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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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?
A while back, for episodes that I lacked color half page examples, a reader suggested combining third page episodes with BW half pages. The results for July 10 are pretty nice. (Thanks for the suggestion, Gregorio!)
To create its third page versions, NEA staff artists cropped panels left and right, extended art vertically on occasion, and repositioned speech balloons were as needed. An exception to this method is found in the final panel, above, where Pedro’s position in the Thames was shifted to the immediate foreground of the Falcon.
Kevin is AWOL and Pedro has abandoned ship, leaving Brett to fend for himself—aboard the Falcon, which is about to leave port. With Kevin as his mentor, hopefully the lad will use good judgement.
Pedro’s appetite leads him straight to the riverfront home where Kevin is being held—but Brett is still on his own.
Unfortunately, my third page episode for July 24 was torn and taped together, discoloring the page in a couple spots. And perhaps the third pages mesh better with black and white half pages better than with black and white bromides. Meanwhile, in the episode above, what Brett had done to sabotage the Falcon wasn’t exactly clear. Quick checks on the definitions of top hamper and main brace were helpful—Brett cut the line holding the ship’s uppermost rigging in place, causing a mess. (I wonder how many comic strips inspire readers to look up definitions? Some people might find it tedious, but I love the educational aspect of KEVIN THE BOLD).