A Story of Robin Hood

As the 1960s progressed, several changes happened in regards to the production of KEVIN THE BOLD. In April, 1961, it sported a new logo, and for a couple years, Jay Heavilin took over the strip’s writing. By 1964, NEA Features Director Ernest Lynn had handed over supervision of the strip to NEA staffer Robert Molyneux. In 1965, the prevalence of newspapers running the dreaded one-third page format led to a brilliant new way of dealing with this unfortunate situation, and in another development, the name of the story arc occasionally started appeared in conjunction with the strip’s logo.

The first chapter to include this minor embellishment to the logo was “A Story of Robin Hood.”

On his way back from the New World settlement at Jamestown, Kevin begins recounting the tale of Robin Hood to Saigen, a young indigenous boy with whom he is traveling to England. Having an adult narrate a tale to a child was a device Kreigh Collins employed periodically, but Saigen’s appearance leads to some unfortunate stereotypes, language-wise. Looking beyond that, the reader sees a warm relationship between the two, as shown in the transitional episode from October 10.

Recounting the oft-told tale of Robin Hood could also be seen as a sign that original ideas for story arcs were beginning to dry up.

I’m not overly familiar with the story of Robin Hood—the last version I’ve seen was Mel Brooks’ Men in Tights—so perhaps I can benefit from a more traditional account, like learning how Robin and Marian were slated for an arranged marriage. Meanwhile, Robin is off to see the King.

Having been duped into killing the one of the King’s deer, the October 24 episode concludes with three ominous panels whose silence adds to the suspense.

To be continued…

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

Survival Instincts

A commotion caused by the apparent change in tournament combatants causes a delay, much to the King’s displeasure.

Following the knight’s code of conduct puts Kevin at a disadvantage, facing a scoundrel such as Bruce Black.

Saved by his impeccable instincts, Kevin witnesses his opponent self-destruct.

The matter of Conovanshire’s title is settled by the King who, despite his surprise in bumping into Kevin, has a new task for the him—which certainly helps move the story along. That action, posted previously, continues here.

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

Tournament Day

Instead of a weakened Malcom Keith, Bruce Black will face Kevin in the tourney.

Malcom hastens to the tournament field, but will he arrive in time?

As the tournament begins, Malcom fears he will forfeit Conovanshire.

So far, so good for Malcom’s replacement…

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

Fatal Attraction

Malcom makes the best of his situation.

Motivated by finding booze, the guards make some questionable decisions.

As previously mentioned, much of my comics collection was given to me by Kreigh Collins’ son Kevin. Uncle Kevin gave me tons of Sundays, plus numerous black and white bromide proofs. I have most of the bromides for this story arc, but one is missing—March 30. The episode was a favorite, and the framed proof hangs Kevins dining room.

The April 6 episode starts with a gorgeous silhouetted splash panel and includes a lovely closeup of the conniving Kay. In between, Kevin’s good nature lands him in a world of pain.

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

The King’s New Armor

The following chapter is from the spring of 1958, and most its scans were provided by my friend Arnaud. The first several episodes introduce new characters, and while Kevin is mentioned at the end of the second, he doesn’t make an appearance until the fourth one.

With a name like Bruce Black, he is clearly the villain—yet the loutish thug certainly has a comely, yet conniving, lady friend.

To be continued…

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

Sweet 116

I have a soft spot for comics from the Indianapolis Times—it is the newspaper from which the first six months of my MITZI McCOY collection originated. I also appreciate the paper’s solid reproductions.

The remaining two episodes are represented by third-page versions, which is a shame—for me the only bonus are the identifying labels. Initially thinking it was the handwriting of Kreigh’s wife Theresa, I was mistaken—it was written by Kreigh’s mother, Nora. Because Nora and Stephen Collins lived in a small cabin on Kreigh and Teddy’s property, all the mail was co-mingled, and since the cabin was closer to the mailbox than the house, Nora took charge of the mail. No doubt she felt enormous pride in her son’s career, and many of the saved copies of his comic strips include Nora’s handwritten labels. I have no memories of my great-grandmother—she died when I only two or three.

At any rate, today is the birthday of Nora’s daughter-in-law, Teddy—sweet 116. (She lived to be 101).

At her 99th birthday party with some of her sons and grandsons (L–R, Brian, Josh, Glen, Kevin, David, and Brett (absent are oldest son Erik, youngest grandson Wes, and granddaughters Karen and Lauren).

Meanwhile, Pedro is still in custody, and Carmine has an audience with the King.

As Carmine charms King Henry, the chapter quickly draws to a close…

…with the suddenly freed Pedro gaining both a job and a fiancée.

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

Pushing Pedro’s Buttons

While Del Sarto gives orders to his goons, Pedro experiences love at first sight.

Del Sarto doesn’t realize how misguided his plan is…

…nonetheless, it is successful, and Pedro’s beloved and beautiful Carmine is in serious peril.

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

The Powder Expert

As Carmine nears her destination, and takes in the lovely vista, she gets jolted back to reality.

Meanwhile, something appears to have been lost in translation.

Despite the language barrier, Pedro and Carmine make a strong connection, but as ever, danger lurks in the form of the jilted Del Sarto.

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

La Bella Donna

This chapter, from late 1958, starts with an episode in which Kevin himself is absent. Such a setup allows new characters to be introduced as the scene is set. And one new character that surely caught the readers’ eye was Carmine.

Slender, lovely women such as Carmine frequently appeared in Kreigh Collins’ comics, and for me, an especially charming aspect that these ladies’ poses were often modeled by Kreigh’s wife, Therese—Gramma Collins to me.

By the midpoint of KEVIN’s run, Kreigh Collins no longer wrote all of his feature’s stories, but this one has certain hallmarks of his style.

To be continued…

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

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.