Brett the Bold

After thirteen plus years of writing the continuity for “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold,” Kreigh Collins was either a bit burned out or looking to free up time to pursue other projects. In any event, starting in mid-1961 and lasting for slightly over a year, Kevin’s adventures were dreamed up by NEA staff writer Jay Heavilin.

When I started collecting my grandfathers’ comics, I paid less attention to Jay Heavilin’s sequences because they weren’t Collins’ own brainchild (to use Kreigh’s phrasing). On more recent reflection, I notice these comics contain some fine illustrations even if the action is slightly out of character—e.g., Kevin attempting to visit his sickly mother, as shown in the December 17, 1961 comic that ran last week. (My theory on that episode: an excuse to introduce a gypsy woman who resembled Moya McCoy, who hadn’t appeared in the strip for over six years. Moya’s absence can be explained by the fact that she was the only woman Kevin ever loved, and removing her from the story helped ensure that our hero would never settle down, and would keep on moving.)

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August 15, 1954

Of note, Moya’s very last appearance (as far as I know) also involves a fortune teller.

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August 29, 1954

Now, back to our current sequence… where Kevin’s situation takes take a sudden turn for the worse.

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Brett’s well-aimed dagger saves the day, but as the ship’s provisions dwindle, so does their time.

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Mitzi book update!

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After receiving a few inquiries as to where the book they’d ordered was, I heard today from someone who said they’d finally received their copy! My apologies for the delay, and I hope you think it was worth the wait. November 7 was the 70th anniversary of the comic strip’s debut.

For those who haven’t ordered it yet, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found at the Lost Art Books website. 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 The book also features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award winner Frank M. Young and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.


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

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Bound for the New World

As a young lad, I recall sitting in my grandfather’s studio and poring over stacks of comics—bound copies of the “NEA Daily and Sunday Comics.” At some point after my grandfather died, the covers (conveniently featuring “Kevin the Bold”) were cut off and the rest discarded. It’s a shame so much was lost, but I’m lucky to possess what remains.

The prominent date at the top of the page was the Monday of that issue’s week, and the publication contained the six daily comics (plus a Sunday comic, in some cases) for a given NEA strip. Since “Kevin the Bold” was a Sunday, these publications only featured one comic, whose publication date would be six days after the date shown for each issue.

The year is 1520, and the following sequence starts with Brett trying to sign onto a Portuguese ship headed for the New World. The ship is being financed by King Henry, and because he has heard bad news about its crew, he calls on an old friend to keep an eye on things.

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Shockingly, Kevin, an agent to the King, is about to refuse his request.

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According to Kevin’s back story, he was an orphan and knew nothing of his parents, so the the action at the beginning of this sequence is quite unexpected (and is abandoned abruptly). Kevin and Brett soon are reunited and about to set off on another adventure.

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As for those stacks of comics in my grandfather’s studio, it appears a young reader was inspired by the publication’s masthead to try his hand at cursive writing. The culprit was likely myself, my brother, or one of my cousins.

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 picked him up. At the age of 15, Keviin 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 an armed man, 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.

Hand to hand combat

A recent trip to Iceland inspired me to run the accompanying “Dragon Ship” sequence, set in Norway. I’ll vouch for the coldness of the North Atlantic (though I was not “bold” enough to wade in deeper than my ankles).

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The illustration of underwater swimming in the final panel is evocative of a decade-old Mitzi McCoy comic and plot device, that of finding a hidden cave with an air pocket.

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August 7, 1949

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As in the mid-1949 Mitzi McCoy sequence, a cave is found with an air pocket. It allows Kevin to escape the frigid water, albeit briefly. Meanwhile, as Thord’s men squabble, Kevin seizes his opportunity.

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Besides being a rather gruesome conclusion to a compelling storyline, the August 31, 1958 episode is notable for a couple of other reasons, among them a continuity problem. When Thord and Kevin resurface in the second panel, some stones are visible in the foreground, to Thord’s right. In the next panel, Thord gives Kevin a stiff-arm as he lunges for the stones to his left. The throwaway panel then shows a closeup of a stone in Thord’s left hand, but the following panel shows the stone in Thord’s right hand, as he’s about to strike at Kevin.

Also of note is the introduction of the character Pedro in the final transitional panels. A large and recurring character, Pedro was by Kevin’s side for many of his adventures over the final decade of Kevin the Bold’s run. No doubt he was a favorite of Collins, as a very similar Pedro character played a prominent role in Kreigh Collins’ third and final NEA feature, Up Anchor!


Mitzi book update!

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Fulfillment of book orders should start by early next week. My apologies for the publisher’s delay in shipping books that have been ordered.

That said, the book (The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy) can be found at the Lost Art Books website, and the last time I checked, it was still available for its reduced, pre-order sale price. 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.


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

The Funeral Ship

Freshly awoken from being knocked out, Kevin and Freya race to water’s edge only to see Thord sailing away on Sor Nordick’s dragon boat, repurposed as the Erl’s funeral ship.

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After discovering that Thord intended to steal the venerable old man’s treasure (instead of following custom and letting it sink with the burning boat), Kevin and Freya set off in an attempt to thward Thord’s plans.

[Now about those “unscrupulous” Jesicks. Reading through these comics, that name rang a bell for me, and I realized where it likely came from. Notably, Kreigh Collins was an avid sailor, and for many years he docked his boat at a marina on Lake Macatawa, Michigan. The marina? Jesick’s Boat Yard. I suspect that the choice of names Collins gave to Thord’s lackeys was in fun, and not indicative of any malice toward the owners of his longtime marina. It sounds Polish to me, but perhaps Jesick is a Norwegian name?]

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An unforeseen bugaboo in the evil man’s plans dooms them, but while Kevin strides off to for a better view,  Freya herself is not out of the woods yet.

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

Playing Possum

Smelling a rat, Kevin lingers to see what sort of plan is afoot. Thord quickly schemes to get Kevin out of his way, but as usual, the Irishman is one step ahead of his foe.

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Pretending he has passed out from too much drink, Kevin leaps at an opportunity to search for Freya. Bound and vulnerable, Freya doesn’t know who her rescuer is, but she appears to like what she sees. Kevin hastens her away in the nick of time. Thord, with the menacing prow of the dragon ship looming over his shoulder, sets off to grab Freya.

Instead, he finds Kevin, and becomes enraged. Luckily, Freya is not only beautiful, but quick thinking and surprisingly strong.

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The July 20 episode is one of a few from 1958 for which I don’t have a half-page example. I’m fortunate to have a crisp black and white proof, and it reveals all the cropping that took place when one-third-page versions were created. Some nice details are lost, such as the fuller illustration of the house in the final panel, but the comparison also shows that Kreigh Collins had learned to deal with the inevitability of the third-pages. Several of the wider panels’ sides are rather empty, and ready to be sacrificed for the truncated version. Interestingly, the penultimate panel has been extended upward, with the caption moving up and over, so the overall width can be reduced without obscuring the fetching Freya’s face.

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Now available!

Mitzi cover final

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 by Eisner Award winner Frank M. Young and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.


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

Funerary Preparations

After learning that her great uncle has died, Freya realizes exactly how vulnerable she is.

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Help is on its way, but not soon enough—the ship delivering Kevin is becalmed in the fjord.

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In an episode featuring beautifully rendered ships, Kevin learns the fate of the old man he had traveled so far to meet. What he doesn’t know are the circumstances in which the lovely Freya finds herself—bound, gagged, and close to panic.

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Kevin’s suspicions aroused, he brushes off the suggestion that he presence isn’t welcome, and defiantly stands up to Thord. The danger passes, yet Kevin suspects more trouble ahead.


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!

Mitzi cover final

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.

The Sword of Courage

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I recently acquired an “Australian Edition” Atlas comic on eBay, No. 11, shown above. It is in rather rough shape; nonetheless, I was thrilled to win the auction. It contains a storyline where Kevin takes young Prince Rupert under his wing, and makes a man of him. (A previous post about Kevin’s appearances in Atlas comics can be found here.)

Not all of the comics’ dates are still included with the artwork, but at least half of them still appear. The comics included in Atlas No. 11 originally ran in Sunday comics sections from October 26, 1952 through February 22, 1953. In the story, Kevin and Brett arrive in Lutenburg, a city recently rebuilt after a disasterous fire. The rebuild was funded by Kevin’s ward Brett, who had donated his family fortune—once it was recovered. (The back story on Brett’s family fortune ran in a series of posts starting here).

Meanwhile, in Lutenburg, the orphaned Prince Rupert is under the thumb of a controlling and evil Regent.

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I used to get annoyed to find advertisements inside these comics, I wanted to see more of my grandfather’s artwork! But I soon realized that these ads were quite charming timepieces.

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The “double decker” panel from the comic on page 18 provided the issue’s cover artwork, but as was typical with Atlas, it was edited—the cover shows villain Torre Hemlar shakily fumbling his sword, whereas in the original comic, it was still sheathed.

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The sequence draws to a close (more or less), leaving three pages for Atlas to fill the 24-page self-cover comic book. The material chosen, “Mary Mixup” seems to be an odd selection to pair with “Kevin,” with its titular female lead. I had been previously unaware of this comic, but learned it was drawn by Robert Moore Brinkerhoff, ran from 1917 until 1956 (!), and was originally called “Little Mary Mixup.” (Over the course of its run, Mary aged somewhat, and at some point the strip’s title may have been abbreviated). Based on the automobiles shown in the comic, I’d guess these dailies date to the early 1940s.


Now available!

Mitzi cover final

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.

Kevin Neustrasivi

What I find most enjoyable about sharing my grandfather’s comics on this blog are the connections I have made with far-flung readers across the world, and discovering the different languages my grandfather’s comics have been translated into.

The following comics were sent to me by my friend in Serbia, Marko Davidovic. They appeared in a comic book called Veseli Zabavnik. Because I cannot read Serbian, I rely on an online translator, and it yields some peculier results.

The first two pages originally were published in 1952, on April 27 and May 4. Because of the way the episodes were broken up on the comic book’s pages, the May 4 episode is incomplete. The original versions are below.

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Above, Kevin Neustrasivi translates to “Kevin Frustrating,” and below, Osveta Plave Zatocenice translates to “The revenge of a blue prisoner.” What is also interesting is that the artist’s name was listed as “Krejg Kolinsa.”

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The next comics originally ran in August, 1952. The typeset text at the bottom of the first page translates as “from the next issue of new episodes.”

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I refer to this sequence as “The Dragon,” but according to my translator, it is “Flame and Zmai.” I think I’m missing something. The original comics are below.


Now available for pre-order!

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..

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