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

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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!

Mitzi cover final

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.

Honorable Intent

Kevin, Marie, and Paul are all trying to do the right thing. But  in trying to protect the other, they are working at cross-purposes.

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Kevin stumbles across the heartbreaking sight of a distraught, beautiful woman and his primal instinct, to help those in need, kicks in. However, further complications arise when Paul’s father is introduced.

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Once Kevin fully grasps the situation, he takes matters into his own hands.

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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.

Rejected

Kevin’s new friend Paul Fortin proves that love is blind… in this case, to danger.

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After taking a punch in the previous week’s episode, Paul was left with a nasty black eye. Instructions for the colorists were left at the bottom of the original illustration, but unfortunately, I do not have any color examples of the above comic to show how the bruise was rendered. However, the comic below, with events from the same day, shows no evidence of Paul’s black eye (although Kevin mentions it in the dialog).

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Despite a beggar’s helpful tip, Jacques Boucher shows how ruthless he is—not a good sign for Paul. Making matters worse, Boucher is not the only one plotting against the young student.

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But worst of all (to Paul), he has now been rejected by the object of his desire.

(continued)


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.

Defending Her Honor

The following “Kevin the Bold” sequence, which began in late September 1963, seems to have been an attempt to relate to college-age readers of the funnies. It portrays the students’ 16th-century counterparts as being not so different from themselves. Quick to fall in love, idealistically standing up for their beliefs, and living like slobs—some things never change. (Except for the part about college kids reading newspapers).

Having just arrived in Paris, Kevin is attracted to its beauty and stumbles into a messy scene.

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Paul’s actions are based on emotions rather than logic, and he is headed toward danger to which he is blind. Luckily, his new friend Kevin is more worldly, and willing to help.

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(The sequence continues next week).

In commemoration of this blog’s third anniversary, I would like to thank all of its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


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 McCoy Cover 150


 

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

 

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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Long in development and currently undergoing final edits, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be printed in September, 2018. This puts it on schedule to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the strip’s 1948 launch. In addition to the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first syndicated comic, “Mitzi McCoy,” the book also includes the opening sequence of the comic strip “Mitzi” evolved into, the better-known and longer-lasting “Kevin the Bold.”

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The book features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winning writer Frank M. Young. Collins’ early life and career are covered as well as the development of both “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold.” Previously unpublished photographs and artwork are included.

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be published by Lost Art Books, whose stated mission is to collect and preserve the works of illustrators and cartoonists from the first half of the 20th century. Previously published titles feature the work of Richard Thompson, Niso Ramponi, Ray Willner, and others.

For a limited time,The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be pre-ordered at a reduced price. Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order.

Future volumes of Kreigh Collins’ comics are planned. Stay tuned for further developments!


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

Acts of Valor

At the palace, Sadea awaits her fate, while Kevin and Stub sweat their own, aboard the commandeered caravel.

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Once again, the timing of Patch’s heroism is perfect. But how had he survived?

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After a full day’s sail, Kevin, Stub, and Patch reach Morocco. While Sadea shows her determination against the Grand Vizier, Kevin shows his own, as he sets off. After all, he had promised the Count de Falcon that he would rescue Sadea, his missing sister.

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Splendor, action, humor, and terror—the June 10, 1951 comic is another showstopper. Each panel is absolutely wondrous.

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With a birds-eye view of the courtyard (reminiscent of an old “Mitzi McCoy” setup), Kevin’s quick thinking allows him to subdue two palace assassins, and he introduces himself to the lovely Sadea. So far, so good, but the two are not yet out of the woods.


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