At this blog’s onset, I didn’t have a clear plan, other than the general idea of trying to raise my grandfather’s profile. The firstseveralposts introduced Kreigh Collins’ three NEA Service features, and the nextfewentries covered some generalities. I was fortunate to stumble upon the (rather obvious) idea of posting on Sundays, and I soon learned that one weekly post would be plenty. Eventually it dawned on me to post complete story arcs over the span of several weeks. With an ample inventory from which to pick, I decided on a lengthy chapter near the midpoint of Kevin the Bold‘s run.
At the time, the only examples I had of this particular chapter were one-third page versions, but I proceeded anyway—it seemed like a solid example of one of Kevin’s adventures. Five-plus years later, I’ve run about half the episodes my grandfather created, and there’s still plenty to choose from. Nonetheless, I thought revisiting this particular sequence might be a good idea, since I recently acquired half page examples of 16 of the 19 episodes.
As the prior episode transitions to a new story, two new characters are introduced—wealthy shipbuilder Thatcher Makepeace and his Becky, his lovely daughter.
The chapter shows hallmarks of not being written by Collins, but there is plenty of fantastic artwork to come.
Alas, Mr. Makepeace doesn’t realize the spunkiness of his gently-raised little girl. They grow up so fast!
Both Kevin and Pedro appear doomed in their rescue effort, as Kevin is attacked and Pedro nearly crushed. While supporting the crumbling pier, somehow Pedro is able to cut Glenn loose, allowing him to crawl away.
In his attempt to avoid Kevin, Captain Steele’s carelessness brings the whole wharf down, entombing him. It’s a familiarway for Kevin’s enemies to go, victims of their own demise.
The story ends abruptly, without showing a mother-child reunion, and quickly transitions to the next chapter.
While Glenn is still held captive, his worried mother calls on Kevin to help find him.
I don’t have a color half-page example of the October 26, 1958 episode, but the reverse side of this black and white proof has an interesting detail. Normally, pencilled on the back of these prooofs were instructions from NEA boss Ernest Lynn for his secretary (e.g., “Kreigh Collins Airmail”), but this one reads “Kreigh Collins Airmail – Macatawa,” indicating that Collins and his family were spending the summer sailing in northern Michigan—Lake Macatawa was a favorite spot, and Collins used local Post Offices for general delivery during summers spent aboard his boat, as he continued his work assignments. With episodes readied about three months before publication, that meant that delivery of this proof took place in late July, 1958, the third summer Collins and his family sailed aboard their schooner Heather.
Poor, frightened Glenn cries out again, but this time Kevin and Pedro are within earshot.
As a mid-1958 storyline transitions to a new chapter, a new, recurring character is introduced.
A mountain of a man, Pedro would continue to play a large roll in Kevin’s adventures over the final decade of the comic strip’s run. Pedro even made the jump when “Kevin” morphed into “Up Anchor!,” continuing his supporting roll during the 3.5-year run of Collins’ final NEA feature. Friends like that are hard to find, and I would like to thank my friend Arnaud for providing most of these scans from Pedro’s introductory sequence.
As the story unfolds, some new characters are introduced—the first is swordsman/card cheat Captain Steele—I’m thinking he’s going to be the villain…
…Call me Kreskin! Another new face is that of little Glenn. In real life, Glen is one of Kreigh Collins’ four sons, the oldest of twins born when Kreigh and wife Theresa were in their mid-40s. (Glen’s twin is named Kevin). Glenn is a handsome little fella, as is his namesake—though Uncle Glen now more closely resembles Pedro in size. Here Glenn and Kevin meet cute as Captain Steele flees the scene of a crime.
Although this is Pedro’s first appearance in the comic strip, he and Kevin are well acquainted previously, and their story continues next week…
Sally’s plan is foiled and Kevin and Andrew are outnumbered.
Kevin has been snared in a noose, yet it’s Sally who sets a trap for her father. Kevin quickly follows her lead.
Andrew is the last one to realize what has played out, but they’re not out of the woods yet. (Literally! Recall they are trapped in a small thicket).
After a dramatic pause, Sir Bernard (Sally’s father) caves in to his daughter, giving the lovebirds permission to marry, and the strip transitions to the next storyline. One minor note is the use of photostats to illustrate Kevin’s rapier in the fourth panel of the December 30, 1962 episode, and in the fifth panel of January 13, 1963. This time-saver became a somewhat frequent tool for Collins in episodes after the comic strip’s logo was updated on April 30, 1961. (The photostats are the same size as the logo’s rapier).
Dressed in the clothes of the henchmen hired by Sally’s father, Kevin goes about his plan.
The plan goes off, but with a hitch—Sally has been identified. Plus, they have bigger a problem.
Not only has Sally packed a beautiful wedding gown, but plenty of confidence as well. It will be needed, in the face of this adversity! Here are black-and-white versions of the original half-page episodes.
Today marks the start of a sequence from late 1962. It features some beautiful illustrations, and its theme of young love seems appropriate as Valentine’s Day nears. The November 25 episode is the transition from yet another chapter with a lovely young lady bidding Kevin a tearful farewell.
When I started collecting my grandfather’s Sunday comics, I had no idea they had been repackaged as comic books. I soon learned differently, seeing occasional listings of “Australian edition” comics on eBay, usually featuring KEVIN THE BOLD. Atlas Publications seemed to have the longest run, and other titles were published by both Tip-Top Comics and Thriller Comics.
Because I was working on my Mitzi McCoy collection, the comic book that really caught my eye was Tip-Top’s “Special No. 3,” published by Southdown Press of Melbourne, Australia. Until recently, I never saw it listed for sale, only in google image search results.
The copy I snagged isn’t in very good condition, but I couldn’t resist. I wonder what these comics looked like when they were new, because after laying around for 70 years or so, the ones I have managed to collect are a bit beat up. My copy of “Special No. 3” has some other minor problems—the cover has a crease running horizontally near the bottom, and the pages are torn slightly where they were stapled—but otherwise, it’s intact. It runs 24 pages plus cover, and seems to be printed on both pink and white paper stock (the middle eight pages being white).
Inside, it features three of MITZI’s 12 story arcs; they come near the end of the strip’s run, and include a couple of my favorites. They inside front cover has a brief description of Kreigh Collins’ creation; it includes an error which I find amusing. Introducing the comic strip’s characters, it mentions that the dog is “part wolf.” Tiny is, in fact, an Irish wolfhound—a breed specializing in protection against and for the hunting of wolves. “Special No. 3” kicks off with a story where Tiny, a readers’ favorite, plays a major part. It starts with the sequence’s third episode, and while some of the preamble is lost, the story is still coherent. It begins with the episode that originally appeared on January 15, 1950. (This sequence was also featured in the French comic book P’tit Gars No. 1).
Next up is “Living Pinups,” packed with action. Interestingly, one of the original episodes is omitted (for those keeping score at home, its date is March 19, 1950), and another episode appears minus an entire page-wide panel—most unfortunately. In place of this wonderful example of good girl art is a small fractional ad for RED RYDER (another Tip-Top title). To see both the missing episode and the excised panel, please consider purchasing a copy of my book “The Complete Mitzi McCoy,” details at bottom.
The third and final story arc appearing in “Special No. 3” is “The Counterfeiters,” another great sequence that has more of a noir-ish feel to it than any other found in MITZI McCOY. The comic book’s cover art features redrawn art from the story’s penultimate episode (and the final episode contains the panel I used for the cover of my MITZI book). On the inside back cover are four dailies of a comic called VIRGIL, by Len Kleis.
Strangely, the first episode runs without several panels (and crops and scrunches those that remain) in order to squeeze in the same RED RYDER that appeared a few pages back.
The back cover has an ad for three of the titles on Tip-Top’s roster, RED RYDER, BUCK ROGERS, and HURRICANE HAWK. It makes me wonder if MITZI was a part of the gang on the ads that ran on those comic’s back covers—I can dream!
“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 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 $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.
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.