Because the next chapter starts a bit abruptly, let’s back up one week to see what happened as the previous sequence transitioned. These were the first two chapters to follow Jay Heavilin’s credited writing stint, and the following chapter was clearly written by Collins (To me, the acrobatics in the finale are a dead giveaway). Dank u to my friend Arnaud in Rotterdam for the tabloid examples shown here.
Ah yes—Kevin was sailing from France to England with a load of precious cargo when a storm whipped up. And what a storm it was—instead of a relatively straight shot across the English Channel from Balinghem, France to London, the storm has driven the ship far to the north, toward the Scottish Highlands. There, a more genteel scene is set, and a host of new characters are introduced.
Reading between the lines, one can surmise that Blackie has an axe to grind with Sir Duncan McDonald.
With arson on his mind, the storm plaguing Kevin’s ship reaches Blackie and his band of hoodlums.
After bumbling upon the nefarious trio, McDonald and Louise bolt away blindly and tumble off a ledge. In hot pursuit, Blackie and his gang meet the same fate.
As this drama has been set, one notable absence from the past three weeks’ action has been Kevin. As it happens from time to time, others take the lead while the strip’s titular character sits out a few episodes. Sir Duncan and Louise could certainly use his help now!
Allas Veckotidning (“Everyone’s Weekly”) is a Swedish magazine first published in 1931. Though its title proclaims it to be for everyone, it seems more geared toward women. (A huge thank you to my friend Roger for trading me 15 copies of the magazine for a copy of my book “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, The Complete Mitzi McCoy”).
Dating from 1953, Issue No. 15, shown above, had a cover wishing its readers a Happy Easter. Inside, the contents are typical of a weekly: music listings and news, short romantic fiction pieces, movie reviews, crossword puzzles, and more romantic fiction pieces. Plus, it featured several comics interspersed throughout.
All four covers were printed in full color, with interior pages running in either two colors (black plus red), or just black and white. So it figures that only the most prestigious comics would appear on the covers (inside front cover, or occasionally on the back cover).
In the magazine, one consistency in the comics’ style was for the absence of speech balloons, with single captions beneath each panel utilized instead. Comics rotated in and out of the full-color cover positions, with Ricky (“The Friend of the Horses,” unsigned) appearing here. Facing it is Ett Gott Skratt Förlänger Livet (“A good Laugh Prolongs Life”) a typical single-panel gag cartoon that anchored the spot opposite the inside cover. A signed comic is found on page 28, Falcon Stormfägeln, av (“by”) Kreigh Collins.
Kreigh Collins’ comic strip, curiously renamed as the equivalent of “Falcon Storm Birds,” had a slightly modified logo, and reproduced nicely in a two-color scheme. This episode of “Kevin the Bold” (below) originally ran on May 18, 1952, meaning appearances in “Allas Veckotidning” came about 13 months later.
An unusual—and pleasant—aspect of the magazine was the scarcity of ads throughout. A few fractional ads tend to show up toward the back of each issue, where more comics were also found (plus a couple pages of classified ads). Filip & Majken, Ann, (both unsigned) and Fabian (by Emil Brinck) were also part of the magazine’s stable of comics.
I guess the inclusion of my grandfather’s comic is an example of U.S. cultural imperialism, but in my biased opinion it’s more charming than an ad for a “Yankee Junior” boys’ suit.
Issue No. 44 (1955) featured more of the same type of material, but had a more typical celebrity-based cover—say hello to Mr. Fred Astaire.
As a non-Swedish speaker, it’s fun to guess what articles are titled—sometimes it’s not so hard, but watch out for the false cognates! The article below translates to “A Man’s Way.’
Måns (“Moon” possibly signed by Skat Holman) ) and Var Finns Kitty? (“Where is Kitty?” unsigned but subtitled “Our brilliant young girl’s series”) appear in some, but not all issues of Allas Veckotidning. Below is an episode of Falcon Stormfägeln from the chapter “The Mountebank’s Lions” (December 5, 1954), not yet featured on this blog.
With an appreciation for the time period these magazines were published, paging through them is fun, even without understanding the editorial content.
From 1958, we have cover girl Debbie Reynolds and some examples from inside.
A new feature of the magazine is basically a photo-based soap opera comic strip; it ran on two spreads.
Another development in the layout of Allas Veckotidning was the grouping together of comics on some spreads (including what was the March 10, 1957 episode of “Kevin the Bold”).
Often ads are a nuisance, but I can’t resist this one. There’s catchy ad copy (“Read Here How to Play Guitar Next Week”) and great photography. If only speech balloons weren’t banned, that lead photo would show the guy thinking, “Guitars! That’s how I’ll get girls!” This was early 1958—just wait until Beatlemania!
At this point, any reader of “Kevin the Bold” knows Spider is going to get his—but how? Spider himself seems to know the end is near.
Kevin’s keening war cry, busted out only on rare occasions (such as on Sunday, October 24, 1954), startles Spider. Encumbered by gold, he sinks like a stone, much like Sir Guy Thornberry (in an episode from 1956).
While earlier action was reminiscent of action heroes like Indiana Jones, the chapter wraps up with more of a Tom and Jerry/Itchy and Scratchy feel.
Oddly, the chapter ends with Lord Dismore showing a complete lack of gratitude. As the action transitions, King Henry shows off his new armor, with a shout-out to Conrad Seusenhofer, and a factoid that would be repeated several years later.
As for Lord Dismore, perhaps he should become acquainted with Itchy.
At the tail end of 1957, the 37th chapter in the “Kevin the Bold” saga begins with the introduction of a couple of unsavory characters and a sad, naive young lady. Kevin pops up near the end of the episode and story’s framework begins to take shape.
Kevin suspects trouble is in the offing but as usual, doesn’t seem concerned.
Spider describes his poisonous plan and the game is on.
“Kevin le Hardi” was included as part of five French “Big Horn” comic books, which were published beginning in October, 1957. The comic books, though small in trim size (about 5-3/8″ x 7-1/8″), were quite lengthy, 128 black and white pages plus color covers. On the cover, Kevin received third billing, and Kreigh Collins’ creation ran on the 31 pages at the back of the book.
Warren Tufts’ title comic occupied the first 32 pages, and it was followed by “Kid Colorado,” by John Wheeler. Each of the comics have nice, custom introductory pages (three pages for “Big Horn.”)
At the conclusion of the “Big Horn” adventure is an ad for “Fantasia.” Next up is a sizable chunk of “Kid Colorado.” I wasn’t able to find out much about it, other than it was the work of a British artist, John Wheeler. Here, it runs for nearly 60 pages—about half the comic book’s pages—and is followed by an ad for “Rancho.”
Now, allow me a “Wizard of Oz”-like transition (RGB files for the good stuff!). Here’s the star of our show, Kevin le Hardi. I know just enough French to make some foolish assumptions about what I’m reading, so it looks like the charming introductory page presents Kevin, his enemy Von Blunt (en français, Von Blut), and his loyal, um, squire (I had to look that one up), MacGrégor (Stub).
“Big Horn No. 1″ features the fourth chapter in the “Kevin the Bold” saga, “The Witch Hunt.” The action picks up with the episode that ran in Sunday comic sections on August 5, 1951.
Ici, a single Sunday episode typically runs three and a half pages (sans throwaway panels).
Au dessous, the September 2, 1951 episode starts at the end of the left-hand spread, and in the center spread, a couple of panels are reversed in order. Otherwise, the panels follow unimpeded for the remainder of the chapter.
Près de the very end of “Big Horn No. 1″ (page 124), the fifth “Kevin the Bold” chapter begins. It features the foe shown on Kevin’s introductory page, Von Blut. The second-to-last page has another example of panel re-sequencing—Von Blut’s mug originally ran on September 23 but it is plopped right in the middle of the September 30, 1951 episode. It works just fine.
Sous the final panel, it curiously states “end of the first episode,” but it’s not even the end of the September 30, 1951 episode! Not to worry, the action continues in “Big Horn No. 2.”
Malheureusement, the back cover highlights everyone but Kevin le Hardi.
The most recent addition to my comics compilation library is the massive, second volume of “Kevin den Tapre,” from publisher Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen and his company, Forlaget desAHJn. Like its companion volume, the comics were sourced from the Danish weekly magazine Hjemmet. From 1955-1960, Hjemmet ran the episodes in an interesting three-color scheme; the collection is available here.
The book has an impressive front matter section highlighting various aspects of Kreigh Collins’ heroic protagonist.
In many instances, the original, full-color episodes precede their corresponding three-color Danish versions for easy comparison. When King Henry VIII enters Kevin’s world, a full-page sidebar offers some background of the English monarch. Considering the book’s 218 Danish episodes, plus all the extras, it results in a rather hefty volume—364 pages in all.
The spread on pages 156-157 shows a prime example of one of the lovely ladies my grandfather featured—Gertie reproduces nicely in any number of colors! And speaking of lovely ladies, if your preference runs toward more wholesome lasses, pages 300-301 and beyond feature Becky Makepeace, whose story just ran on this blog. (Speaking of which, this is post No. 300! Woo-hoo!).
Following the complete run of three-color Hjemmet episodes, there is a lengthy section of back matter. It touches on some of Kevin’s later adventures, including the transition to “Up Anchor!” and how “Kevin” was repackaged into comic books for numerous foreign markets.
Further spreads highlight Collins’ pre-comics work as an illustrator, the start of his NEA comics career, and the Bible Stories Pictures he created in the mid-1940s for the Methodist Publishing House (among other subjects). The book is very thorough.
While reviewing the book gave my translation app quite a workout, certain words required no explanation, such as “Research,” a bibliography. I will vouch for the source material!
While researching Kevin’s Danish incarnation, I came across an auction site with 30+ episodes of “Kevin den Tapre” listed, check it out! (Though I’m not sure if they do international shipping). These are the same episodes appearing in the Danish collections. All but one of the listings are for the full-color examples that appeared in Volume 1.
“The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” is available for immediate delivery at a reduced price; it features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature.
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 $30ONLY $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.
The first and last episodes shown here are third pages combined with BW versions found online from the Allentown (Pa.) Call-Chronicle. While assembling the images, I noticed that the one appearing in newspaper was vertically scrunched, slightly, a few percentage points. I don’t know if that paper purposefully ran scaled-down versions so that they took up less space or if the distortion was just a result of the images being scanned. At any rate, the combined comic shows how the original was cropped to yield the third-page, and what was deemed unnecessary (hint: don’t crop out the ladies!)
Kevin does the honorable thing by dispatching Tom, and is rewarded with an unexpected display from Don Diego, who also acts virtuously (despite his previous handsiness with Inez).
With the cards in your favor, playing by the rules, sometimes you lose.
Holding tight to his principles, the fate of Don Diego (and Kevin) now lies with the flip of a coin.
An interesting question indeed from Dolores—and the men are saved by the wily Inez.
I’d think that there’d be easier ways for these two beauties to catch men, but Ill go along with it. Will Kevin?
Wise old Pepe stalls for time, but Dolores is quick to act. She opts to liberate the foreigner, and with a glance at the throwaway panel, it’s easy to see why Kevin went along with her plan—for one night, anyway.
Kevin leaves, and gets lucky (again?), by bumping into Tom.
In a scene from the comics that would be shocking today, Diego awakens, and sexually harasses his caretaker. It’s kind of a textbook case of an interaction between a powerful man and a powerless female underling. It seems Inez has seen this sort of stuff before and deftly bats away Diego’s advances. Elsewhere, Kevin bravely stands sentinel.
The first eight episodes of this sequence made a compelling first act, and a wonderful second act is made from the next four episodes. The action involves plotting for revenge, building a secret armada, a catfight with flying fish (?!), gorgeous sailing scenes… and is essentially what convinced me rerun this sequence.
Kevin unseals the King’s orders, and a couple of likable “enemies” are introduced.
Also referenced is Catherine of Aragon, yet another historical figure I was inspired to look up thanks to my grandfather’s comic strip. Ah yes, King Henry’s first wife, the spurned Spanish princess who died young, tragically. Yes, I understand Diego’s beef with England.
Moving on, we are introduced to Inez and Dolores, AKA Sheepface. Me-oww! The claws are out!
Yes, the fish are flying! And some beautifully-rendered panels follow, featuring longboats and more of my favorite fishing girls.
The July 26 episode (below) is evidence of Kreigh Collins’ personal experience with and love of sailing. The perspectives shown accurately reflect the imminent collision at sea. At this point Collins mostly sailed aboard a 45-foot schooner, but he still owned a 19-foot Lightning, whose hull pretty closely resembles the boat Kevin is shown sailing. Sailing downwind, the square-rigged boat has less maneuverability than Diego’s lateen-rigged double ender. But pointing into the wind, the Spaniard has no intention of passing port to port, as would be the custom.
That’s right—even sailing solo, acting as a spy in foreign waters, and rammed by an unnamed boat, Kevin is duty-bound to try to rescue his antagonist at sea.