The Horsethief

As Kevin and Giza chat, Struken becomes enraged.

Missing from the one-third page version is a strong element of menace toward poor Giza. Meanwhile, Kevin finds himself in a more comfortable situation.

Kevin’s act of kindness toward Eugene has landed him in hot water. Traditionally, punishment for horse theft was severe, even if the animal didn’t have a royal pedigree.

To be continued…

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Extra! Extra!

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, and is available for immediate delivery.

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 Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, 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introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos.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. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, add $25 for first class shipping. To place an order, email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

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

New Friends and Foes

Eugene has alerted Kevin to danger.

The May 26, 1968 episode is particularly dramatic—even cobbled together from two sources, Kreigh Collins’ artwork and storytelling shine.

With Pigface and Kurt hurriedly having abandoned Eugene, Kevin takes charge of the woebegone animal.

A new cast of characters is introduced, and Kevin and “Mac” arrive, looking for sustenance.

Kevin quickly becomes acquainted with the loveliest girl in town, though he is not the first to have noticed pretty Giza.

To be continued…

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

The Poor Beastie, Eugene

At this late stage of creating comics for his syndicate, the layout of Collins’ artwork reflected the way he took to dealing with the multiple-format situation NEA artists faced—how to create an episode that worked as a half-page, tabloid, third-page, and half-tabloid. The layouts tended to have a rather stark third tier, as these bottom panels would be jettisoned in order to make a third-page version of the strip. For tabloids, as the panels were shuffled, only the smaller of the two on the bottom tier was thrown away; half-tabloids included the entire piece of artwork—same as the half-page—just at a smaller scale.

I thought Eugene was an unusual name for a horse, but in this case, it’s appropriate—Eugene means “well-born, noble.” Here, poor Eugene is in a bad place, and unfortunately, things get worse.

Kevin should have theme music when he appears—Eugene seems to hear it!

Kevin lives by a code of conduct where it is his duty to protect women, children, and the oppressed; he feels equally protective toward horses (as the Count De Falcon learned in the second-ever chapter of Kevin’s saga).

To be continued…

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

The Lipizzaners

The following story arc ran in mid-1968 and was “Kevin the Bold” ’s penultimate sequence, appearing just before the strip morphed into “Up Anchor!” It ran over the course of 18 weeks and seems to have been deliberately included as sort of a grand finale—its subject matter was something very close to Collins’ heart. I don’t have original examples of five of the episodes, including the first four, but I do have color half pages of most of them, so stick around.

This is the story of the breed of horses known as Lipizzaners.

Being a student of history, Kreigh Collins may have previously heard of Lipizzaners, but his familiarity with the breed grew in the late 1950s. Kreigh’s wife was Theresa (Teddy), and her sister Esther had married a man named Tempel Smith. My great uncle Temp started a steel company in 1945 that prospered mightily in the post-war era, such that after witnessing a performance of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, he and his wife purchased and imported 20 Lipizzan horses, and started a riding school on their property in northern Illinois. Given their royal heritage and striking appearance, Collins knew Lipizzaners would be a perfect feature for “Kevin the Bold.”

Tempel Smith’s daughter, Martha Smith Simpson (RIP) at the 1958 Arrival of Lipizzans to the United States, the start of the Tempel Lipizzans.

In Kevin’s adventures, coincidences abound, and in a stroke of kismet, I found myself in Lipica, Yugolslavia, in the summer of 1988. Now part of Slovenia, it is home to the Lipica Stud Farm, the origin of the Lipizzan horse. I was visiting with my mother and step-father, and taken there by some Italian friends who were acting as guides, so the fact that I had a sort of family connection to the place was indeed a coincidence. Of course, our tour guide at the stud farm knew all about Tempel Smith. (In another bit of serendipity, last night I was going through some of my mother’s old photo albums, and came across these pictures and souvenirs, just in time to include here).

My friend Fabrizia and I making acquaintance with one of the horses.

Kevin has set about a very long journey on foot—he’d likely offer his kingdom for a horse, but alas, he doesn’t even own any land. (Long ago, he set off from Moya McCoy in search of wealth in order that he might return to Ireland and marry her—but those plans seem long dashed).

Because the Austrians have fallen under attack from the Turks, horses are being conscripted into military service. Fritz, the top trainer at the Lipizzaners’ training facility, has decided he can’t bear to send his prized stallion to war unaccompanied.

To be continued…

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Before Kevin, there was Mitzi

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” now available directly from its editor (moi!), 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 Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, 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’s price is $30. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, first class shipping costs $25. (A recent order sent from New Jersey to France took 10 calendar days to be delivered). To place an order, 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.

Ippon!

When I was a lad, I joined a judo team and took lessons for several years. We learned a bit about Japanese culture and a little bit of the language (I still remember how to count to 99). I got a start at a young age, and did pretty well. I loved it.

To win a match, as I recall, you basically needed to score one point. A nice throw might earn a half point (wasa-ari), and if you achieved two nice throws, it was enough to win. A quicker path to winning was to flip your opponent with a more or less perfect throw, and the referee would call “Ippon!“—meaning one point (and game over). I did this once, I can still remember my opponent coming at me, forcing me to retreat, until I spun and unleashed my bread-and-butter throw, the seoi nage.

I only mention this because I thought there were three more episodes in this story arc, when there is in fact only one. And while the blow Toshi delivers is nothing like anything found in Judo (outside of an Austin Powers movie, maybe), it causes a sudden, decisive ending to the fight.

Definitely ippon.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t have an actual copy of this concluding episode, and it looks like it may contain a pice of clip art—a photostat of Kevin’s sword, appearing in the panel after the throwaway. This time-saving device was used by Collins somewhat frequently during this period.

In this piece of original art from my collection (June 17, 1962), Brett is holding onto a photostat of Kevin’s sword (bottom left panel).

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It’s 5:00 Somewhere

Since this was such a short post, let me fill some space with a recent photo of a special beer tasting.

I wrote about these beers last November. I provided customized label artwork for a brewery in my grandfather’s old hometown—Ada, Michigan’s Gravel Bottom Brewery—and the brewery produced three varieties as their first bottle releases. I had previously tasted the base version (Kevin the Bold Russian Imperial Stout), and it was quite nice, but I think I preferred a version that I’d cellared for the last year, “Kevin Goes to the Beach,” with its subtle coffee, coconut, and vanilla flavorings. Aging it really helped. Later in the winter, I’ll surely be cracking open the last one, “Kevin Goes Camping.”

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

One Sep Forward, Two Steps Back

Kevin and Will are jailed, awating their trial.

An escape improves their situation, but for how long?

Kevin quickly wins the fight, but it’s not over yet…

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

Kevin the Bandit?

Lady Yuri is determined to either escape or thwart Lord Kira’s plans…

…while Kevin and Will try a more direct approach.

Things look dark. Kevin and Will face their imminent trial, and Lady Yuri is about to be dragged away by Kira.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.