Sunday, May 22, 1949

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When I was working on my book, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1, The Complete Mitzi McCoy, a late stumbling block was finding replacement comics for episodes of which I only had third-page examples. Ironically, after searching far and wide for several years, I located them in a comic book shop about a dozen miles from my home. The catch was that I had to purchase them in complete comic sections. I left the shop with five 16-page New York Sunday Mirror Sunday comic sections and while I spent far more than I hoped to, my quest was over. The Mirror carried “Mitzi” for the duration of its run—usually in a half-tabloid format, but occasionally as a full tabloid page. I chose this particular section because its 70th anniversary is imminent.

Flipping through it reveals both big name features and comics now forgotten.

As usual, Ham Fisher’s “Joe Palooka” ran on the front page, followed by Milton Caniff’s “Steve Canyon” and “Mickey Finn” by Lank Leonard. Next up are “Henry” by Carl Anderson, “Kerry Drake,” “Superman” (neither credited, but by Alfred Andriola/Allen Saunders and Stan Kaye/Wayne Boring respectively), “The Flop Family” by Swan, an advertisement for Rinso, and Frank Miller’s “Barney Baxter in the Air.”

What was the main event for me likely falls into the category I mentioned earlier, “comics now forgotten.” This early episode, “Mitzi” ‘s 29th, is at the beginning of the strip’s fourth story arc. Half-tabloids are pretty small, but at least they include the throwaway panel, which full-page tabloid versions do not.

As a young man, Kreigh Collins worked as an illustrator at an ad agency in Chicago. This gig lasted about a year, and the primary reason it ended is that Collins despised having to produce commercial illustrations like the one in the Pepsi ad. At this point in time, I find the the ad’s style quite charming, but maybe I’m just biased because I drank so much Pepsi as a kid. On the facing page, Frank Godwin’s “Rusty Riley” has a style similar to “Mitzi” —leaning more toward illustration than cartooning. In fact, illustrations by Godwin and Collins appeared in Hermann Hagedorn’s The Book of Courage, published by the John C. Winston Company six years earlier.

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Now back to the comics… and advertisements.

Roy Crane’s “Captain Easy,” drawn here by Walt Scott, and V.T. Hamlin’s “Alley Oop” face a couple of nondescript advertisements for Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder and Danderine. Next up are “Bobby Sox” by Marty Links, “Rex Morgan, MD” by Bradley and Edgington, “Boots” by Martin, and Merrill Blossar’s “Freckles and His Friends” (plus the topper “Hector”).

The last full spread in the section features Harry Hanand’s silent comic “Louie,” “Out Our Way featuring the Willets,” by J.R. Williams, “Our Boarding House,” and an ad. The ad might be my favorite part of the entire section. It features the type of male chauvinism so common of the era, but it’s quite hysterical (in my reading, anyway).

Taking its usual spot on the back cover is “Lil’ Abner” by Al Capp.

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Patience Is a Virtue

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According to recent reports, there continues to be occasional delays with order fulfillment, but eventually your book will come, that is, if you order The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. This first-ever collection of Kreigh Collins’ debut NEA Sunday comic strip can be ordered here.


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

NEA Daily and Sunday Comics

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Among my collection of Kreigh Collins’s comics is a sampler of NEA comics from mid-1955. It looks likel the entire NEA comic package for the week of May 23–29, 1955 — but I’m not sure because it’s the only one of its kind I’ve ever seen.

It’s a 32-page, self cover, black and white tabloid, printed on a coated stock. Curiously, it isn’t bound in any way, so the eight individual sheets that it consists of can be pulled apart and put back together with ease. Because of its lack of staples, nice reproduction quality, and decent paper stock, I wonder if it wasn’t intended for newspapers to use for printing their comic sections.

If not, it apparently made for a nice keepsake for the NEA artists whose work was contained inside. As a young boy, I remember stacks of these things piled in Grandpa Collins’ studio. And of course I noticed the comic that appeared inside the front cover!

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Beyond that, I’m not sure how far I read. I might’ve skipped the Sunday and daily Boots and Her Buddies comics (by Edgar Martin), but who could resist V.T. Hamlin’s Alley Oop?

It’s interesting to see which strips had daily versions, and which were Sunday-only. Although the topic of Kevin the Bold becoming a daily came up between Collins and his NEA boss, Ernest Lynn, it never happened.

I’m not too well-acquainted with many of the other comics that follow, but I am familiar with others (mostly due to seeing them on the backs of my Kevins). I recognize the name Walt Scott, since he drew the charming illustration that the NEA staff gave my grandfather on the occasion of his twin sons’ birth (in February, 1951).

Besides Walt Scott (whose The Little People, below, ran on page 7), I’m familiar with Red Braucher (quite a character himself), Herbert W. Walker (Newspaper Enterprise Association president), Dean Miller (he illustrated the Vic Flint Sunday on page 15), and… that’s about it.

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Here’s Walt Scott’s take on Kreigh Collins serenading his newborn baby sons Kevin and Glen (while older sons David and Eric crack wise).

Next up in the NEA tabloid are a Sunday and dailies for Freckles and His Friends (Merrill Blosser), Walt Scott’s The Little People (accompanied by its topper strip, Huckleberry Hollow), and seven days of Captain Easy, by Lesley Turner.

Then, Sundays and dailies for Out Our Way with “The Willets” (J.R. Williams) and Pricilla’s Pop (Al Vermeer).

Continuing to show the variety the NEA package offered, Sundays and dailies for Vic Flint (Dean Miller/Jay Heavilin) and Bugs Bunny (uncredited) follow.

Next up: Chris Welkin Planeteer (Russ Winterbotham), a “fun page” with several small strips including Tom Trick Fun Detective (credited simply to Dale), and seven days of Our Boarding House with Major Hoople (six daily one-panels and a Sunday tabloid).

The single-panel comics Side Glances (by Galbraith), and Carnival (by Dick Turner) follow.

Bringing up the rear are several comics featuring women (Brenda Breeze by Rolfe) or drawn by them (Sweetie Pie by Nadine Seltzer). Continuing in a domestic vein, there is Hershberger’s Funny Business, and apparently to fill extremely tiny spaces, Little Liz, a tiny daily single-panel, that is essentially an illustrated fortune cookie message.

Finally, it’s The Story of Martha Wayne by Wilson Scruggs.

If anyone has further information about any of these comics or the NEA, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section, below.


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