The Four Corners

Kreigh Collins truly had a wanderlust, and his comic strips’ settings reflected this as well. “Mitzi McCoy” was set in Freedom, Michigan, but in its short run, Mitzi traveled to Canada’s North Woods (in her own plane), Miami Beach, New York City, and Chicago; action also took place in ancient Rome and Ancient Israel.

“Kevin the Bold” had an 18-year run, and its protagonist travelled much more extensively—to the four corners of the Earth.

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This dramatic Irish cliff seems at least party inspired by the Cliffs of Moher.

Although Kreigh Collins never visited Ireland, he did travel to Morocco as a young man, and his classic Sadea sequence from 1952 featured the North African country.

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Situated as close to Ireland as it was, much action took place in the Netherlands, as in this episode from 1961. Bruges (Belgium), was also a relatively short trek for Kevin.

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Often, action was taking place in several distant lands in a single comic. The March 16, 1952 episode features Switzerland, northern Italy, and Byzantium (aka Constantinople).

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In a sequence that has yet to run on this blog, Kevin travels to Venice and eventually sails to the eastern Mediterranean in pursuit of the pirate Zyclos.

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Much of the action from the mid-50s episodes of “Kevin the Bold” took place in London and other locations in England; fictitious German towns were also a frequent setting. In Firenze, Kevin nearly bumped into Leonardo Da VInci.

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On an adventure that was published in the summer of 1953, Kevin traveled as far east as the Caucasus Foothills (Georgia, Asia). By the end of that chapter, he was back in the south of France.

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The next year, Kevin rode to Muscovy (modern-day Moscow). And of course, Kevin’s travels were generally in the name of fighting injustice. KTB 090554 HA CST 150 qcc

In 1955, Kevin set sail for Suez, Egypt, in order to return a princess to father. For this episode, Collins prepared a customized layout for the Chicago Tribune, featuring fewer panels and the addition of a nicer rendering of Kevin’s storm-tossed ship.

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A later sequence took place in Norway, again featuring one of the artist’s specialties, beautifully-drawn boats.

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In early 1962, Kevin’s adventures to him to the New World, the first of several trips he would make across the Atlantic.

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The following year, a storm struck Kevin’s ship and blew him off course—apparently around Cape Horn and into the Pacific, where he eventually beached in Japan. Unfortunately, and not so surprisingly, given the era in which this episode was published, the Japanese are shown with a skin tone beyond caricature. (However, by the time the sequence had wrapped, this travesty was corrected).

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In the mid-60s Kevin again crossed the Atlantic, reaching the North America mainland. He saw the location of the ill-fated colony of Roanoke, Niagara Falls, and the California coast.

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Near the end of its run, Kevin’s journey takes him furthest from his Irish beginnings, to the other side of the world, the South Sea Isles.

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Although Kevin’s journey seemingly brought him to the four corners of the world, this blog’s readers hail from an even more diverse list of exotic lands:

Estonia, Slovakia, Bolivia, Bahrain, Vietnam, Iceland, Malta,
the Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Albania, Honduras,
Luxembourg, Greenland, Ecuador, Singapore, Qatar, Tunisia,
American Samoa, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Peru, Romania,
Japan, Guam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia, Macedonia, Puerto Rico,
Latvia, Myanmar, Poland, Greece, Indonesia, Uruguay, Panama,
Pakistan, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Belgium, South Africa,
Nigeria, South Korea, Ukraine, Mexico, Switzerland, Hong Kong,
Ireland, Norway, Turkey, New Zealand, Bosnia & Herzegovina,
Philippians, Finland, Hungary, Chile, Australia, India, Argentina,
Thailand, Colombia, United Kingdom, Germany, Serbia, Denmark,
Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Brazil, Croatia, Portugal, Spain,
Italy, France, and (not as exotic to me), the United States

In commemoration of this blog’s fourth anniversary, I thank its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


The Perfect Anniversary Gift!

Forget those traditional and modern gift lists—click here to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 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.”

The book also features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

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

 

Late Themes

As they sailed away from the New World, Kevin began telling Saigen the story of Robin Hood. While having an adult narrate a story to a youth was a familiar trope for Collins, what was different was the appearance of the comic strip’s logo. A longbow and a quiver of arrows replaced the usual rapier and pistol, Robin Hood’s hat rested on the suit of armor’s helmet, and a chapter heading of sorts, “A Story of Robin Hood” was inscribed at the top.

The October 17, 1965 episode serves as an introduction for the chapter’s new characters.

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The only previous time the comic strip’s logo changed was on April 23, 1961. Ten years into its run, the familiar blocky KEVIN logo adorned with a claymore and shield was replaced by a more elegant version featuring new weapons and an uncial-style font more appropriate for an Irishman. In fact, in its final appearance in print, the old logo is half-obscured by an enormous Spanish galleon, a portent of its imminent departure. The new logo coincided with the onset of Jay Heavilin‘s 13-month stint as writer for the comic strip.

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Yes, those are balls of cheese being used for ammunition!

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A year later, the logo was modified again, this time just by adding the new chapter’s title, “Story of the Norman Conquest.” While the historical timeline  in “Kevin the Bold” can be a bit difficult to follow—the first episode takes place at the end of the 15th century while the final one is dated 1668, about 175 years later—setting the action during the Norman Invasion of Ireland (c. 1170) required a different approach. Here Kevin’s ancestor (also named Kevin) is featured. Making this flashback less confusing to casual readers, the two Kevins appear identical, except for the ancestor being blond.

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Another point of departure is the ancestor’s willingness to chase after women, something later-day Kevin eschews. However, the episode that ran two weeks later portrays the two Kevins as essentially the same character.

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The final time the comic strip’s logo was altered was for one its last sequences, “A True Story of Captain John Smith.” Following this chapter, only four more appeared before the comic strip morphed into Kreigh Collins’ final NEA feature, “Up Anchor!”

Oddly, the July 16 episode introducing the sequence is not labelled as “A True Story of Captain John Smith,” but the 14 comics that follow are. Perhaps adding the title was a late decision made by the NEA, and the fact that it is typeset, rather than hand-lettered, lends credence to the theory.

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Another familiar trope is the damselle in distress! Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

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Nearly all the original art for the final three years of KEVIN THE BOLD  is found in a collection at Syracuse University. The July 23 episode is an exception. (I found this image online).

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How Many Different Logos Were Featured in MITZI McCOY?

That question and more can be answered by picking up a copy of “The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy.” It features a wonderful introductory essay by Eisner Award-winner Frank M. Young and is available here.

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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.

The Dragon Ship

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A recent trip to Iceland (a country my blog has yet to have a visitor from) inspired me to run the following sequence, originally published 60 years ago, over the summer of 1958. The previous storyline transitions dramatically with an enormous and beautifully illustrated splash panel. (Sincere thanks to my friend in the Netherlands, Arnaud, who sent me scans of many of the comics I’ll be posting over the course of the next five weeks).

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Thord, an evil man from the east has caught the ear of the declining, yet venerable Erl Sor Nordick, and is scheming to steal everything the old man holds dear.

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It’s quite clear that Thord is the representation of evil incarnate, and an unusual graphic detail underlines this fact. Likely unintentional, in the bottom left panel of the episode above, a swastika is shown in the detailing on Thord’s left sleeve. In the next panel, the old man is dead. Fortunately, this evil will be countered by virtue, as Kevin the Bold’s arrival in Norway is imminent.

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Now available!

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Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: Mitzi McCoy. 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.”

The book also features an extensive introduction and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.


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

Fearless Girl

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Kevin has tricked Bouchard’s henchmen, but Jacques has a trick of his own—dirty, of course.

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Love has also caused Marie to act impetuously, and Paul’s father couldn’t help but notice.

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Paul and Marie are set for their happily ever after, and Kevin departs for England. But after crossing the English Channel, Kevin lands in hot water, and the comic transitions into a new sequence.


Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 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.”

The book also features an extensive introduction and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi cover final


 

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

Honorable Intent

Kevin, Marie, and Paul are all trying to do the right thing. But  in trying to protect the other, they are working at cross-purposes.

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Kevin stumbles across the heartbreaking sight of a distraught, beautiful woman and his primal instinct, to help those in need, kicks in. However, further complications arise when Paul’s father is introduced.

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Once Kevin fully grasps the situation, he takes matters into his own hands.

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Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 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.”

The book also features an extensive introduction and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi cover final


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

Rejected

Kevin’s new friend Paul Fortin proves that love is blind… in this case, to danger.

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After taking a punch in the previous week’s episode, Paul was left with a nasty black eye. Instructions for the colorists were left at the bottom of the original illustration, but unfortunately, I do not have any color examples of the above comic to show how the bruise was rendered. However, the comic below, with events from the same day, shows no evidence of Paul’s black eye (although Kevin mentions it in the dialog).

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Despite a beggar’s helpful tip, Jacques Boucher shows how ruthless he is—not a good sign for Paul. Making matters worse, Boucher is not the only one plotting against the young student.

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But worst of all (to Paul), he has now been rejected by the object of his desire.

(continued)


Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 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.”

The book also features an extensive introduction and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi cover final


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

Defending Her Honor

The following “Kevin the Bold” sequence, which began in late September 1963, seems to have been an attempt to relate to college-age readers of the funnies. It portrays the students’ 16th-century counterparts as being not so different from themselves. Quick to fall in love, idealistically standing up for their beliefs, and living like slobs—some things never change. (Except for the part about college kids reading newspapers).

Having just arrived in Paris, Kevin is attracted to its beauty and stumbles into a messy scene.

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Paul’s actions are based on emotions rather than logic, and he is headed toward danger to which he is blind. Luckily, his new friend Kevin is more worldly, and willing to help.

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(The sequence continues next week).

In commemoration of this blog’s third anniversary, I would like to thank all of its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


Now available for pre-order!

Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order for The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy. 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.”

The book also features an extensive introduction and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


 

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

 

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy

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Long in development and currently undergoing final edits, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be printed in September, 2018. This puts it on schedule to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the strip’s 1948 launch. In addition to the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first syndicated comic, “Mitzi McCoy,” the book also includes the opening sequence of the comic strip “Mitzi” evolved into, the better-known and longer-lasting “Kevin the Bold.”

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The book features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winning writer Frank M. Young. Collins’ early life and career are covered as well as the development of both “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold.” Previously unpublished photographs and artwork are included.

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be published by Lost Art Books, whose stated mission is to collect and preserve the works of illustrators and cartoonists from the first half of the 20th century. Previously published titles feature the work of Richard Thompson, Niso Ramponi, Ray Willner, and others.

For a limited time,The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be pre-ordered at a reduced price. Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order.

Future volumes of Kreigh Collins’ comics are planned. Stay tuned for further developments!


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