-Bits featured other comics from the U.S., and even if you don’t know Spanish, like me, the strips are prettily easily identified. In addition to “Kevin el denodado,” typically there are episodes of “Ben Bolt Campeón,” by John Cullen Murphy, Dal Curtis’ “Rex Morgan, Médico,” and “Terry el Piloto/Terry and the Pirates” (George Wunder). Two comic strips whose names aren’t cognates also run—one is familiar to me (Lee Falk & W. McCoy’s “La Sombra/The Phantom”), and the other is not (“Las Llaves del palacio/The Keys to the Palace” by Fernanci).

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Later, there is more to come about “Kevin el Denodado,” but next week, Kevin’s adventures in Holland continue.


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

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Help!

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Once I started collecting my grandfather’s comics, I came up with two goals: publish a book and collect them all. 

Kreighs’ comics appeared in newspapers every Sunday from November 7, 1948 until February 27, 1972, about three and a half decades. Adding it all up—the 23 complete years, the two partial years, and the four times leap years resulted in a year having 53 Sundays (1950, 1956, 1961, 1967)—amounts to 1,217 individual episodes. (Or is it 1,218? Can someone check my math?) However many there are, it’s easy to see why I chose to publish a book first.

Admittedly, I had a great head start with so many of the episodes having been given to me by my uncle. But while my grandfather saved a lot of stuff, I do not have examples of all of his individual comic strips. Since I have all 99 “Mitzi McCoy” episodes and less than half of the “Up Anchor!” comics, what I’m focusing on primarily are the missing “Kevin the Bold” episodes.

Of the 945 or so examples of “Kevin,” there are 45 which I’ve never seen in any form. The first hole in my collection appears about a decade into its run: April 24, 1960

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What happens next? I’d love to know!

A few months later, the October 2, 1960 episode draws a blank. It follows the one shown below, in a tale of two sons—one good and the other bad. Through 1958, I have full-sized (half-page or tabloid) versions of just about every comic, but by 1960, many of my comics are one-third page versions (sigh). But at least these allow the narrative to continue.

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Oh no, Kevin appears mortally wounded! Will he survive?

The next gap in the chronology is found in the first Jay Heavilin-penned sequence (June 25, 1961).

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Lady Goodly? Lady Godiva could be featured on June 25 for all I know.

You know what’s worse than a missing episode? Two consecutive missing episodes! (September 10 and 17, 1961).

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At least the September 3 episode introduced me to the word, “Taradiddle.” I can only imagine the vocabulary featured over the next two weeks.

 Perhaps even more interesting to me are a couple elusive mid-1963 episodes—June 23, 1963 and July 7, 1963. Kevin has made it all the way to Japan. I wish I had the entire sequence of comics to share that adventure with you. Here is part of it—the two comics that precede the two missing ones.

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I’m going to see if I can verify that translation in the throwaway panel.

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Here are the dates of the comics  listed above: 
April 24, 1960
October 2, 1960
June 25, 1961
September 10, 1951
September 17, 1961
June 23, 1963
July 7, 1963

For the last three years of “Kevin the Bold,” I need quite a few: 
January 2 & 16, 1966
May 29, 1966
June 26, 1966
July 10, 17 & 24, 1966
August 21 & 28, 1966
September 4 & 11, 1966
October 2 & 9, 1966
December 25, 1966

January 29, 1967
February 5, 12 & 19, 1967
March 5, 12, 19 & 26, 1967
April 9, 23 & 30, 1967
May 21 & 28, 2967
June 11, 1967
August 27, 2967
October 22, 1967
November 12 & 19, 1967

April 7, 14, 21 & 18, 1968
May 5, 1968
September 15, 1968

Do you have any of these in your collection? I’m more than willing to trade scans. Please leave a message on my blog or contact me directly at brianedwardcollins1(at)gmail.com

Thank you very much.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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To read the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy” comics, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found here; it’s still available at its pre-order price of $24.95.  


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

Stand Alones

The last two comics of this sequence are humorous affairs that, unlike the majority of “Mitzi McCoy” episodes, can stand alone. Grouped with the previous five, they help better describe the goings on in the little town of Freedom and flesh out the characters that live there.

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The June 19 comic reveals a bunch of sailing terminology, most of which I was familiar with, having grown up on boats. One term was new to me, yet sounded familiar. What are “the Henty Books?” A quick google search revealed the answer, as well as a short nsfw distraction when I misspelled the term. You have to be careful with those google searches!

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The June 26, 1949 episode, above, is one of a handful of “Mitzis” for which I don’t have a half-page or tabloid version. Luckily, I was provided with a half-page version by Frank Young, the comics historian who wrote the fine introduction to my recent Mitzi McCoy book.

The action revolves around the model plane Dick Dixon built, and with which Stub is dying to lend a hand. Model building was a frequent pastime in Kreigh Collins’ household (both boats and planes), and the Stub’s comment about box kites is likely autobiographical. 

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Here’s my father, Eric, with his model plane. My dad modeled for Dick Dixon, and this photo was taken at approximately the same time the episode above was being developed. Around the time I was this age, I recall my father still goofing around with gasoline-powered model airplanes in our back yard.

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In this childhood water color of Kreigh’s, I assumed it shows his father at left, with his mother and Kreigh (with a box kite) to the right.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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To read the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy” comics, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found here; it’s still available at its pre-order price of $24.95.  


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

The Return of Mitzi McCoy

Seeing “Mitzi McCoy” go back into print last year made me proud, as the comic strip is an overlooked gem in my (admittedly biased) opinion. This early sequence effectively distills its essence. At this point, the strip’s main characters are still being fleshed out, and lesser ones are slowly being introduced. Tim and Mitzi have just saved Mr. McCoy a bundle of money, and Freedom Clarion editor Stub Goodman worries that he could lose his trusted (and only) employee, Tim, to Mitzi’s father. 

In a sweet third panel, Stub describes how proud he is of his newspaper (to his Irish wolfhound, Tiny), and reveals how much he loves his job. Reading through these comics, part of the fun is looking up obscure references (Samarkand?), and the penultimate panel is an exercise in understated beauty. 

While the mood of the first episode was heart-warming, things darken a bit as we meet Sgt. Douma, a recurring character. Something’s afoot, and it could be dangerous. 

These comics appeared as half pages in the Indianapolis Times and continue over the next two weeks.


Podcast

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To learn more about Kreigh Collins, “Mitzi McCoy,” and how my recent book on Mitzi came together, check out this recent interview: “Anatomy of a Comic Strip,” with host John Siuntres, on his long running pop culture audio podcast, Word Balloon.


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

Kevin Den Tapre

I recently learned a bit about how “Kevin the Bold” first was seen in Denmark. Sunday comics often appeared in weekly magazines, and in August 1951, the weekly Hjemmet began featuring “Kevin” (in issue #32). It replaced the Danish golden age strip “Børnene paa Sydhavsøen” (or, The Children on the South Sea Island), a sort of Robinson Crusoesque comic  illustrated by Svend Otto S. Other U.S. comic strips featured were “The Katzenjammer Kids” and “Bringing Up Father.” 

It was quite interesting finding out that the Danish versions of “Kevin” ran almost contemporaneously to the originals (only 10 months after their publication). In all the business correspondence I’ve read between Kreigh Collins and Ernest Lynn, Collins’ NEA boss, nothing was ever said about “Kevin the Bold” appearing in Scandinavia. The only foreign markets mentioned were Canada, France, and Cuba. I wonder, was my grandfather even made aware of this additional market?

Danish cartoonist Freddy Milton has posted a sizable number of “Kevin Den Tapre” episodes on his blog, found here

In addition to all the background information, this fantastic promotional image was sent to me by my friend in Denmark, Asger, who is working on a collection of the afore-mentioned “Børnene paa Sydhavsøen,” to be published by Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen, a well known Danish comics historian). 

Each of the collage’s three elements came from the October 8, 1950 episode (below), and they were embellished slightly with inking that helps tie them together. (It is Anders’ belief that the comics artist Svend Otto S. created the collage.) 

Anders was also kind enough to translate the text that appeared with the promotional image:

A NEW EXITING COMIC STRIP STARTS NEXT WEEK

In the next issue, we will start a new comic strip, KEVIN THE BOLD, to replace CHILDREN OF THE SOUTHERN SEA, the cartoonist Svend Otto’s strip, which has been a great success, but now, after ten years’ progress, is finished.

KEVIN THE BOLD is designed by Kreigh Collins, who has won international fame for his costume illustrations. The action of the series, taking place on the green island of Ireland in the fifteenth century, is so captivating and dramatic that our young readers — and the elderly — will follow it with breathless excitement.

Kevin, the protagonist, is a man of aristocratic birth who has renounced a superficial existence in wealth and luxury to help the oppressed, and as the story begins he has just begun in the service of the wealthy squire Stafford [McCoy] — as a shepherd.

Moorish pirates on their way to hunt slaves make landing on the island. They rob Stafford’s daughter, the beautiful Nelly [Moya], who plays a major role in the ongoing action, but Kevin, who has an invaluable helper in Stafford’s Wolf Dog Scott [Rory], destroys their plans and fearlessly fights their leaders, Captain Zinbad and the traitor Black Jack [Bull Blackie].

Later Kevin comes across and experiences many other adventures, both at sea and in foreign countries. He is an excellent rider and fencer but also understands how to use his fists when it’s needed — and it often is! Over and over again he is the protagonist in dramatic situations that will captivate anyone who appreciates adventure and excitement. Kevin the Bold starts his first exciting adventures in the next issue, so it’s worth being there from the start.

Here is the original Danish:

Ny spændende tegneserie begynder næste uge

I næste nummer starter vi en ny tegneserie, KEVIN DEN TAPRE, der skal afløse BØRNENE PÅ SYDHAVSØEN, tegneren Svend Ottos serie, som har været en stor succes, men nu – efter ti års forløb – er bragt til afslutning.

KEVIN DEN TAPRE er tegnet af Kreigh Collins, der har vundet international berømmelse for sine kostume-illustrationer. Seriens handling, der udspilles på den grønne ø Irland i det femtende århundrede, er så fængslende og dramatisk, at vore unge læsere – og de ældre med – vil følge den med åndeløs spænding.

Kevin, hovedpersonen, er en mand af aristokratisk fødsel, som har givet afkald på en overfladisk tilværelse i rigdom og luksus for at hellige sig de undertryktes og forurettedes sag, og da historien begynder, er han netop gået i tjeneste hos den velhavende godsejer Stafford – som fårehyrde.

Mauriske pirater på togt efter slaver gør landgang på øen. De røver Staffords datter, den smukke Nelly, der spiller en stor rolle i den fortsatte handling, men Kevin, som har en uvurderlig hjælper i Staffords ulvehund Scott, tilintetgør deres planer og bekæmper frygtløs deres ledere, kaptajn Zinbad og forræderen Sorte Jack.

Senere kommer Kevin vidt omkring og oplever mange andre eventyr, både til søs og i fremmede lande. Han er en glimrende rytter og fægter, men forstår også at bruge de bare næver, når det kniber – og det gør det tit! Gang på gang er han hovedpersonen i dramatiske situationer, der vil fængsle enhver, som sætter pris på eventyr og spænding. – Kevin den Tapre lægger ud til sine første spændende bedrifter i næste nummer, så det kan betale sig at være med fra starten.

________________________________________________

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy, Now Available Internationally

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Orders of The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy are shipping — apologies for any delay. International orders are available—after adding the book to your cart and clicking the “check out” button, there is a pull-down at the top of the page where the desired country can be specified. Find the book here at the publisher’s website.


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

Rejected

Kevin’s new friend Paul Fortin proves that love is blind… in this case, to danger.

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After taking a punch in the previous week’s episode, Paul was left with a nasty black eye. Instructions for the colorists were left at the bottom of the original illustration, but unfortunately, I do not have any color examples of the above comic to show how the bruise was rendered. However, the comic below, with events from the same day, shows no evidence of Paul’s black eye (although Kevin mentions it in the dialog).

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Despite a beggar’s helpful tip, Jacques Boucher shows how ruthless he is—not a good sign for Paul. Making matters worse, Boucher is not the only one plotting against the young student.

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But worst of all (to Paul), he has now been rejected by the object of his desire.

(continued)


Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website 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 and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi cover final


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

Defending Her Honor

The following “Kevin the Bold” sequence, which began in late September 1963, seems to have been an attempt to relate to college-age readers of the funnies. It portrays the students’ 16th-century counterparts as being not so different from themselves. Quick to fall in love, idealistically standing up for their beliefs, and living like slobs—some things never change. (Except for the part about college kids reading newspapers).

Having just arrived in Paris, Kevin is attracted to its beauty and stumbles into a messy scene.

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Paul’s actions are based on emotions rather than logic, and he is headed toward danger to which he is blind. Luckily, his new friend Kevin is more worldly, and willing to help.

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(The sequence continues next week).

In commemoration of this blog’s third anniversary, I would like to thank all of its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website 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 and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

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

 

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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Long in development and currently undergoing final edits, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be printed in September, 2018. This puts it on schedule to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the strip’s 1948 launch. In addition to the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first syndicated comic, “Mitzi McCoy,” the book also includes the opening sequence of the comic strip “Mitzi” evolved into, the better-known and longer-lasting “Kevin the Bold.”

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The book features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winning writer Frank M. Young. Collins’ early life and career are covered as well as the development of both “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold.” Previously unpublished photographs and artwork are included.

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be published by Lost Art Books, whose stated mission is to collect and preserve the works of illustrators and cartoonists from the first half of the 20th century. Previously published titles feature the work of Richard Thompson, Niso Ramponi, Ray Willner, and others.

For a limited time,The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be pre-ordered at a reduced price. Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order.

Future volumes of Kreigh Collins’ comics are planned. Stay tuned for further developments!


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

Turnabout

Unfortunately for Kevin, the Grand Vizier is not only cruel, but also creative. As Kevin faces an excruciating painful death, he still refuses to talk.

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Early-1950s examples of Kevin the Bold episodes from the Chicago Tribune have wonderful color reproduction and especially vivid colors, and make for fantastic-looking comics. However, there seems to be another factor influencing the appearance of these beauties, which is only readily apparent upon seeing the original comic artwork.

The Grand Rapids Public Library has a substantial number of Collins’ original comics illustrations, but there are relatively few examples of Kevin in their collection. They have about 41 of the 99 original Mitzi McCoy comics, at least 73 of 174 Up Anchor! comics, but only about 19 of the approximately 944 Kevin the Bold originals. However, one of the episodes that is there is the July 15, 1951 episode, shown above (and below).

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Looking at the original artwork, notice that some of the lines were drawn in a lighter color—I’d guess Collins watered down his India ink slightly. This causes the illustrations to have a softer appearance, and gives them a quality of atmospheric perspective (most notable in the first panel). The Grand Rapids Public Library’s collection of Kreigh Collins’ works is accessible to the public. If you’re in West Michigan, I strongly recommend a visit to the Library’s Local History Department.

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While things looked especially grim for Kevin, the Grand Vizier made the classic bad guy mistake of planning an overly elaborate and exotic death for his nemesis. As Kevin bolts and leaps to his freedom, the region is freed of a sadistic tyrant.

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As Stub and Patch devise a way to return and save Kevin, the sequence ends with a chance encounter off the coast of Morocco—another beautiful, cinematic episode.


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

Run Sadea! Run!

Kevin seems to have met his match as far as loyalty is concerned, as he and Sadea formulate an escape plan. One can imagine the pangs of jealousy Moya McCoy would feel if she could only see Kevin now.

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My collection of comics grew incrementally, over a period of years. The following comic was an early acquisition; at the time, it was the only one from this sequence that I owned. It was very compelling, yet mysterious. Its tenth panel contained a 1951 NEA copyright, but it lacked an inked-in date anywhere else. This was common for “Kevin the Bold” episodes of the era, but unlike most Chicago Tribune examples, this one wasn’t situated at the top of the comics page. This meant there was no typeset date to prevent any confusion (and there were no clues on the reverse side, either). It wasn’t until years later when I obtained the other comics from the sequence that and I was able to place it in time.

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As the plot twists, and the momentum shifts, Kevin’s prospects fade. Despite the reliable Patch joining forces with Sadea, things look grim.


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