Il Nerbiniano – Anno VIII, n. 4

NERB 08 04 C1

During a trip to Italy this summer, I met with an old friend from Trieste—Fabrizia had been an exchange student that stayed with my family when I was a senior in high school. What made the reunion sweeter was that she gave me a package containing 14 issues of the Italian comics publication Il NerbinianoAnother friend had generously purchased them for me and mailed them to Fabrizia in order to avoid expensive international shipping. Talk about overstimulation—being in Venice, and having a bella regazza hand over such a wonderful trove of my grandfather’s artwork!

Il Nerbiniano was published for at least ten years; the issues I received came from years IV through VIII (I’ll use Roman numerals per the publication’s style because “when in Rome…”) The number of issues per year varied from four to six. At some point, an Italian translation of KEVIN THE BOLD began running, but without a complete collection, it’s hard to say when—the comic strip’s storylines do not appear in their original sequence. The oldest copy I have seen (Anno III, n. 1) has a sequence from mid-1951, whereas KEVIN’s introductory chapter ran in Il Nerbiniano a few years later (starting in Anno 6, n. 1). This issue was published in the last quarter of 1980.

First up was a profile on Roberto Diso, an artist who illustrated MISTER NO.

This was followed by some material I didn’t have any luck in translating/researching, I’m sorry to say.

For me, things got exciting at the mid-point of the book. The orientation of the artwork on the pages changes, with half of a KEVIN THE BOLD tabloid episode appearing before and after a four-page section geared toward subscriptions. Because the action picks up with the third and fourth tiers of the episode (January 28, 1951), there isn’t a KEVIN logo identifying the strip. Following the four subscription pages, another half-episode appears—the first and second tiers of the February 4, 1951 episode. It’s a shame they are arranged like this, otherwise each spread would feature a single tabloid version. It would have been an impressive layout due to Il Nerbiniano’s ample trim size—these reproductions are larger than the original tabloid versions.

Issues of Il Nerbiniano generally included two to four KEVIN episodes, but on this occasion, it ran the equivalent of eight episodes—meaning KEVIN occupied more than half of the issue’s pages. As the issue’s featured comic strip, it ran in two colors.

Halfway through the pages featuring Collins’ artwork, The “Count de Falcon” chapter ends and the action transitions to the next sequence,“The Search for Sadea.”

The conclusion of the “Sadea” chapter would appear in Il Nerbiniano’s future issues (assuming there were any). As the final issue of 1980, the back cover was dedicated to a New Year’s greeting (“Best wishes to all readers”).

By splitting the tabloid comics in half and running them on two separate pages, they are printed about 12-3/4″ wide, larger than the original Sunday versions. ’ve heard of half-page comics turned into tabloids, but vice-versa? Interesting. By running landscape-oriented versions, they appear twice as large as they would otherwise, but only half as many comics fit in the six pages allotted to Kevin. Either way, there wouldn’t be enough room for the entire sequence, so it’s nice to see them enlarged like this, it must be a sign that Il Nerbiniano’s editors appreciated the quality and detail of Kreigh Collins’ comics. Perhaps this sequence continued in the next issue of Il Nebiniano?


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

Pistols at Dawn

During his run in the funny papers, Kevin has been challenged numerous times and with different weapons, but this is the first time I recall pistols being employed. Is he as proficient with firearms as he is with a lance or rapier?

We will have to wait to find out the answer to that question! While Kevin is out of danger, the same cannot be said for Pierre.

I just noticed that whomever was responsible for the color plates neglected to fill in the “D” in “BOLD” with red in Kevin’s logo.

As is his way, Kevin takes this opportunity to save Pierre, and thus reuniting lovely Marie with Pierre.

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

Trahison

Note: In trying to come up with a clever title for this week’s installment, I looked up how to say “double-cross” in French. Talk about serendipity!

Marie finds herself in a terrible position.

Quelle horreur!

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

The Traitor Stalls for Time

Now where have I seen this before?

Ah yes—Day 8 of the January 6 hearings, where a treacherous man ignored advisors and refused to take action to stop a bloody assault.

With an Irish wolfhound by his side, Kevin likes his chances, but can he hold on until the troops arrive?

Barely surviving the attack of a half dozen would-be assassins, Kevin’s outlook improves with the arrival of Pierre and Marie.

To be continued…

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

Deviltry from a Mob of “Patriots”

While Kevin does some reconnaissance work, Count Noir plots against him.

The trap is set on an unsuspecting Kevin.

Choosing a malleable, simple-minded sergeant to be his captain of the guard, Count Noir has confidence in his nefarious scheme to ambush Kevin.

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

Seeing Doublet

The story continues, but in a slightly confusing manner.

In Collins’ rendering of the wounded Pierre van Arden, the fallen man bears a strong resemblance to Kevin. Re-reading the previous episode helped me, but in it I noticed that the color of van Arden’s top (I believe this garment is called a “doublet”) changed from blue to purple.

With good reason for his heavy conscience, the treacherous Count Noir nervously awaits his king’s return.

Below is a small image of the August 4, 1957 episode from La Patrie, a Montreal, Quebec tabloid.

To be continued…

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

She Said Yes!

Once again, beautiful Marie dominates the July 7 episode, which includes a very charming, barrier-breaking throwaway panel where she addresses the reader directly—visible only in the half-page format such as this. Meanwhile, the final panel introduces a character who has proven to be a scene-stealer in the past.

Where have I seen that snout before? Craigwood Molloc Druich bears a resemblance to a certain pup Collins had featured in MITZI McCOY nearly 20 years earlier—Stub Goodman’s dog, Tiny.

Tiny played a significant part in the metamorphosis of MITZI McCOY into KEVIN THE BOLD—but that’s another story.

To be continued…

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More Tiny?

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” back in stock, features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, MITZI McCOY, and includes Tiny the Irish Wolfhound in one third of its episodes.

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 afterword 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’s price is $30. 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.

Count Noir

This chapter, represented primarily by half-page comics from the Detroit News, features a scheming count and a playful young widow; it ran in Sunday comics sections 65 years ago.

The widow (Marie de Grasse) had made her situation clear in the transitional strip that preceded this one.

By the summer of 1957, the Chicago Tribune generally ran KEVIN in its loathed third-page format, and in the absence of half pages from the News, episodes will get the collage treatment—which is a shame because June 23 is a very nice example.

In stark contrast with Noir’s machinations, lovely Marie has her own methods to get what she wants.

To be continued…

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

A Close Shave for “Samson”

Disguised as Captain Samson (an appropriate name for such a hirsute man), Kevin’s plan starts to unravel as he nears the Falcon.

Loading “Long Tom” with a double charge seems like overkill—Captain Hudson’s history with Kevin must be unpleasant.

Hudson’s crew is doomed, and his own future is not so bright, either.

Following the previous episodes’s explosive climax, readers could have reasonably expected a final episode to conclude the story arc, but it is wrapped up in the first two panels of the September 4 episode, with the remainder jumping quickly to the next chapter. A notable aspect of the September 4 episode is the severe way the original art was modified to produce the third-page version. Although not apparent on the collaged version above, in the first panel of the bottom tier (in the third-page version), the father’s left arm was repositioned so that it was more vertical, allowing the panel to be cropped by about 25% along its right edge. In another space-saving move, the two brothers were positioned much closer together in the final panel. Eventually, Kreigh Collins would figure out a way to avoid having his artwork manipulated so much. His solution was for the entire third tier to consist of panels that could be omitted. While this was a cleaner solution, it also compromised his artwork, but with so many newspapers running third-pages of KEVIN, it seemed like the lesser of two evils. _______________________________________________________________

Back in Stock!

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” is available again—it features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, MITZI McCOY.

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’s price is $30. 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.

_______________________________________________________________

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

Baggywinkle?

Lacking a black and white bromide proof for the July 31 episode, my newspapers.com go-to is usually the Carbondale Southern Illinoisian. An interesting artifact is created between the final two panels by a hole in the online original.

Kevin and Pedro’s hard work paid off. Meanwhile, Miss Teendale’s fantasy for an intimate meal with her prisoner is dashed.

As Millicent seems smitten with Kevin, a reader can’t help but feel the same about her—but how did she fall for such a heinous man? (Reminds me of a song).

By the way, does anyone have a guess for the definition of “baggywinkle?”

Ah… baggywrinkle (with an “R.” I guess this is another of Collins’ alternate spellings). With that disguise, what could go wrong?

To be continued…

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