The Intracoastal

Generally, Kreigh Collins scripted all of his comics. “Up Anchor!” is narrated by wife Jane Marlin, and in fact, Kreigh’s wife Theresa (Teddy) collaborated on the writing and plot development of the strip.

Following the storm, the family is reunited, and repair work begins. Jane Marlin’s comment in the fifth panel (about never lacking things to tell her grandchildren) is something that resonates with me personally. Late in her life she shared an oral history about her life with my grandfather, and the document is a fascinating read about their history together.

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The hurricane sequence transitions into a new story, and a new character is introduced. Although disabled, Tim proves to be more than capable as he gets a taste of his passion, boating.

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Hurricane Hole

Much of the action in “Up Anchor!” was based on events experienced by Kreigh Collins and his family as they sailed aboard their 45-foot schooner, Heather. Artistic license was exercised — I doubt they encountered any hurricanes sailing north in late-spring of 1960. The following two sequences are based on this voyage.

These images come from Kreigh’s original illustrations, many of which are now in the collection of the Grand Rapids Public Library. The originals feature the topper strip “Water Lore,” which would periodically reflect the action in the main strip. When the comic appeared in broadsheet papers, it generally ran as a one-third page, and the topper was omitted. However, in tabloids, the topper would appear (although without its second panel, which served as a throwaway).

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As the storm hits, Kevin and Jane Marlin realize that part of their crew is missing — younger son Dave has disappeared. In real life, Kreigh’s sons Erik and David were only two years apart, but in the comic the age difference is greater. This change helps differentiate them in the strip, and as Kevin heads out in search of the young boy, Erik helps by having already water-proofed a walky-talky. (As Erik’s son, I especially appreciate seeing this character’s smart moves).

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A Bitter Enemy

In search of their prey, Kevin and Moab split up. While Kevin stays with their horses, Moab is startled by a pair of dangerous-looking foes.

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Moab is able to persuade his would-be killer to show him a different type of mercy than she had intended, but unconscious, he is soon confronted by another bitter enemy.

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The backstory is revealed as Kevin faces off against the cave bear, without the benefit of Dr. Claustus’ clever strategy.

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The sequence wraps up neatly, despite the fact that several more cave bears survive. And as usual, further danger awaits.

A Plan of Attack

Longing for a quiet life in Ireland, and a reunion with Moya McCoy, Kevin and Brett instead journey eastward in an attempt to help Moab and his tribe battle their weird ursine enemy.

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En route, they encounter an old friend of Kevin’s, Dr. Claustus. Hearing of Moab and Kevin’s plan against the bears, the old scientist has a couple of solid suggestions. As far as dealing with the bear’s mysterious mistress, Dr. Claustus’ advice is less concrete, but rather witty.

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Meanwhile, the situation worsens dramatically for Moab’s tribe — he and Kevin are too late to save another victim from the fearsome Cave Bears.

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