Starting in 1936, Kreigh Collins’ syndicate, NEA, produced special Christmas strips. A complete list of the titles and artists can be found here. In 1965, Collins’ creation “Legends of Christmas” was featured.
The first two episodes were stand-alones; they were followed by the two stories mentioned in the blurb above.
Running in various small-market papers that were typical for NEA clients, the “Legends of Christmas” comics are rather curious, and despite their yuletide theme, there was room to squeeze in a little anti-Soviet Cold War-era commentary (December 8). Take that, Brezhnev!
The final story of Collins’ “Legends of Christmas” featured an easier-to-follow legend. It starred Peter, a young boy trying to care for his ailing mother while his father was away.
My guess is that the tales featured in the three-week “Legends of Christmas” comic strip were stories Kreigh Collins had come across during his extensive historical research. The first week’s comic were unusual, and did not really hang together, but they certainly presented a view of Christmas that is completely absent today.
The longer story of Peter that ran over the strip’s final two weeks has better continuity, but is still quite unusual. While it may be a story Collins came across in his research, I wonder how much of it was his own. Like Peter, Kreigh was an only child; both were extremely devoted to their mother. Kreigh’s father worked as a construction engineer, and while he often moved his family with him as his work took to various parts of the United States, at other times he was away from home an extended period (like Peter’s father).
I have never seen printed examples of this comic. While the quality of these comics is not so great, at least they all have been preserved digitally. Season’s greetings — only 113 shopping days ’til Christmas!
Kreigh Collins’ comics were familiar to readers of Sunday funnies, and periodically there were discussions with his bosses at the Newspaper Enterprise Association about changing “Mitzi McCoy” or “Kevin the Bold” into a daily. Although these plans never came to fruition, in 1965 Collins illustrated a short-lived seasonal daily for the NEA called “Legends of Christmas.”
Running in various small-market papers that were typical for the NEA, the “Legends of Christmas” comics are rather curious, and despite their yuletide theme, there was room to squeeze in a little anti-Soviet Cold War-era commentary (December 8). Take that, Brezhnev!
A tip of the cap to Alec Stevens of Calvary Comics for sending these comics my way!