Joining the Troupe

Unaware that Torre Hemlar has followed them to England, the mood lightens as Kevin and Rupert become acquainted with their new friends, play actors.

These richly-printed episodes, from the Chicago Tribune, feature wonderful illustrations and great dialog. I especially like Barto’s line from the second panel about mistaking appearance for reality. The throwaway panels add educational diagrams and charming snapshots of the episodes’ ladies.

KTB 011153 HF 150 QCC

A sudden threat interrupts Kevin and Rupert’s afternoon and Kevin quickly takes evasive action; Torre Hemlar thinks he’s set a trap.

KTB 011853 HF 150 QCC

Hidden in plain sight, the ruse worked, and the troupe of actors moves on.

KTB 012553 HF 150 QCC

Believing he owes him his life, Barto bravely steps in front of an arrow meant for Kevin. With what appears to be a mortal wound, the actor utters his final dramatic words. Coldly, Barto prepares to strike again.


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. 

KTB TC No. 24 C2-01.JPG

KTB TC No. 24 02-03.JPG

ktb tc no. 24 04-05ktb tc no. 24 06-07ktb tc no. 24 08-09ktb tc no. 24 10-11ktb tc no. 24 12-13

(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.

ktb tc no. 24 c4


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

The Christmas Story, Continued

While recycling the 1949 version of the Christmas Story comics, usually only one or two panels had to be recreated, as above. The following comic required a bit more work—nearly half the panels were new (Nos. 1, 3, 5 & 10).

Because Art Sansom, who did the lettering for both the original “Mitzi McCoy”-era version and this new one was still working for NEA, any text changes would go unnoticed. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dig up any relevant information on “Bielefeld Studios,” although it is the name of a television broadcasting operation in northwestern Germany. Somehow I think these comics were prepared for a different entity.

While some new panels were created for the 1953 version, these “throwaway panels” were lost when the comics were reformatted into tabloids.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! (Or, as they say in Bielefeld, Fröhliche Weihnachten!)

___________________________________________________________

Speaking of Christmas…

Mitzi cover final

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy is available here, and can be shipped to international locations (including Bielefeld, Germany). 


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

One Man’s Trash

Throway panels 1950s 72 Gals

“Throwaway Panels” — such an unfortunate term for these wonderful little illustrations. Deleted in order to squeeze and rearrange a half-page comic into a tabloid format, they were usually somewhat incidental to the action. In “Kevin,” they often showed damsels — in distress, or otherwise.

Other options included villains, exclamations, or random bits of scenery. Kevin himself also made frequent appearances in this panel.

Throway panels 1950s 72 Thugs  Throway panels 1950s 72 exclamations

Throway panels 1950s 72 nice illo

After seeing enough of these, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Lotería, a Mexican game of chance similar to Bingo. With the strip having a presence in Latin America (“Kevin el Denodado”), I think the NEA missed a marketing opportunity!

loteria sets

kevin el denodado 72