Old Scores, Old Scars

Chicago Tribune episodes are preferable to those found in other newspapers—except in cases where they are damaged. My copy from November 25, 1956 had gotten torn long ago, and the remedy my grandfather used was cellophane tape. 64 years later, it left quite a nasty yellow diagonal scar. I often complain about third-page examples, but in this case one from the Detroit News helped save the day. (The tear ran from Mary Campbell’s “hard scotch skull” in the splash panel all the way to the word “Tribune” in the running head). Now, back to the action.

While Mary immediately regrets their decision, Kevin relishes the opportunity to settle an old score. As the ensuing melee devolves into hand-to-hand combat, even Mary gets in on the action.

Things look especially grim for Kevin as Mary manages to escape.

The sequence ends dramatically—and with a unique layout. Instead of a single, double-decked splash panel, Collins includes two, the second being a silhouette. Having King Henry arrive on the scene of the conflagration at the moment of climax is a bit contrived, but there is no time to be wasted as he introduces Kevin’s next adventure.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Autodefenstration

Much happens in the following three episodes—I’ll let the action speak for itself.

If “autodefenestration” wasn’t a word, it is one now! As is typical of the strip, Harwick’s death comes not as a result of his leap, but due to off-stage misadventure.

Kevin tries to put his foot down, but Mary convinces him otherwise—and who could resist a lass such as shown in the throwaway panel?

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Separations, but not Equal

Little does Kevin know that his unexplained black eye will lead to worse circumstances.

As far as this particular story arc goes, one definite bonus is the fact that I have Chicago Tribune examples of each episode. While the paper was long past its heyday of incredible color separations and reproduction—some “Kevin the Bold” episodes from the early 1950s are simply stunning—the paper still created its own printing plates, which led to higher-quality final results.

Comparing an episode from the Trib with one from the Florida Times-Union could be seen as comparing apples to oranges, with the latter’s output often being rather magenta-saturated, a close comparison between the two shows that the Tribune did indeed use different printing plates than those offered by NEA Services to its regular subscribing newspapers. In some panels it is hard to determine if the difference was simply due to the flood of magenta ink and indifferent press operators, but in the Trib‘s splash panel, the lower portion of Kevin’s cloak clearly shows shades of both orange and red, while in the Times-Union version it’s all reddish orange.

It’s a shame that raven-haired Gertie has gotten mixed up with the Strangler, she’s generally my favorite part of any episode in which she appears!

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

On the Trail of Treason

Happy New Year! January 1 also marks Kreigh Collins’ birthday; he would have been 48 years old when the following story arc appeared. The first two episodes are beautifully illustrated, and show Kevin sailing past the Isle of Sark. As is the case with many of the plot lines in “Kevin,” I was inspired to look up where exactly this little island was located—and I became intrigued by the local talent at the Elephant and Castle.

The previous episode’s splash panel is lovely, but it is no match for the one that followed. The third panel is also masterfully executed—the Strangler is a menacing villain straight from central casting.

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

The Glorious Drama

The Christmas story is indeed filled with glorious drama, so much so that Kreigh Collins was happy to tell it more than once. His artistic rendition received its first major promotional push when it appeared as a story arc in 1949, midway through the run of “Mitzi McCoy,” but this wasn’t the first time his depiction of the Nativity appeared in print.

Prior to joining NEA Service, one of Collins’ steadiest clients was the Methodist Publishing House of Nashville, Tennessee. Among other projects, Kreigh illustrated a weekly, full-page comic in 1945 that appeared in Sunday school bulletins the company produced called “Boys Today,” and “Girls Today.”

The comics appeared in these bulletins during Advent, and a portion of them can be found in this earlier post.

Although it never ran in newspapers as part of the usual NEA fare, the Christmas story was reprised in 1953, in a special offering under the guise of a “Kevin the Bold” narrative. This time, most of the artwork from the “Mitzi McCoy” version was simply picked up and reused, with panels that showed Mitzi‘s characters (Stub Goodman was shown explaining things to his young friend Dick Dixon once or twice in each episode) being replaced by similar ones featuring Kevin and his ward, Brett.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a healthy New Year!

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Treachery’s Reward

Struken’s perfidy comes with a steep price.

Knowing no other attack route, Moab’s men charge at the mountain pass.

Kismet took Struken; it also brought together a pair of old friends.

Pedro’s project, mentioned by Colonel Santiago, leads to Kevin’s very final adventure.

___________________________________________________________________________________

All I Want for Christmas

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. Order today to ensure that the collection arrives in time for the holidays.

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.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

The Traitor

Things take a turn for the worse as Struken is quick to smear Kevin…

…but order is restored. Of course, this does not sit well with Struken!

As Kevin and his remaining men move out, he learns of a new weapon in their arsenal. The beautifully illustrated episode reintroduces Moab, a character Kevin had met previously (episodes from 1952 and 1953 shown below).

Though Kevin and Moab met as adversaries, they became friends and share mutual respect.

Respect is something Struken inspires in no one.

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

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…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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 the knightly 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…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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