Escape from the Harem

Just prior to the following sequence, Kevin’s travels took him to Japan. How he got so far east is another story, and because my collection of “Kevin” comics is incomplete, it’s a story I cannot recount at this time.

As this new adventure begins, Kevin is aboard a sailboat near Istanbul, a seemingly unusual place to secure intel on Spain’s plans to invade England.

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Due to the reference to Sultan Murad (III), the events depicted would be occurring c. 1580, the height of the Ottoman Empire. Kevin and tagalong Sir Richard are set to rescue the fetching English spy, Lucia.

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The August 11 episode is a marvel, and Collins’ beautiful line work is fully on display in the NEA Daily. Despite Sir Richard’s timely suggestion to change into less conspicuous clothing, their daring escape is noticed.


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

A Pretty Little Speech

Besides becoming an artist, the only other career choice Kreigh Collins considered was to become a magician. By the time he reached high school he’d made up his mind, yet magic cropped up in his work frequently enough. In 1937, he wrote Tricks, Toys, and Tim, a unique “how-to-do-it” book  published by D. Appleton-Century — Kreigh’s illustrations appeared throughout. In his later work, subjects related to magic came up — “Mitzi McCoy” had a sequence featuring a yodeling cowboy with a ventriloquist’s dummy (!) — and ventriloquism was featured again in this “Kevin the Bold” storyline.

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If you find a copy, buy it! You won’t be sorry. More information on “Tricks, Toys, and Tim” here.

Unfortunately, Kevin and Tankard are unaware of the current fearful climate in the little Dutch city of Bomen.

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The September 9 episode is a good example showing the difference between the Chicago Tribune’s superior color schemes and that of a typical newspaper. Although the image of the half page version is just a snapshot liberated from an old eBay listing, it has richer colors and and a much more extensive palette than the tabloid.

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The ever-honorable Kevin bids to save his new friends’ lives by sacrificing his own. In what appears to be a cowardly move, Tankard quickly backs the idea.

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Finding the perfect time to demonstrate his talents, Tankard saves the day. Meanwhile, Kevin is appreciative enough that Tankard accompanies him on his next adventure in Ireland, where no doubt he will demonstrate more magic.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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To read the 1949 “Mitzi McCoy” sequence featuring the yodeling cowboy and his ventriloquist’s dummy, pick up a copy of The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy, available here.


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

The Witch Hunter

Stub’s warning proven true, Kevin starts to swim for shore, looking for safety.

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After being rudely welcomed ashore, Kevin makes an acquaintance with the opportunistic Tankard. There is plenty of knavery afoot, as geese come and go.

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There is joy in the town, but its counterpart is manifest in the witch hunter, Swatrzhunt.

A little more than a year after the August 26, 1951 episode appeared in Sunday papers, its splash panel was repurposed as a cover for Tit-Bits, a weekly publication from Argentina. Tit-Bits featured other comics from the U.S., and even if you don’t know Spanish, like me, the strips are prettily easily identified. In addition to “Kevin el denodado,” typically there are episodes of “Ben Bolt Campeón,” by John Cullen Murphy, Dal Curtis’ “Rex Morgan, Médico,” and “Terry el Piloto/Terry and the Pirates” (George Wunder). Two comic strips whose names aren’t cognates also run—one is familiar to me (Lee Falk & W. McCoy’s “La Sombra/The Phantom”), and the other is not (“Las Llaves del palacio/The Keys to the Palace” by Fernanci).

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Later, there is more to come about “Kevin el Denodado,” but next week, Kevin’s adventures in Holland continue.


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

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A witch!

With the recent release of the Mueller Report, witch hunts are in the news. The subject came up on a couple of occasions in “Kevin the Bold.”

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Per wikipedia, the classical period of witch-hunts in Early Modern Europe and Colonial North America took place around 1450 – 1750. This actually corresponds (more or less) to the years the events depicted in “Kevin the Bold” took place (c. 1490 – 1668). Obviously, Kreigh Collins took liberties with the timeline while including historical events in his comic strip.

Based on the apparent age of Leonardo Da Vinci, the episode above is set around the year 1510, when witch hunts were common. Ironically, they seem to have returned to prominence in the last couple of years, but that’s another story.

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There are holes in my collection during this sequence, so I can’t run it in its entirety. I was fortunate to have the two episodes above given to me by illustrator/blogger Thom Buchanan. I saw them on an old blog he ran, which I discovered when I began searching online for my grandfather’s comics ten years ago. Thom encouraged me to start a blog, and six and half years later, I did.

The sequence with Leonardo and his lovely assistant Angelina came very late in the comic strip’s run — only three more sequences followed — and it wasn’t the first time witch hunts were featured in “Kevin the Bold.” Sixteen years earlier, in only its fourth sequence, witches were being targeted in the Netherlands. Most of this sequence’s comics are missing from my collection. The images I post here were mined from old eBay listings—how I wish I’d bought them when I had the chance!

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As the preceding storyline transitions, Tankard is introduced, and given his prominence, it’s quite likely he will play a large role in the coming events.

As Kevin sails north on the ship bringing home Sadea, the damsel he’d just saved as a favor to his erstwhile rival the Count de Falcon, Stub offers some words of advice that prove to be prophetic.

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To be continued…


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be ordered here.


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

Kevin the Bosnian

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On St. Patrick’s Day, it seems only fitting to highlight Kevin’s adventures in… Bosnia?

My friend Marko recently pointed me toward some comic books with “Kevin the Bold” translated into Bosnian. Shown above are two late examples published by Lale that sold for 1.5 dinar. Without seeing the physical copies, it is difficult to tell which storyline is contained inside, because the covers were redrawn and don’t come from any of Collins’ original artwork.

Other Serbian publishers also featured Kreigh Collins’ noted strip. Dugin magazine #7-20 ran most of the Baron Von Blunt sequence (originally appearing in Sunday papers from October 21, 1951– January 27, 1952). Happy Party #51-63 ran most of the sequence where Kevin and Brett search for the Hartz family fortune, plus the following one featuring Zyclos the Pirate (April 13–August 3, 1952); #64-65 has the beginning of Leonardo Da VInci’s flaming dragon sequence (August 10–24, 1952). Zenit #10-23 has an interesting 1965 storyline about the lost colony of Roanoke (June 27–September 26, 1965); #45-62 has two sequences, more about the Hartz family fortune and another about Captain Duncan Bellows; and #63-134 apparently contains over a year’s worth of comics (September 20, 1959–January 29, 1961). I haven’t been able to find images of any of these titles.

My favorite is another Lale title, #11, “Neustrasivi Kevin.” It’s obviously an earlier publication, as its price was only 80 dinara. It also features another recreated cover. The cover artwork is very nice, if a bit unlikely—for over 18 years, Kevin ran away from the beautiful damseles he’d rescued—he had unfinished business and wouldn’t be tied down.

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The comics inside told the tale of a kidnapped princess, and originally ran from February 8–May 3, 1959. I found this entire issue online, and have included it below.  The comic book is 36 pages long, with most of it devoted to Kevin. Pages 30–34 feature a comic called “Megdan.”

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And here’s “Megdan.”

There were no images for the inside covers, but there was a back cover.

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For these foreign translations, I rely heavily on online translators, which deliver mixed results. The back cover text indicates there was something like a poll to determine what comics should be featured in this issue. It reads something along these lines:

Dear Readers,
According to your choice, we have prepared for the fall season a series of the most interesting world comics that will be published in our popular library. The editorial staff of the library on this occasion bestowed you on the support and advice you unselfishly provided.


Podcast

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To learn more about Kreigh Collins, “Mitzi McCoy,” and how my book on Mitzi (“The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Volume 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy“) came together, check out this 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.

The voiceless speak

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Kevin’s tournament skills paid off in the first round of the joust, but by taking the high moral ground he is setting himself up for possible failure.

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Kevin’s virtue is matched by Basa’s treachery, but while Kevin is saved by Hugo’s unexpected confession, Basa meets his end at the hands of the angry mob. 

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As the story of the Field of the Cloth of Gold ends, another adventure begins.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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To read the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy” comics, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found here; it’s still available at its pre-order price of $24.95.  


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

Foul Play

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Sir Basa sets his nefarious plan in motion, and De Cagnes smells a rat. As usual, Kevin remains calm.

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Evil to the bone, Sir Basa reneges on his promise to pay Hugo—and he confuses the stableboy’s inability to speak with stupidity. Perhaps Hugo isn’t the only one Basa has underestimated.  

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In the August 26 episode, the “Ancient Code” is spelled out once again. From the beginning of his time with NEA, Collins had been instructed to repeat information critical to a story’s plot so that newspapers could pick up the strip at any time and start running it—and the same was true for readers. If they’d missed a sequence’s earlier episodes, they could be brought up to speed. The repetition might help newcomers, but to those following the action each week, the practice was no doubt a bit tedious.


The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Mitzi cover final

To read the complete run of “Mitzi McCoy” comics, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found here; it’s still available at its pre-order price of $24.95.  


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.

Sunday, December 27, 1959

Since my comics collection mostly consists of episodes of my grandfather’s comics cut from Sunday papers, the only other comics of the era I’m very familiar with are whatever printed on the other side of those pages. Occasionally, my grandfather saved entire pages (featuring up to a half-dozen comics), and in a few cases, entire comic sections, so these are in my collection too.

One example of an intact section is the Sunday, December 27 edition of the Detroit News, from 1959. Despite being almost 60 years old, nearly all the comics appeared as one-third pagers. The only comic appearing as a half page is Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner.” Unfortunately, due to the size of the News’ masthead, Capp’s comic is pushed down onto the fold, making it more difficult to scan. (Sorry about the slight misalignment of the the comic’s two pieces).

Not surprisingly, many of the comics’ themes revolve around Christmas (“Pogo” by Walt Kelly, “Red Ryder” by Fred Harman, “Freddy” by “Rupe,” “Will-Yum” by Dave Gerard, and “Dennis the Menace” by Hank Ketcham). New Year’s was also a popular motif (“Boots” by Edgar Martin, “Emmy Lou” by Marty Links, and my grandfather’s “Kevin the Bold”). This episode of “Kevin” is notable as far as my grandfather’s career is concerned—it marked the point where the Chicago Tribune dropped his comic. (I also have the comics section from that day’s Tribune).

Winter themes occurred in a couple comics (“Mickey Finn” by Lank Leonard, and “Out Our Way” by J. R. Williams), and Al Fatally & Harry Shorten’s “There Oughta Be a Law” focussed on a birthday, with somewhat racy results (am I seeing tan lines on that model?)

Otherwise, it’s business-as-usual for soap opera strips and other serials (“Rex Morgan, M.D.” by Dal Curtis, “Steve Roper” by Saunders and Overgard, “Mary Worth” by Ernst and Saunders, “Kerry Drake” by Alfred Andriola, and “Tarzan” by Edgar Rice Burroughs) as well as comics like “Archie” by Bob Montana, “Mark Trail” by Ed Dodd, “The Smith Family” by Mr. & Mrs. George Smith, and “Off the Record” by Ed Reed.

As for the other comic included, “Tales from the Great Book: David and Saul” by John Lehti, I’m not sure if this is Old Testament stuff of the New—perhaps I need a nice book of Bible Story Picture Comics to help me get straightened out on that. (The next volume in “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins” series will focus on his like-named pre-Mitzi strip, and is tentatively scheduled for publication in September, 2019).

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!


Happy Birthday!

Kreigh Collins was born 111 years ago on New Year’s Day.


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

Kevin Hin Frygtløse

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This summer, I received a comic book in the mail. Although I had never met the sender, he knew exactly what I’d like—a Danish “Kevin the Bold” comic book. It is Serie Magasinet Solo Number 23. with “Solo” possibly indicates there are only Kevin hin Frygtløse (“The Fearless”) comics inside. It’s quite robust—68 pages with no ad pages at all.

I’d seen (and copied) an image of the cover online somewhere years ago, but to hold an actual copy was wonderful. They didn’t skimp on the ink when they printed the cover. The palette of colors used is almost completely saturated: 100% cyan, 100% magenta, 100% yellow, and a blend of 100% cyan and 100% magenta to create a nice dark purple, and a similar magenta-yellow blend for bright red. The skin tones are the only place half-tone dots are used.

A copyright line inside indicates it was published in 1974, which means it came out at about the same time the Menomonee Falls Gazette also began reprinting “Kevin the Bold.” (A small amount of material overlaps the two publications’ efforts). The 66 individual comics it features make up five complete story arcs—all of the 1954 “Kevin the Bold” Sunday comics plus another 15 from 1955. The first story, “The Island of Death,” appears below.

The action begins abruptly—the introductory comic in the sequence was skipped. To help explain what’s happening, here is the December 27, 1953 Sunday comic.

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Inside the comic book, the action picks up. Although I can’t read Danish, the sequence has some lovely illustrations. As usual, the comic book was put together using original tabloid pages, but to avoid the repeating the comic strip’s logo on each page, it was simply cropped out. The results were usually fine, but there does tend to be a bit of dead space in the upper right corners of several of the comics.

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On page 14, the episode transitions to the next story arc. It features a beggar character, Toto, that would reappear in Kevin’s later adventures.

The back cover reproduces a beautiful splash panel and has some expository text.

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It’s a nice synopsis of “Kevin.” With assistance from an online translator, it reads:

In this issue of SM solo, I have the pleasure of presenting Kevin the Bold, or Kevin the Fearless, as he has been called in Danish. Unfortunately, it has not been possible for me to write an article about the series, as I know quite a bit about it and have not been able to find any information about it anywhere.

It is an American comic strip that was founded by Kreigh Collins from around 1949. It was only drawn for Sunday papers, so there are no dailies.

The story is about a young Irish man, Kevin. When he was a little boy, Ireland was invaded by pirates who robbed and burned large areas. Kevin, an orphan, was found by a Scottish soldier, MacTavish Campbell [MacGregor] who took him in as his son and raised him. At the age of 15, Kevin received an amulet from MacTavish, an amulet that Kevin had been wearing when he was found, and maybe one day it could lead him on the trail of his true family’s name.

He has experienced a lot and fought a lot. As a soldier, he became known for his boldness in battle, and since then he has been all over Europe in his quest for adventure. It is a very lively and exciting series that in many ways can be compared to Prince Valiant. Enjoy. 


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Asger, my friend who sent me the Danish comic book, had heard about my efforts to publish the “Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Volume 1: Mitzi McCoy.” He and some friends have been working on a similar project—reprinting the great Danish adventure strip “Willy På Eventyr” (“Willie’s Adventures”). So far, four volumes have been published (about 250 pages each), and Vol. 5 is due out next year. Information can be found at their web site: www.willy-centret.dk


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