Prince Rupert and the Legend of the Sword of Courage

For a serial adventure like “Kevin the Bold,” NEA believed that the proper number of episodes in a given sequence was about a dozen. Kreigh Collins had shown interest in developing a longer and more complicated story, but for the first several years he produced comic strips for NEA, these stories rarely exceeded 15 episodes.

In late 1952, following the conclusion of his first sequence featuring Leonardo Da Vinci, Collins unveiled an epic adventure. It would run for 33 weeks. This chapter is another classic, with action, heroism, and a grand climax. But first, the scene is set.

KTB 101952 HF 150 QCC.jpg

An enormous illustration of a galley ship is the payoff of the transitional October 19 episode. The one-third page version severely crops the illustrations, and omits a unusual panel showing Brett breaking character—he’s trying to impress a young lady, for once.

KTB 101952 TH 72 qcc

KTB 102652 HF CST 150 qcc.jpg

The conniving Regent (Sire da Maxavelli) is introduced, and in the following comic, so is his henchman, Torre Hemlar.

KTB 110252 HF 150 QCC.jpg

Next week, the action begins in earnest.


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

 

The Four Corners

Kreigh Collins truly had a wanderlust, and his comic strips’ settings reflected this as well. “Mitzi McCoy” was set in Freedom, Michigan, but in its short run, Mitzi traveled to Canada’s North Woods (in her own plane), Miami Beach, New York City, and Chicago; action also took place in ancient Rome and Ancient Israel.

“Kevin the Bold” had an 18-year run, and its protagonist travelled much more extensively—to the four corners of the Earth.

KTB 010652 HF 150 QCC

This dramatic Irish cliff seems at least party inspired by the Cliffs of Moher.

Although Kreigh Collins never visited Ireland, he did travel to Morocco as a young man, and his classic Sadea sequence from 1952 featured the North African country.

KTB 041551 150 qcc

Situated as close to Ireland as it was, much action took place in the Netherlands, as in this episode from 1961. Bruges (Belgium), was also a relatively short trek for Kevin.

KTB 032661 TH 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 100751 HF 150 QCC

Often, action was taking place in several distant lands in a single comic. The March 16, 1952 episode features Switzerland, northern Italy, and Byzantium (aka Constantinople).

ktb-031652-ha-150-cst-qcc

In a sequence that has yet to run on this blog, Kevin travels to Venice and eventually sails to the eastern Mediterranean in pursuit of the pirate Zyclos.

KTB 060852 HA CST 150 qcc

Much of the action from the mid-50s episodes of “Kevin the Bold” took place in London and other locations in England; fictitious German towns were also a frequent setting. In Firenze, Kevin nearly bumped into Leonardo Da VInci.

KTB 082452 HF 150 QCC

On an adventure that was published in the summer of 1953, Kevin traveled as far east as the Caucasus Foothills (Georgia, Asia). By the end of that chapter, he was back in the south of France.

KTB 062153 HF 200 QCC

KTB 070553 HF 200 QCC

The next year, Kevin rode to Muscovy (modern-day Moscow). And of course, Kevin’s travels were generally in the name of fighting injustice. KTB 090554 HA CST 150 qcc

In 1955, Kevin set sail for Suez, Egypt, in order to return a princess to father. For this episode, Collins prepared a customized layout for the Chicago Tribune, featuring fewer panels and the addition of a nicer rendering of Kevin’s storm-tossed ship.

KTB 032055 HF 300 QCC

KTB 032055 HA CST 150 qcc

A later sequence took place in Norway, again featuring one of the artist’s specialties, beautifully-drawn boats.

KTB 052558 HA 150

In early 1962, Kevin’s adventures to him to the New World, the first of several trips he would make across the Atlantic.

KTB 021862 BWT 150 bw

The following year, a storm struck Kevin’s ship and blew him off course—apparently around Cape Horn and into the Pacific, where he eventually beached in Japan. Unfortunately, and not so surprisingly, given the era in which this episode was published, the Japanese are shown with a skin tone beyond caricature. (However, by the time the sequence had wrapped, this travesty was corrected).

KTB 042163 HA 150 qcc.jpg

In the mid-60s Kevin again crossed the Atlantic, reaching the North America mainland. He saw the location of the ill-fated colony of Roanoke, Niagara Falls, and the California coast.

KTB 080165 150 qcc

KTB 041766 HA 150 qcc

KTB 061266 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Near the end of its run, Kevin’s journey takes him furthest from his Irish beginnings, to the other side of the world, the South Sea Isles.

KTB 030368 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Although Kevin’s journey seemingly brought him to the four corners of the world, this blog’s readers hail from an even more diverse list of exotic lands:

Estonia, Slovakia, Bolivia, Bahrain, Vietnam, Iceland, Malta,
the Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Albania, Honduras,
Luxembourg, Greenland, Ecuador, Singapore, Qatar, Tunisia,
American Samoa, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Peru, Romania,
Japan, Guam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia, Macedonia, Puerto Rico,
Latvia, Myanmar, Poland, Greece, Indonesia, Uruguay, Panama,
Pakistan, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Belgium, South Africa,
Nigeria, South Korea, Ukraine, Mexico, Switzerland, Hong Kong,
Ireland, Norway, Turkey, New Zealand, Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Philippians, Finland, Hungary, Chile, Australia, India, Argentina,
Thailand, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Serbia, Denmark,
Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Brazil, Croatia, Portugal, Spain,
Italy, France, and (not as exotic to me), the United States

In commemoration of this blog’s fourth anniversary, I thank its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


The Perfect Anniversary Gift!

Forget those traditional and modern gift lists—click here to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. In addition to the entire run of “Mitzi McCoy,” the book includes the opening sequence of the comic strip “Mitzi” evolved into, “Kevin the Bold.”

The book also features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


 

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

 

Timeless

While “Kevin the Bold” had a long run, it didn’t last forever. Its debut was in October, 1950, with its demise coming 18 years later. One can be forgiven for thinking its life was longer, as the history covered in the strip spanned nearly two centuries.

KTB 090554 150 BWP BW QCC

Published in September, 1954: the sequence with evil Sarov was set in the year 1491.

KTB 012956 HF 150 QCC

16 months later, Kevin was set in the year 1515, along with King Henry VIII.

KTB 102768 Th 100 qcc

The final “Kevin” was implicitly dated as being the year 1668; when the comic morphed into “Up Anchor!,” a contemporary strip set in 1968.

Much of the action was the product of writer Kreigh Collins’ fertile imagination, but peppered through “Kevin” were historical figures and incidents that figured into the comic’s plot lines.

Previously, we’ve met Leonardo da Vinci, and in the following sequence (set in 1588, or 73 years after the episode with King Henry and 80 years before the finale), a couple of English notables are introduced. It picks up where the action in this previous sequence left off, with Maria, Glen, and Inky en route on a trans-Atlantic voyage.

KTB 121364 BWT 150 BW QCC

 

The Alchemist

KTB 081052 Panel

In the ninth sequence of “Kevin the Bold,” some new characters are introduced. Kevin and Brett meet Dr. Claustus, an alchemist, and Lora, his granddaughter. Calib (a thug from the nearby Castle) is the villain, and Leonardo da Vinci has a cameo appearance. Da Vinci will reappear in the following sequence (and again in 1967, near the end of the comic strip’s long run).

When in need, Dr. Claustus is the type of brilliant man people seek out to solve problems. However, he is mistrusted by others. After a couple of scene-setting comics, the characters become entwined, and the drama starts.

KTB 081752 HF 150 QCCKTB 082452 HF 150 QCCKTB 083152 HF 150 QCC

Twice, Kevin makes a fool of Calib and soon enough his new adversary seeks revenge.