The Horsethief

As Kevin and Giza chat, Struken becomes enraged.

Missing from the one-third page version is a strong element of menace toward poor Giza. Meanwhile, Kevin finds himself in a more comfortable situation.

Kevin’s act of kindness toward Eugene has landed him in hot water. Traditionally, punishment for horse theft was severe, even if the animal didn’t have a royal pedigree.

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

Extra! Extra!

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” features the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first NEA feature, and is available for immediate delivery.

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 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introduction by Eisner Award-winning author Frank M. Young, an Afterward by Ithaca College’s Ed Catto, and previously unpublished artwork and photos.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.

The book costs $30. 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.

New Friends and Foes

Eugene has alerted Kevin to danger.

The May 26, 1968 episode is particularly dramatic—even cobbled together from two sources, Kreigh Collins’ artwork and storytelling shine.

With Pigface and Kurt hurriedly having abandoned Eugene, Kevin takes charge of the woebegone animal.

A new cast of characters is introduced, and Kevin and “Mac” arrive, looking for sustenance.

Kevin quickly becomes acquainted with the loveliest girl in town, though he is not the first to have noticed pretty Giza.

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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 a 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…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

The Lipizzaners

The following story arc ran in mid-1968 and was “Kevin the Bold” ’s penultimate sequence, appearing just before the strip morphed into “Up Anchor!” It ran over the course of 18 weeks and seems to have been deliberately included as sort of a grand finale—its subject matter was something very close to Collins’ heart. I don’t have original examples of five of the episodes, including the first four, but I do have color half pages of most of them, so stick around.

This is the story of the breed of horses known as Lipizzaners.

Being a student of history, Kreigh Collins may have previously heard of Lipizzaners, but his familiarity with the breed grew in the late 1950s. Kreigh’s wife was Theresa (Teddy), and her sister Esther had married a man named Tempel Smith. My great uncle Temp started a steel company in 1945 that prospered mightily in the post-war era, such that after witnessing a performance of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, he and his wife purchased and imported 20 Lipizzan horses, and started a riding school on their property in northern Illinois. Given their royal heritage and striking appearance, Collins knew Lipizzaners would be a perfect feature for “Kevin the Bold.”

Tempel Smith’s daughter, Martha Smith Simpson (RIP) at the 1958 Arrival of Lipizzans to the United States, the start of the Tempel Lipizzans.

In Kevin’s adventures, coincidences abound, and in a stroke of kismet, I found myself in Lipica, Yugolslavia, in the summer of 1988. Now part of Slovenia, it is home to the Lipica Stud Farm, the origin of the Lipizzan horse. I was visiting with my mother and step-father, and taken there by some Italian friends who were acting as guides, so the fact that I had a sort of family connection to the place was indeed a coincidence. Of course, our tour guide at the stud farm knew all about Tempel Smith. (In another bit of serendipity, last night I was going through some of my mother’s old photo albums, and came across these pictures and souvenirs, just in time to include here).

My friend Fabrizia and I making acquaintance with one of the horses.

Kevin has set about a very long journey on foot—he’d likely offer his kingdom for a horse, but alas, he doesn’t even own any land. (Long ago, he set off from Moya McCoy in search of wealth in order that he might return to Ireland and marry her—but those plans seem long dashed).

Because the Austrians have fallen under attack from the Turks, horses are being conscripted into military service. Fritz, the top trainer at the Lipizzaners’ training facility, has decided he can’t bear to send his prized stallion to war unaccompanied.

To be continued…

___________________________________________________________________________________

Before Kevin, there was Mitzi

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, the Complete Mitzi McCoy,” now available directly from its editor (moi!), 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 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.

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.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Kevin den Tapre 1951-1955

Cover v1

I recently received a copy of “Kevin den Tapre 1951–1955” from its publisher, Anders Hjorth-Jørgensen. His company, Forlaget desAHJn, has just released a beautiful volume of “Kevin the Bold” sourced from comics translated into Danish for the weekly magazine Hjemmet

This volume represents the first half of the comic strip’s nearly decade-long run in the magazine (and word has it that a second volume is planned that will feature the remaining comics). Initially, I thought the book’s title contained a typo. While the comics inside originally appeared in Sunday papers from 1950–1954, the book’s title refers to the dates when they appeared in Hjemmet

It has a great piece of promotional art to accompany its Forord (Preface), and yours truly is even thanked on its copyright page. (Aside to Mr. Hjorth-Jørgensen, Det er min fornøjelse! Please excuse my broken Danish).

While translating Danish is painstakingly slow for me, I can see that the layout is very nice; the Preface includes original art from Collins’ three NEA features, “Mitzi McCoy,” “Up Anchor!,” and “Kevin the Bold,” and the spread featuring “Up Anchor!” has some nautically-themed art accompanying it, a nice touch.

The book, over 200 pages long, is about the size of a half-tabloid comic. Its comics have great quality color, and it is obvious that much care was taken as the book was readied for print. By my count, there are 175 complete, original episodes—over three and a half years’ worth.

Many of the book’s images are familiar to me, and I am happy to have been a source for some of them. When I started this blog its aim was to raise my grandfather’s profile, and I am thrilled to see that it has done that. Leafing through the book, I am reminded of the expression, “it’s like looking at pictures of my children”—when in fact, many of the pictures are of my grandparents.

The book includes a long epilogue focusing on my grandfather’s early career as a painter, when he produced many landscapes, portraits and murals. I’m not sure what the price of the book is, but the ordering instructions suggest sending an email to desahjn@mail.dk to find out how to get a copy.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Also available!

Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures, September 5, 1954 to June 2, 1957” contains over 140 episodes of this rollicking, witty and dramatic lost Sunday comics classic! This volume startes up about a dozen episodes after “Kevin den Tapre” ends.

With elegant artwork and smart storytelling by creator Kreigh Collins, KEVIN THE BOLD blends swordplay, suspense, humor and history in a rugged, highly appealing blend! Sourced from rare syndicate proofs and are reproduced in crisp black and white, the volume contains 14 complete story arcs. (Please note: three of the book’s 145 episodes were scanned from Sunday comics).

Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures, September 5, 1954 to June 2, 1957” is available on Amazon.


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

Ippon!

When I was a lad, I joined a judo team and took lessons for several years. We learned a bit about Japanese culture and a little bit of the language (I still remember how to count to 99). I got a start at a young age, and did pretty well. I loved it.

To win a match, as I recall, you basically needed to score one point. A nice throw might earn a half point (wasa-ari), and if you achieved two nice throws, it was enough to win. A quicker path to winning was to flip your opponent with a more or less perfect throw, and the referee would call “Ippon!“—meaning one point (and game over). I did this once, I can still remember my opponent coming at me, forcing me to retreat, until I spun and unleashed my bread-and-butter throw, the seoi nage.

I only mention this because I thought there were three more episodes in this story arc, when there is in fact only one. And while the blow Toshi delivers is nothing like anything found in Judo (outside of an Austin Powers movie, maybe), it causes a sudden, decisive ending to the fight.

Definitely ippon.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t have an actual copy of this concluding episode, and it looks like it may contain a pice of clip art—a photostat of Kevin’s sword, appearing in the panel after the throwaway. This time-saving device was used by Collins somewhat frequently during this period.

In this piece of original art from my collection (June 17, 1962), Brett is holding onto a photostat of Kevin’s sword (bottom left panel).

___________________________________________________________________________________

It’s 5:00 Somewhere

Since this was such a short post, let me fill some space with a recent photo of a special beer tasting.

I wrote about these beers last November. I provided customized label artwork for a brewery in my grandfather’s old hometown—Ada, Michigan’s Gravel Bottom Brewery—and the brewery produced three varieties as their first bottle releases. I had previously tasted the base version (Kevin the Bold Russian Imperial Stout), and it was quite nice, but I think I preferred a version that I’d cellared for the last year, “Kevin Goes to the Beach,” with its subtle coffee, coconut, and vanilla flavorings. Aging it really helped. Later in the winter, I’ll surely be cracking open the last one, “Kevin Goes Camping.”

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

One Sep Forward, Two Steps Back

Kevin and Will are jailed, awating their trial.

An escape improves their situation, but for how long?

Kevin quickly wins the fight, but it’s not over yet…

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Kevin the Bandit?

Lady Yuri is determined to either escape or thwart Lord Kira’s plans…

…while Kevin and Will try a more direct approach.

Things look dark. Kevin and Will face their imminent trial, and Lady Yuri is about to be dragged away by Kira.

___________________________________________________________________________________

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

Serendipity

In addition to the unusual tone of the story, the episodes themselves have a slightly different appearance—most have only six panels. And while the story is a bit silly, it does have a nice graphic impression.

KTB 051362 TA 150 qcc

Kevin is fortunate to be able to persuade his antagonist to help display the “jewels” more discreetly, and as he reaches the king’s palace, he is relieved that his job is over.

KTB 052062 TA 150 qcc

King Henry’s abrupt dismissal and useless advice, to merely dispose of the Shah’s gift leaves Kevin at a loss.

KTB 052762 TA 150 qcc

After a serendipitous meeting, Kevin seizes an opportunity to find a taker for the Shah’s gift.

KTB 060362 TA 150 qcc

Thanks again to Arnaud for the tabloid scans.

Here is a half-page version of this episode, which serves as a finale to both the story arc and Jay Heavilin‘s stint as writer for “Kevin the Bold.”

KTB 060362 HA 150 qcc

To follow the action as it returns to Kreigh Collins’ stewardship, click here for “The Field of the Cloth of Gold” sequence.


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

The Shah of Rani

Kevin certainly knows how to keep his cool, and his new acquaintance is impressed.

KTB 042262 TA 150 qcc

What’s less impressive is the laziness of the name given to the Shah, an anagram of Iran. But a quick look online shows that the time period of the action does correspond to the beginning of the Safavid Empire, when rulers referred to as Shah first arose. Beyond that historical note, this sequence is as near to fantasy as Kevin ever strayed. It’s a good thing, because it all seems a bit cliched to me.

KTB 042962 TA 150 qcc

They seem to have made quick work of rebuilding the stone bridge, but danger lies ahead. Religious fanatics  are introduced, and they’re not the visiting Muslims!KTB 050662 TA 150 qcc

To be continued…


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