This chapter, from late 1958, starts with an episode in which Kevin himself is absent. Such a setup allows new characters to be introduced as the scene is set. And one new character that surely caught the readers’ eye was Carmine.
Slender, lovely women such as Carmine frequently appeared in Kreigh Collins’ comics, and for me, an especially charming aspect that these ladies’ poses were often modeled by Kreigh’s wife, Therese—Gramma Collins to me.
By the midpoint of KEVIN’s run, Kreigh Collins no longer wrote all of his feature’s stories, but this one has certain hallmarks of his style.
During a trip to Italy this summer, I met with an old friend from Trieste—Fabrizia had been an exchange student that stayed with my family when I was a senior in high school. What made the reunion sweeter was that she gave me a package containing 14 issues of the Italian comics publication Il Nerbiniano. Anotherfriend had generously purchased them for me and mailed them to Fabrizia in order to avoid expensive international shipping. Talk about overstimulation—being in Venice, and having a bella regazza hand over such a wonderful trove of my grandfather’s artwork!
Il Nerbiniano was published for at least ten years; the issues I received came from years IV through VIII (I’ll use Roman numerals per the publication’s style because “when in Rome…”) The number of issues per year varied from four to six. At some point, an Italian translation of KEVIN THE BOLD began running, but without a complete collection, it’s hard to say when—the comic strip’s storylines do not appear in their original sequence. The oldest copy I have seen (Anno III, n. 1) has a sequence from mid-1951, whereas KEVIN’s introductory chapter ran in Il Nerbiniano a few years later (starting in Anno 6, n. 1). This issue was published in the last quarter of 1980.
First up was a profile on Roberto Diso, an artist who illustrated MISTER NO.
This was followed by some material I didn’t have any luck in translating/researching, I’m sorry to say.
For me, things got exciting at the mid-point of the book. The orientation of the artwork on the pages changes, with half of a KEVIN THE BOLD tabloid episode appearing before and after a four-page section geared toward subscriptions. Because the action picks up with the third and fourth tiers of the episode (January 28, 1951), there isn’t a KEVIN logo identifying the strip. Following the four subscription pages, another half-episode appears—the first and second tiers of the February 4, 1951 episode. It’s a shame they are arranged like this, otherwise each spread would feature a single tabloid version. It would have been an impressive layout due to Il Nerbiniano’s ample trim size—these reproductions are larger than the original tabloid versions.
Issues of Il Nerbiniano generally included two to four KEVIN episodes, but on this occasion, it ran the equivalent of eight episodes—meaning KEVIN occupied more than half of the issue’s pages. As the issue’s featured comic strip, it ran in two colors.
The conclusion of the “Sadea” chapter would appear in Il Nerbiniano’s future issues (assuming there were any). As the final issue of 1980, the back cover was dedicated to a New Year’s greeting (“Best wishes to all readers”).
By splitting the tabloid comics in half and running them on two separate pages, they are printed about 12-3/4″ wide, larger than the original Sunday versions. ’ve heard of half-page comics turned into tabloids, but vice-versa? Interesting. By running landscape-oriented versions, they appear twice as large as they would otherwise, but only half as many comics fit in the six pages allotted to Kevin. Either way, there wouldn’t be enough room for the entire sequence, so it’s nice to see them enlarged like this, it must be a sign that Il Nerbiniano’s editors appreciated the quality and detail of Kreigh Collins’ comics. Perhaps this sequence continued in the next issue of Il Nebiniano?
For more information on the career of Kreigh Collins, visit his page on Facebook.
During his run in the funny papers, Kevin has been challenged numerous times and with different weapons, but this is the first time I recall pistols being employed. Is he as proficient with firearms as he is with a lance or rapier?
We will have to wait to find out the answer to that question! While Kevin is out of danger, the same cannot be said for Pierre.
As is his way, Kevin takes this opportunity to save Pierre, and thus reuniting lovely Marie with Pierre.
The story continues, but in a slightly confusing manner.
In Collins’ rendering of the wounded Pierre van Arden, the fallen man bears a strong resemblance to Kevin. Re-reading the previous episode helped me, but in it I noticed that the color of van Arden’s top (I believe this garment is called a “doublet”) changed from blue to purple.
With good reason for his heavy conscience, the treacherous Count Noir nervously awaits his king’s return.
Below is a small image of the August 4, 1957 episode from La Patrie, a Montreal, Quebec tabloid.
Once again, beautiful Marie dominates the July 7 episode, which includes a very charming, barrier-breaking throwaway panel where she addresses the reader directly—visible only in the half-page format such as this. Meanwhile, the final panel introduces a character who has proven to be a scene-stealer in the past.
Where have I seen that snout before? Craigwood Molloc Druich bears a resemblance to a certain pup Collins had featured in MITZI McCOY nearly 20 years earlier—Stub Goodman’s dog, Tiny.
Tiny played a significant part in the metamorphosis of MITZI McCOY into KEVIN THE BOLD—but that’s another story.
“The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” back in stock, features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, MITZI McCOY, and includes Tiny the Irish Wolfhound in one third of its episodes.
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 afterword 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, 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.
This chapter, represented primarily by half-page comics from the Detroit News, features a scheming count and a playful young widow; it ran in Sunday comics sections 65 years ago.
The widow (Marie de Grasse) had made her situation clear in the transitional strip that preceded this one.
By the summer of 1957, the Chicago Tribune generally ran KEVIN in its loathed third-page format, and in the absence of half pages from the News, episodes will get the collage treatment—which is a shame because June 23 is a very nice example.
In stark contrast with Noir’s machinations, lovely Marie has her own methods to get what she wants.