Matchmaker

With the Regent dead, Rupert’s obstacle to ascending to Rheinstein’s throne has been removed. However, other events conspire to prevent him from achieving true happiness.

KTB 042653 HF 150 QCC.jpg

Baroness Vichi is a bitch witch, and of course she resents the virtuous Madeline.

KTB 050353 HF 150 QCC.jpg

This current story arc, longer by far than any others in the entire run of the comic strip, was a serious attempt by Kreigh Collins to deepen character development in an attempt to increase its overall impact. Also, a couple of significant characters from two previous sequences have cameo roles in the May 3 episode (above): The Count de Falcon, a knight Kevin bested in an earlier tournament appears near the beginning, and toward the end, Kevin asks a favor of a princess he had rescued. (She is now the Queen of Glaustark).

Meanwhile, the tournament nears, and Kevin’s first opponent will be the ruthless Count de Falcon.

KTB 051053 HF 150 QCC.jpg


The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Describing “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy,” Bruce Canwell, of IDW Publishing’s Library of American Comics, had this to say:

Originally a painter and illustrator, artist Kreigh Collins delighted comics readers for a quarter-century with his rich compositions and distinctive characters. Collins’s series Mitzi McCoy has its roots in the small town of Freedom, echoing It’s a Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls and pre-figuring TV hamlets like Hooterville and Mayberry. Open this collection and delight in Mitzi’s arresting artwork and solid Middle American sensibilities. Highly recommended!

In addition to the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy,” the book contains the first sequence of the comic strip it morphed into, “Kevin the Bold.” There are also never-before published comics and photographs, and the book includes a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young. It is available here.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


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

The Drowned Rat’s Revenge

With the Regent dead of natural causes, a new villain(ess) appears. Baroness Vichi’s scheming causes heartache for poor Madeline. Elsewhere, Kevin deals with his own problems.

KTB 040553 HF 150 QCC.jpg

KTB 041253 HF 150 QCC.jpg

After an overdue reunion with Brett and the recently coronated King Rupert, Kevin makes plans to rectify some things in Rheinstein.

KTB 041953 HF 150 QCC.jpg


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

Tree Tunnel

A recent trip to Ireland brought back a childhood memory of a road trip taken in my parents’ old Ford Fairlane 500, c. 1966. In Ireland, I saw many narrow roads covered by canopies of trees, or what my brother Brett and I excitedly called (and chanted from the back seat), “Tree tunnel, tree tunnel!” Likely on our way from our apartment in Ann Arbor to Ada, off to visit Grandma and Grandpa Collins. Maybe we’d heard the phrase mentioned previously…

me and Brett Sept 66 IMG_5631

Me, Brett, and the Ford Fairlane. And of course, a Sunday comics section.


Despite last week’s flogging, Brett has recovered enough to get back in the game.

KTB 031553 HF 150 QCC.jpg

Rupert might not have caught on to Madeline’s act, but Brett certainly has.

22 weeks into the story arc, the action in the March 15 episode, above, is a bit contrived. While Brett seems nauseated by the turn of events, Madeline’s reaction is perhaps best described by Newton’s third law. Despite this interlude, trouble is imminent—and fortunately, Brett is focused on his plan.

KTB 032253 HF 150 QCC.jpg

KTB 032253 Panel 150 QCC

The old, hollowed out tree provides access to an escape route (Tree tunnel!), but it’s a bit difficult to make out in the comic’s rendering. Nevertheless, it works, and now Rupert has a plan.

When we last saw Kevin (three episodes back) he had been overwhelmed and captured by the Regent’s guards as Prince Rupert escaped. Meanwhile, Rupert heads back to the palace and overhears a startling confession.

KTB 032953 HF 150 QCC.jpg

No longer the weakling he remembered, Rupert literally scares the Regent to death.



The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Describing “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy,” Bruce Canwell, of IDW Publishing’s Library of American Comics, had this to say:

Originally a painter and illustrator, artist Kreigh Collins delighted comics readers for a quarter-century with his rich compositions and distinctive characters. Collins’s series Mitzi McCoy has its roots in the small town of Freedom, echoing It’s a Wonderful Life’s Bedford Falls and pre-figuring TV hamlets like Hooterville and Mayberry. Open this collection and delight in Mitzi’s arresting artwork and solid Middle American sensibilities. Highly recommended!

In addition to the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy,” the book contains the first sequence of the comic strip it morphed into, “Kevin the Bold.” There are also never-before published comics and photographs, and the book includes a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young. It is available here.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


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

A Legedary Sword

Following his near fatal encounter, Kevin makes an astonishing discovery.

KTB 022253 HF 150 QCC.jpg

Foretold in an earlier comic, the sword’s legend has proven to be accurate.

Returning to Rheinstein to rule what is rightfully his, Rupert needs to keep a low profile—he and Kevin find it necessary to travel undercover.

KTB 030153 HF 150 QCC.jpg

After their cover is blown, Kevin holds the guards at bay as Rupert makes his escape. This positive outcome is then offset by news that devastates Kevin.

KTB 030853 HF 150 QCC.jpg

To be continued…


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

Moment of Truth

Fittingly, tragedy has turned comic, and Kevin sets about his defense.

KTB 020153 HF 150 QCC

An expertly-placed tripwire and a faked scream upends two of Torre Hemlar’s men, and in an especially gruesome opening panel, Kevin names his terms. Momentarily, the hunter gets captured by the game.

KTB 020853 HF 150 QCC

The final panel above was used as the basis for the cover of Atlas Publications’ “Kevin the Bold” No. 11 comic book (printed in England, and marketed in Australia). As was the norm, the artwork has been modified: Kevin’s sword is raised while Torre Hemlar has fumbled his.

KTB Comicbook 11 cover

Meanwhile, instead of simply attacking Torre Hemlar, the knightly code of conduct requires that Kevin allow his opponent to defend himself. Kevin soon learns that his ruthless adversary is bound by no such rules.

KTB 021553 HF 150 QCC

In spite of all the fighting and dueling that took place in “Kevin the Bold,” losers were often spared death. In other cases, villains died indirectly, falling to their deaths, or accidentally—by their own hands. The February 15, 1953 episode was an exception, and Rupert shows that he has taken great strides since he first met Kevin.

18 episodes into the sequence, this extended story arc has much more in store.

 


The Complete MITZI McCOY (1948–1950)

There’s no sword fighting, but firearms and bows and arrows make appearances in this collection of Kreigh Colllins’ first NEA comic feature, “Mitzi McCoy.” Featuring never before seen photographs, a previously unpublished comic, and a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy” is available here.

Mitzi cover final



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

Joining the Troupe

Unaware that Torre Hemlar has followed them to England, the mood lightens as Kevin and Rupert become acquainted with their new friends, play actors.

These richly-printed episodes, from the Chicago Tribune, feature wonderful illustrations and great dialog. I especially like Barto’s line from the second panel about mistaking appearance for reality. The throwaway panels add educational diagrams and charming snapshots of the episodes’ ladies.

KTB 011153 HF 150 QCC

A sudden threat interrupts Kevin and Rupert’s afternoon and Kevin quickly takes evasive action; Torre Hemlar thinks he’s set a trap.

KTB 011853 HF 150 QCC

Hidden in plain sight, the ruse worked, and the troupe of actors moves on.

KTB 012553 HF 150 QCC

Believing he owes him his life, Barto bravely steps in front of an arrow meant for Kevin. With what appears to be a mortal wound, the actor utters his final dramatic words. Coldly, Barto prepares to strike again.


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

Acing the Test

After arriving in England, the action slows to allow for a very sweet episode celebrating the Christmas holiday.

KTB 122152 HF 150 qcc.jpg

Kevin was able to graciously accept Jerry the stable boy’s offer and simultaneously repay the the lad for his kindness. And from there, it’s back to the important business at hand, making a man of Prince Rupert. Per Collins’ style, as Rupert learns fighting basics from Kevin, the reader is educated as well.

collins kevin 006

Readers in Argentina learned, too.

KTB 122852 HF 100 QCC

Moments after parting with Kevin, Rupert is faced with a dilemma: fight or flight.

KTB 010453 HF 150 QCC

Kevin’s tutelage has begun to pay off, but as usual, danger looms on the horizon.


Before Kevin, there was Mitzi

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

Set in the quirky small-town world of Freedom, Michigan, “Mitzi McCoy” ran from 1948 to 1950 and appeared in Sunday comics sections across the United States. Its wide variety of storylines included con artists, pin-up girls, counterfeiters and shakedowns.

Scripted by the artist, “Mitzi McCoy” showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator. His landscapes, GGA and thrilling action sequences were filled with detail. The strip was not tied down to one character or setting — each of its main characters was capable of taking the lead at any time.

“The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy” features a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and every episode of Collins’ debut NEA comic strip. It is available here.


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

Facing the Storm

Kevin manages to escape with the drugged prince, but when he comes to, Rupert’s confusion quickly changes to fear.

KTB 113052 HF 150 QCC

The November 30 and December 7 episodes are beautifully-printed examples Chicago Sunday Tribune, but Rupert’s fear is somewhat overstated in the second panel below, with his overly worried expression and his jaundiced complexion—indeed, he is yellow.

KTB 120752 HF 150 qcc

A casual reader might see Kevin or Rupert sailing the longboat into the ferocious storm, but what they were doing was trying to keep the boat’s bow pointed into the wind until the storm blew over. A quick check of the term “broach” yields the rightfully scary-sounding definition “[broaching] can cause the boat to enter a death roll… and if not controlled may lead to a capsize or pitchpole and turning turtle.” Knowing how to utilize a sea anchor is useful information to a sailor, and events in “Kevin the Bold” called for the device every four or five years.

ktb-112457-hf-200-qcc

November 24, 1957

KTB 040961 TH 150 qcc.jpg

April 9, 1961

I’m sure a sea anchor is mentioned once or twice in Collins’ final NEA comic strip, “Up Anchor!” I also remember my father describing them while we sailed together—I guess they were part of regular conversation in the Collins household.

KTB 121452 HF 150 qcc.jpg

Meanwhile, things are grim in Lutenberg, and as Kevin and Rupert approach England, Kevin ponders how to help the young prince overcome his fears.

 


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

Escape Artist

A Prince in name only, Rupert has been made impotent by the scheming Regent who is bent on solidifying his position by eliminating any potential threats to his power.

KTB 110952 HF 150 qcc.jpg

Meanwhile, Madeline has decided that now is the time for action; she boldly makes an entrance. Meanwhile, Kevin is caught with his guard down, but quickly recovers.

KTB 111652 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Somehow, between the last panel of the preceding episode and the first panel of the next, Kevin and Madeline have scrambled up onto the roof.

KTB 112352 HF 150 qcc.jpg

She hastily explains to Kevin what needs to be done, and he quickly agrees. In the final panel, a chillingly-illustrated Regent hears the bad news.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Five years in the making, this book collects the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA comics feature, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy.” It features an introductory essay/biography by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and is available here.

Mitzi cover final


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

Prince Rupert and the Legend of the Sword of Courage

For a serial adventure like “Kevin the Bold,” NEA believed that the proper number of episodes in a given sequence was about a dozen. Kreigh Collins had shown interest in developing a longer and more complicated story, but for the first several years he produced comic strips for NEA, these stories rarely exceeded 15 episodes.

In late 1952, following the conclusion of his first sequence featuring Leonardo Da Vinci, Collins unveiled an epic adventure. It would run for 33 weeks. This chapter is another classic, with action, heroism, and a grand climax. But first, the scene is set.

KTB 101952 HF 150 QCC.jpg

An enormous illustration of a galley ship is the payoff of the transitional October 19 episode. The one-third page version severely crops the illustrations, and omits a unusual panel showing Brett breaking character—he’s trying to impress a young lady, for once.

KTB 101952 TH 72 qcc

KTB 102652 HF CST 150 qcc.jpg

The conniving Regent (Sire da Maxavelli) is introduced, and in the following comic, so is his henchman, Torre Hemlar.

KTB 110252 HF 150 QCC.jpg

Next week, the action begins in earnest.


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