A Young Man’s Fancy

Her interest piqued, Tom Chiswick has made a fine impression on Miss Makepeace, and she’s shocked to see what unfolds.

Tom is bewildered. Jumped by thugs, one of whom was Pedro, and set upon by a master swordsman, revealed to be Kevin. Then, following an explanation, the tables turn as someone makes a strong impression on him.

Things are moving quickly, yet they are about to speed up. And with Spring in the air…

Without a nice half-page for the June 28 episode, a third-page example combined with a black-and-white velox proof will have to suffice—not bad! And it shows how much of the original illustration was lost when it was edited.

With an abrupt answer to his question, Tom is dispatched. Only later does Becky confront the feelings she has for her suitor.

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

Kevin vs. the Spanish Armada Redux

At this blog’s onset, I didn’t have a clear plan, other than the general idea of trying to raise my grandfather’s profile. The first several posts introduced Kreigh Collins’ three NEA Service features, and the next few entries covered some generalities. I was fortunate to stumble upon the (rather obvious) idea of posting on Sundays, and I soon learned that one weekly post would be plenty. Eventually it dawned on me to post complete story arcs over the span of several weeks. With an ample inventory from which to pick, I decided on a lengthy chapter near the midpoint of Kevin the Bold‘s run. 

At the time, the only examples I had of this particular chapter were one-third page versions, but I proceeded anyway—it seemed like a solid example of one of Kevin’s adventures. Five-plus years later, I’ve run about half the episodes my grandfather created, and there’s still plenty to choose from. Nonetheless, I thought revisiting this particular sequence might be a good idea, since I recently acquired half page examples of 16 of the 19 episodes.

As the prior episode transitions to a new story, two new characters are introduced—wealthy shipbuilder Thatcher Makepeace and his Becky, his lovely daughter.

The chapter shows hallmarks of not being written by Collins, but there is plenty of fantastic artwork to come.

Alas, Mr. Makepeace doesn’t realize the spunkiness of his gently-raised little girl. They grow up so fast!

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

Le Casseur

“Mitzi McCoy” was featured in several of Pierre Mouchot‘s French comic book titles—first in Fantax, then in Robin des Bois, Le Casseur, and P’tit Gars. In all, about ⅔ of Mitzi’’s episodes appeared in Mouchot’s titles. Le Caseur, featuring Big Bill, had the longest run of the four, with Mitzi appearing in 20 issues (Nos. 32–51). As with the case of most (all?) of the others, an episode (or more) started inside and concluded on the back cover. I haven’t seen interiors of Le Casseur, but I was able to track down a bunch of the covers (with guidance from my friend Gérard).

The examples above show episodes that came from the third and fourth chapters of “Mitzi McCoy.”

If you’re curious how these look in English (and in full color!), see below for information on how to order “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy.” 

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Happy Easter!

In 1956, NEA offered an illustration for subscribing newspapers to run on Easter Sunday (or in the case of the reproduction shown here, for the Grand junction, Colorado Daily Sentinel, on Saturday, March 31). Kreigh Collins’ illustration ran in full color, which was a rare occasion (outside of the papers’ Sunday comics). My apologies that I don’t have a color example to show.

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” is available for immediate delivery at a reduced price; it features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume. The last story collected in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” is the narrative bridge that set Collins and his characters off on a new journey, beautifully told for the next couple of decades in the much-lauded adventure strip Kevin the Bold.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book costs $30 only $20! For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, add $25 for first class shipping. To place an order, leave a comment below or email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal information.

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

Sunday, August 14, 1949

Here is another Sunday Times Mirror section I acquired while putting together The Complete Mitzi McCoy. There are fewer ads than usual—if the Mirror’s ad sales department was slacking off, that just meant more full-page episodes and fewer half-tabloids. As usual, Ham Fisher’s “Joe Palooka” leads off, followed by Milt Caniff’s “Steve Canyon” and “Mickey Finn,” by Lank Leonard. Next up is “Kerry Drake,” by Alfred Andriola/Allen Saunders and Frank Miller’s “Barney Baxter in the Air,” with each page filled out with a few $2 bills of play money. Harry Hanand’s silent comic “Louie,” and “Superman” by Wayne Boring (and likely Stan Kaye) follow.

Next, Merrill Blossar’s “Freckles and His Friends” shares a page with an ad for Camel filtered cigarettes—the ad features the then-famous aerialist Antoinette Concello. Ms. Concello offers a testimonial to the mild, good-tasting cancer sticks, but I think she likes them because they soothe her nerves. (I don’t care if she performed over a net, I’d need something at least as strong to calm down after running through that routine!). The facing page features the comic strip that inspired me to plunk down my money for this section—a full page “Mitzi McCoy” episode (a nice change from the usual half-tabloids that ran in the Mirror). This August 14 episode is the penultimate installment of the fifth chapter of “Mitzi” and features the NEA’s typical footer—mugshots of the syndicate’s lead characters.

Next up, “Rex Morgan, MD” by Bradley and Edgington (with a nice, custom footer), and “Boots” by Martin, sharing the page with an ad for Colgate Dental Cream. Sometimes the ads in these old sections are charming, but this one is pretty obnoxious (and typical of the era). Roy Crane’s “Captain Easy” (drawn here by Walt Scott?) and V.T. Hamlin’s “Alley Oop” share the next page, followed by “Henry” by Carl Anderson. While “Captain Easy” and “Alley Oop” get the NEA footer, “Henry” features more play money, this time it’s big money—sawbucks! (I wonder if any kids ever cut these out? If so, then “Mickey Finn,” “Louie,” and “Bobby Sox” paid the price by being on the flip side). Two more split pages follow, “The Flop Family” by Swan with “Bobby Sox” by Marty Links, and “Out Our Way featuring the Willets,” by J.R. Williams, and “Our Boarding House.”

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


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About that Strip on Page 9…

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” is available for immediate delivery at a reduced price; it features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature .

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume. The last story collected in “The Complete Mitzi McCoy” is the narrative bridge that set Collins and his characters off on a new journey, beautifully told for the next couple of decades in the much-lauded adventure strip Kevin the Bold.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

The book costs $30 only $20! For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, add $25 for first class shipping. To place an order, email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

The Verdict Is In!

Sally’s plan is foiled and Kevin and Andrew are outnumbered.

Kevin has been snared in a noose, yet it’s Sally who sets a trap for her father. Kevin quickly follows her lead.

Andrew is the last one to realize what has played out, but they’re not out of the woods yet. (Literally! Recall they are trapped in a small thicket).

After a dramatic pause, Sir Bernard (Sally’s father) caves in to his daughter, giving the lovebirds permission to marry, and the strip transitions to the next storyline. One minor note is the use of photostats to illustrate Kevin’s rapier in the fourth panel of the December 30, 1962 episode, and in the fifth panel of January 13, 1963. This time-saver became a somewhat frequent tool for Collins in episodes after the comic strip’s logo was updated on April 30, 1961. (The photostats are the same size as the logo’s rapier).

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

The Glorious Drama

The Christmas story is indeed filled with glorious drama, so much so that Kreigh Collins was happy to tell it more than once. His artistic rendition received its first major promotional push when it appeared as a story arc in 1949, midway through the run of “Mitzi McCoy,” but this wasn’t the first time his depiction of the Nativity appeared in print.

Prior to joining NEA Service, one of Collins’ steadiest clients was the Methodist Publishing House of Nashville, Tennessee. Among other projects, Kreigh illustrated a weekly, full-page comic in 1945 that appeared in Sunday school bulletins the company produced called “Boys Today,” and “Girls Today.”

The comics appeared in these bulletins during Advent, and a portion of them can be found in this earlier post.

Although it never ran in newspapers as part of the usual NEA fare, the Christmas story was reprised in 1953, in a special offering under the guise of a “Kevin the Bold” narrative. This time, most of the artwork from the “Mitzi McCoy” version was simply picked up and reused, with panels that showed Mitzi‘s characters (Stub Goodman was shown explaining things to his young friend Dick Dixon once or twice in each episode) being replaced by similar ones featuring Kevin and his ward, Brett.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a healthy New Year!

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

Legends of Christmas

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 thatBrezhnev!

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.

Season’s greetings, everyone!

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

The Poor Beastie, Eugene

At this late stage of creating comics for his syndicate, the layout of Collins’ artwork reflected the way he took to dealing with the multiple-format situation NEA artists faced—how to create an episode that worked as a half-page, tabloid, third-page, and half-tabloid. The layouts tended to have a rather stark third tier, as these bottom panels would be jettisoned in order to make a third-page version of the strip. For tabloids, as the panels were shuffled, only the smaller of the two on the bottom tier was thrown away; half-tabloids included the entire piece of artwork—same as the half-page—just at a smaller scale.

I thought Eugene was an unusual name for a horse, but in this case, it’s appropriate—Eugene means “well-born, noble.” Here, poor Eugene is in a bad place, and unfortunately, things get worse.

Kevin should have theme music when he appears—Eugene seems to hear it!

Kevin lives by the knightly code of conduct where it is his duty to protect women, children, and the oppressed; he feels equally protective toward horses (as the Count De Falcon learned in the second-ever chapter of Kevin’s saga).

To be continued…

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

Happy Fifth!

Kreigh circa 1970 72

Today I am celebrating the fifth anniversary of this blog. I started it in order to raise my grandfather’s profile, and to try to help create a bit of a market for the book I was putting together, “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins: The Complete Mitzi McCoy.” At its onset, I had no idea how long I would keep the blog going, but at this point—about two years after the Mitzi book was published—I have no plans to stop (and I’m not even half-way through the comics my grandfather produced). 

Silver is the contemporary fifth anniversary gift; this seems appropriate for a blog celebrating a cartoonist whose work primarily appeared in comics’ Silver Age. The traditional fifth anniversary gift is wood, meant to symbolize the strength and durability of the bond. So, to all the loyal readers of this blog, thank you very much for your continued interest in Kreigh Collins’ oeuvre.


When I began researching my grandfather’s career, I had no idea his work appeared outside the United States. (I’m not sure he was fully aware, either). I enjoy looking at the statistics WordPress collects—tallies of view and visitors, and the countries people are from—and from the beginning I was surprised at how many readers were from outside the United States. Soon enough I began to discover all kinds of foreign publications that published his work.

KTC MM 1949 Contract

Regarding international rights, I’ll have to peruse this contract more closely next time I’m at the Public Library in Grand Rapids, Mich. And check out the signature—no longhand for Kreigh!

Early on I learned that in addition to their domestic newspapers, NEA also had papers in Canada. And because some of these were based in Québec, the episodes were translated into French.

MM 091750 TA 150 qcc

From the Free Press Weekly Prairie Farmer (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

KTB 101864 TH Fr 72 qcc

I’m not sure which Montreal newspaper carried this episode of “Kevin l”Audacieux.”

As for actual Sunday comics, with one exception, I have only seen them printed for newspapers in the US and Canada. In most cases, for foreign markets, Collins’ artwork was repurposed into comic books or weekly general interest magazines. I found an interesting two-color reproduction taken from Die Jongspan, a South African weekly magazine for children, which was translated into Afrikaans. This episode of “Kevin Die Dappere” appeared on Valentine’s Day, 1966, about seven moths after its original publication.

KTB 1965 09.12 afrikaans

The next foreign market I discovered for Kreigh’s comics was down under. Several different publishers produced these “Australian Edition” comic books, again featuring both Mitzi and Kevin.

While going through Special Collection #56 at the Grand Rapids Public Library, I found tear sheets of both Mitzi and Kevin comics from Havana, Cuba’s El Mundo newspaper. These tabloid comics are pretty cool, and coming from Cuba, they seemed rather exotic, as political differences had prevented travel between the US and Cuba between 1963 and 2000.

Another hit that came up in my search results was for “Kevin el Denodado,” which I learned was how it was branded in Argentina. The comics ran for several years in the weekly magazine Tit-Bits, which was a tabloid.

Sometimes Kevin was featured on the cover, and at its onset, several episodes were combined into one giant spread. In at least one case, a promotional poster was included. Later, only single episodes appeared inside.

Tit-Bits 2238 12-13 150 qcc

KTC Moya McCoy bound 111950 qcc

Scandinavia was another fertile market for Collins’ work. “Kevin den Tapre” ran in Denmark, either in the magazine Hjemmet or possibly in a newspaper.

KTB 100151 Denmark Kevin_Hjemmet_1951

I also learned from my friend Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen that his company (Forlaget desAHJn) was in the process of publishing a three-volume “Kevin den Tapre” series.

After hearing about my efforts to publish the “Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Volume 1: Mitzi McCoy,” Asger sent me a Danish comic book in the mail featuring the exploits of Kevin hin Frygtløse.” Asger and some associates have been working on a similar project—reprinting “Willy På Eventyr” (Vol. 5 has since been published, see www.willy-centret.dk).

SM Solo Nr. 23 01 150

Kevin also appeared in a Swedish comic book. In Sweden, he was called “Roland den Djärve.” This comic book was in my grandfather’s collection, so at least he was aware of this one distant fanbase (and possible source of additional income). In addition to running three spreads of Kevin, it featured other comics as well.

At some point I also came across a couple of examples “Haukka” from Finland, although I don’t know the name of the publication in which they ran.

Several other times I have been contacted by people from other countries who were fans of my grandfather’s work. Davide even sent me a couple copies of the Italian weekly Il Nerbiniano. (I paid him back with a copy of the Kevin the Bold collection available on Amazon that was put together by Frank M. Young).

Another friend, Marko, sent scans from a Serbian comic book called Kevin Neustrasivi, One of the issues had a very nice cover, featuring artwork by an unknown Balkan artist.

KTB NK VLALE_11

The most recent acquaintance I’ve made with a foreign Kreigh Collins fan is Gérard, who sent me scans of French comic books featuring both “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin le Hardi“. At this point, I’m not too surprised to hear about more Kevin comic books, but the revelation of a collection featuring my grandfather’s first feature astonished me.

 

The Fantax covers are especially great because the covers, inspired by Collins’ illustrations, were done by the French publisher and artist Pierre Mouchot (who signed his artwork, “Chott”). And While Big Horn didn’t use Kevin on its cover, he does get a mention there.

In commemoration of this blog’s fifth anniversary, I thank its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career, and especially my far-flung comics friends who have shared parts of their collections with me..


The Perfect Anniversary Gift!

Nevermind wood or silver—now you can order “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy.” directly from me. 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.”

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

The book’s price is $30. For domestic shipping, add $4; for international orders, first class shipping costs $25. (A recent order sent from New Jersey to France took 10 calendar days to be delivered). To place an order, email me at BrianEdwardCollins1[at]gmail.com, and I will give you PayPal or Venmo information.

MITZI McCOY ran from 1948 to 1950 and showcased Kreigh Collins’ skill as an illustrator and storyteller. His picturesque landscapes, lovely character designs, and thrilling action sequences brimmed with detail and charm, and the strip’s ensemble cast rotated in and out of the spotlight taking turns as protagonists in the dozen story arcs collected in this volume. The last story collected in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy” is the narrative bridge that set Collins and his characters off on a new journey, beautifully told for the next couple of decades in the much-lauded adventure strip Kevin the Bold.

The collection includes an introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos. Longtime comics artist Butch Guice also provides a new pin-up of the character Mitzi McCoy.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


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

 

Leaping Lizards, er, Lads!

Six episodes in, and so far two of Heather‘s crew have fallen into the drink. I wonder who’s next?

UA 121568 150 HA qcc

Somewhere in Kreigh Collins’ morgue file, he had an image of a boy playing leapfrog. It was never referenced in “Mitzi McCoy,” but it appeared in Collins’ pre-NEA “Bible Picture Story Comics,” twice in “Kevin the Bold.” and at least once in “Water Lore,” above. Now that’s thrifty!

Leapfrog x3

From left: December 15, 1963; October 30, 1955; and c. 1946.

With the eighth episode of “Up Anchor!”, another recurring character was introduced—Kevin’s friend, Pedro. Pedro had been a mainstay in “Kevin the Bold,” he first appeared in 1958 and continued on and off until the very last episode, a decade later. While Kevin definitely changed when he transitioned between the two strips, Pedro remained essentially the same.

UA 122268 150 HA qcc

Oho! It was Erik that somehow fell in—luckily Pedro was there to lend a hand. He also lets loose with what will become the big fella’s catchphrase.

UA 122968 HA 150 qcc C-BW

Waiting until late December to button up a boat for the winter would be ill-advised in Michigan, but if you factor in the three-month lead time that the production process of these episodes required, doing it in late September (when the artwork was inked) seems appropriate.

Collins also had the advantage of being able to photograph his sailboat in order to create reference images for use in his strip, and it looks like the photo below could have been used for the episode above. I’d guess the younger guy is my uncle Kevin.

Heather cradle Apr 67 r 150


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