Tit-Bits No. 2232

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Tit-Bits was a British weekly with origins in the late 19th century. An Argentinian version was created in 1909, and among its pages, Spanish translations of American comics were featured.

Measuring 10.5″ x 13.5″, the 24-page, tabloid-sized magazine had full-color covers, and the interior was a mixture of black and white and color pages.

“Kevin the Bold” made its Tit-Bits debut in issue No. 2232, published on April 1, 1952. Retitled Kevin el Denodado, its adventure theme fit in nicely with the other comics the magazine featured. In addition to appearing on the cover, “Kevin” also ran on the inside spread. The other comics in this issue were Spanish versions of “Big Ben Bolt,” by John Cullen Murphy (Ben Bolt Campeón), “Rusty Riley” by Frank Godwin (Rusty Riley, Aprendiz de Jockey), “Terry and the Pirates” by Milt Caniff (Terry, el Piloto), and Dr. Nicholas P. Dallis’ “Rex Morgan, MD” (Rex Morgan, Médico). Sometimes the comics ran on full pages, and in other cases there was editorial content wrapping around them.

In all the copies I have seen of Tit-Bits, comics were featured on both the second page and facing the table of contents (page 3). The other comics appeared at random intervals throughout and generally ran in black and white.

On the other hand, the new comic found on the magazine’s center spread ran in color. Not only that, but this massive 21″ x 13.5″ image was made by combining three separate episodes into one.

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It actually begins with the final episode of “Mitzi McCoy,” and continues with the first two episodes of “Kevin the Bold.” This composite comic was constructed from tabloid versions of the original—each of the three throwaway panels are missing—and the visuals of the third and fourth panels are reversed, with the dialog remaining in its original position (I guess the NEA’s Ernest “East” Lynn wasn’t the only fussy comics editor in the western hemisphere!)

As a comparison, here are the original versions of the spread’s three comics (September 24, October 1, and October 8, 1950).

Tit-Bits continued running episodes of Kevin el Denodado for at least three years. A single episode ran in each of the five issues following No. 2232, and then another three-comic combination graced the center spread of issue No. 2238, dated May 13, 1952. As was the case with the Menomonee Falls Gazette, the Tit-Bits cover images rotated based on the comics featured inside. From what I can tell from my small collection, Tit-Bits kept publishing “Kevin” episodes sequentially, possibly skipping a story arc, or occasionally running them in a different order.

“Mitzi McCoy” does not seem to have been featured in Tit-Bits, and the only case I have seen of that comic strip having been translated into Spanish appeared in Havana, Cuba’s “El Mundo” Sunday edition.

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“El Mundo de Mitzi McCoy,” May 21, 1950.


Lost in Translation

The action featured in the epic “Kevin the Bold” comic above appears near the tail end of my book, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy.” The book features all 99 episodes of “Mitzi McCoy” as well as the ensuing 12 “Kevin the Bold” adventures that following the “Mitzi”‘s transition to “Kevin”. While there are no immediate plans to translate the book into Spanish, it’s pretty awesome in its original English, if I do say so myself.

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“The Complete Mitzi McCoy” can be ordered here.


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

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.

Help!

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Once I started collecting my grandfather’s comics, I came up with two goals: publish a book and collect them all. 

Kreighs’ comics appeared in newspapers every Sunday from November 7, 1948 until February 27, 1972, about three and a half decades. Adding it all up—the 23 complete years, the two partial years, and the four times leap years resulted in a year having 53 Sundays (1950, 1956, 1961, 1967)—amounts to 1,217 individual episodes. (Or is it 1,218? Can someone check my math?) However many there are, it’s easy to see why I chose to publish a book first.

Admittedly, I had a great head start with so many of the episodes having been given to me by my uncle. But while my grandfather saved a lot of stuff, I do not have examples of all of his individual comic strips. Since I have all 99 “Mitzi McCoy” episodes and less than half of the “Up Anchor!” comics, what I’m focusing on primarily are the missing “Kevin the Bold” episodes.

Of the 945 or so examples of “Kevin,” there are 45 which I’ve never seen in any form. The first hole in my collection appears about a decade into its run: April 24, 1960

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What happens next? I’d love to know!

A few months later, the October 2, 1960 episode draws a blank. It follows the one shown below, in a tale of two sons—one good and the other bad. Through 1958, I have full-sized (half-page or tabloid) versions of just about every comic, but by 1960, many of my comics are one-third page versions (sigh). But at least these allow the narrative to continue.

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Oh no, Kevin appears mortally wounded! Will he survive?

The next gap in the chronology is found in the first Jay Heavilin-penned sequence (June 25, 1961).

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Lady Goodly? Lady Godiva could be featured on June 25 for all I know.

You know what’s worse than a missing episode? Two consecutive missing episodes! (September 10 and 17, 1961).

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At least the September 3 episode introduced me to the word, “Taradiddle.” I can only imagine the vocabulary featured over the next two weeks.

 Perhaps even more interesting to me are a couple elusive mid-1963 episodes—June 23, 1963 and July 7, 1963. Kevin has made it all the way to Japan. I wish I had the entire sequence of comics to share that adventure with you. Here is part of it—the two comics that precede the two missing ones.

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I’m going to see if I can verify that translation in the throwaway panel.

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Here are the dates of the comics  listed above: 
April 24, 1960
October 2, 1960
June 25, 1961
September 10, 1951
September 17, 1961
June 23, 1963
July 7, 1963

For the last three years of “Kevin the Bold,” I need quite a few: 
January 2 & 16, 1966
May 29, 1966
June 26, 1966
July 10, 17 & 24, 1966
August 21 & 28, 1966
September 4 & 11, 1966
October 2 & 9, 1966
December 25, 1966

January 29, 1967
February 5, 12 & 19, 1967
March 5, 12, 19 & 26, 1967
April 9, 23 & 30, 1967
May 21 & 28, 2967
June 11, 1967
August 27, 2967
October 22, 1967
November 12 & 19, 1967

April 7, 14, 21 & 18, 1968
May 5, 1968
September 15, 1968

Do you have any of these in your collection? I’m more than willing to trade scans. Please leave a message on my blog or contact me directly at brianedwardcollins1(at)gmail.com

Thank you very much.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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To read the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy” comics, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found here; it’s still available at its pre-order price of $24.95.  


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

Stand Alones

The last two comics of this sequence are humorous affairs that, unlike the majority of “Mitzi McCoy” episodes, can stand alone. Grouped with the previous five, they help better describe the goings on in the little town of Freedom and flesh out the characters that live there.

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The June 19 comic reveals a bunch of sailing terminology, most of which I was familiar with, having grown up on boats. One term was new to me, yet sounded familiar. What are “the Henty Books?” A quick google search revealed the answer, as well as a short nsfw distraction when I misspelled the term. You have to be careful with those google searches!

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The June 26, 1949 episode, above, is one of a handful of “Mitzis” for which I don’t have a half-page or tabloid version. Luckily, I was provided with a half-page version by Frank Young, the comics historian who wrote the fine introduction to my recent Mitzi McCoy book.

The action revolves around the model plane Dick Dixon built, and with which Stub is dying to lend a hand. Model building was a frequent pastime in Kreigh Collins’ household (both boats and planes), and the Stub’s comment about box kites is likely autobiographical. 

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Here’s my father, Eric, with his model plane. My dad modeled for Dick Dixon, and this photo was taken at approximately the same time the episode above was being developed. Around the time I was this age, I recall my father still goofing around with gasoline-powered model airplanes in our back yard.

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In this childhood water color of Kreigh’s, I assumed it shows his father at left, with his mother and Kreigh (with a box kite) to the right.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Mitzi cover final

To read the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy” comics, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found here; it’s still available at its pre-order price of $24.95.  


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

The Escapee

What was that noise in the attic?

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Suspense yields to hard-boiled interrogation, and soon enough, the perpetrator cracks. It it is revealed that Dick Dixon’s family lives in Grand Rapids (Michigan), which is a short drive away from the town “Mitzi” is set in (Freedom), as well as from Kreigh Collins’ actual home, in Ada.

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Having made a work arrangement with Mr. Dixon, Stub welcomes Dick back into his home (above the offices of the Freedom Clarion). Shortly, Stub puts his new employee to work.

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The June 12, 1949 comic is perhaps my favorite episode of “Mitzi McCoy.” Despite lacking a single appearance of the strip’s namesake, it has plenty of color and lovely illustrations—several of which feature strikingly pretty women situated prominently in panels 4, 7, 8, and 9. As Dick rattles off a startling amount of boating knowledge (for which Collins likely needed no research), Tim is taken aback and shoots a fourth wall-breaking look at the reader. The episode also references an upcoming “Mitzi” sequence—Dick will meet his hero Notty Pine under unusual circumstances in an episode eight weeks hence. Here, Stub has furnished a wonderful room for the lad. Note the decor: snow shoes, boxing gloves, hockey stick, rifle, books, a radio—and a sailboat model. Kreigh Collins had many outdoor interests, but none that he was more passionate about than boating. 

Most of my grandfather’s boats are shown below. He started small, but as he prospered in his career, his boats followed suit. As a newlywed, Kreigh had a small powerboat, and by the mid-’30s, he owned his first daysailer, a catboat christened “Stub” (a name he was fond of). Around 1950, he was given a 19′ Lightning by his syndicate (NEA)—possibly a bonus for the successful launch of “Kevin the Bold.” In 1952, Collins purchased a 28′ yawl formerly berthed across the “big lake” in Racine, Wisconsin; three years later he upgraded again with Heather, a 45′ schooner. Heather was the boat on which Collins traveled extensively with his family—through most of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron’s North Channel, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, and as far north as Maine.

 


Podcast

wb banner

To learn more about Kreigh Collins, “Mitzi McCoy,” and how my recent book on Mitzi came together, check out this recent interview: “Anatomy of a Comic Strip,” with host John Siuntres, on his long running pop culture audio podcast, Word Balloon.


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

The Return of Mitzi McCoy

Seeing “Mitzi McCoy” go back into print last year made me proud, as the comic strip is an overlooked gem in my (admittedly biased) opinion. This early sequence effectively distills its essence. At this point, the strip’s main characters are still being fleshed out, and lesser ones are slowly being introduced. Tim and Mitzi have just saved Mr. McCoy a bundle of money, and Freedom Clarion editor Stub Goodman worries that he could lose his trusted (and only) employee, Tim, to Mitzi’s father. 

In a sweet third panel, Stub describes how proud he is of his newspaper (to his Irish wolfhound, Tiny), and reveals how much he loves his job. Reading through these comics, part of the fun is looking up obscure references (Samarkand?), and the penultimate panel is an exercise in understated beauty. 

While the mood of the first episode was heart-warming, things darken a bit as we meet Sgt. Douma, a recurring character. Something’s afoot, and it could be dangerous. 

These comics appeared as half pages in the Indianapolis Times and continue over the next two weeks.


Podcast

wb banner

To learn more about Kreigh Collins, “Mitzi McCoy,” and how my recent book on Mitzi came together, check out this recent interview: “Anatomy of a Comic Strip,” with host John Siuntres, on his long running pop culture audio podcast, Word Balloon.


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

Thriller Comics No. 24

 

Only 5-1/4″ wide by 7″ tall, Thriller Comics No. 24 is smaller than other Australian edition comic books I’ve seen (below)—they have a trim size of 6-3/4″ x 10″. But as MacTavish Campbell MacGregor (shown training with Kevin on the cover) would be the first to tell you, sometimes big things come in small packages.

Thriller Comics No. 24 was printed in London, England c. 1951, and marketed in Australia. The cover lists its price as “1’–” which I’ve just learned is one shilling (thank you to my wife’s Australian cousin Lorrie!). It contains two classic early sequences, “The Count de Falcon” and “The Search for Sadea;” combined, they ran over a period of 33 weeks. These 33 episodes are split into five chapters and jammed into 59 pages. I say “jammed” because the comics are abridged—as many as three of the original panels are excised from each episode (not even including the throwaway panels!). In some cases, the panels’ order is changed as well, in an attempt to help streamline the flow of action.

The final three spreads of the comic book feature a Robin Hood comic by an unknown artist (Kreigh Collins isn’t credited for “Kevin,” either), leaving me to wish the comic book editors hadn’t bothered with Robin and had ran the “Kevin” episodes in their entirety.

This is a very minor nit to pick, as the Thriller Comics No. 24 is awesome. My copy is kind of fragile — I didn’t want to damage it by flattening it in my scanner, so I took some quick photos of it with my phone. Here is Chapter 1. 

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(If these photographs aren’t satisfying, the sequence’s original, color Sunday comics can be seen here). The story continues with chapter two…  

Here’s Chapter 3, which I call “The Search for Sadea,” and whose original comics  can be seen here.

Chapter 4:

And the conclusion, Chapter 5. An avid sailor, my grandfather clearly loved drawing boats of any size in his comics. In addition to “Kevin the Bold,” boats were featured frequently in both “Mitzi McCoy” and “Up Anchor!”

In October, 1965, near the end of the line for “Kevin the Bold,” Kreigh Collins also used Robin Hood in a plot. Here is another cartoonist’s take on Robin. 

And finally, the back cover.

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

Hand to hand combat

A recent trip to Iceland inspired me to run the accompanying “Dragon Ship” sequence, set in Norway. I’ll vouch for the coldness of the North Atlantic (though I was not “bold” enough to wade in deeper than my ankles).

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The illustration of underwater swimming in the final panel is evocative of a decade-old Mitzi McCoy comic and plot device, that of finding a hidden cave with an air pocket.

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August 7, 1949

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As in the mid-1949 Mitzi McCoy sequence, a cave is found with an air pocket. It allows Kevin to escape the frigid water, albeit briefly. Meanwhile, as Thord’s men squabble, Kevin seizes his opportunity.

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Besides being a rather gruesome conclusion to a compelling storyline, the August 31, 1958 episode is notable for a couple of other reasons, among them a continuity problem. When Thord and Kevin resurface in the second panel, some stones are visible in the foreground, to Thord’s right. In the next panel, Thord gives Kevin a stiff-arm as he lunges for the stones to his left. The throwaway panel then shows a closeup of a stone in Thord’s left hand, but the following panel shows the stone in Thord’s right hand, as he’s about to strike at Kevin.

Also of note is the introduction of the character Pedro in the final transitional panels. A large and recurring character, Pedro was by Kevin’s side for many of his adventures over the final decade of Kevin the Bold’s run. No doubt he was a favorite of Collins, as a very similar Pedro character played a prominent role in Kreigh Collins’ third and final NEA feature, Up Anchor!


Mitzi book update!

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Fulfillment of book orders should start by early next week. My apologies for the publisher’s delay in shipping books that have been ordered.

That said, the book (The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy) can be found at the Lost Art Books website, and the last time I checked, it was still available for its reduced, pre-order sale price. 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.


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

The Dragon Ship

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A recent trip to Iceland (a country my blog has yet to have a visitor from) inspired me to run the following sequence, originally published 60 years ago, over the summer of 1958. The previous storyline transitions dramatically with an enormous and beautifully illustrated splash panel. (Sincere thanks to my friend in the Netherlands, Arnaud, who sent me scans of many of the comics I’ll be posting over the course of the next five weeks).

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Thord, an evil man from the east has caught the ear of the declining, yet venerable Erl Sor Nordick, and is scheming to steal everything the old man holds dear.

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It’s quite clear that Thord is the representation of evil incarnate, and an unusual graphic detail underlines this fact. Likely unintentional, in the bottom left panel of the episode above, a swastika is shown in the detailing on Thord’s left sleeve. In the next panel, the old man is dead. Fortunately, this evil will be countered by virtue, as Kevin the Bold’s arrival in Norway is imminent.

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Now available!

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Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: 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 and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.


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

Fearless Girl

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Kevin has tricked Bouchard’s henchmen, but Jacques has a trick of his own—dirty, of course.

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Love has also caused Marie to act impetuously, and Paul’s father couldn’t help but notice.

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Paul and Marie are set for their happily ever after, and Kevin departs for England. But after crossing the English Channel, Kevin lands in hot water, and the comic transitions into a new sequence.


Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website 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 and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi cover final


 

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