Timeless

While “Kevin the Bold” had a long run, it didn’t last forever. Its debut was in October, 1950, with its demise coming 18 years later. One can be forgiven for thinking its life was longer, as the history covered in the strip spanned nearly two centuries.

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Published in September, 1954: the sequence with evil Sarov was set in the year 1491.

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16 months later, Kevin was set in the year 1515, along with King Henry VIII.

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The final “Kevin” was implicitly dated as being the year 1668; when the comic morphed into “Up Anchor!,” a contemporary strip set in 1968.

Much of the action was the product of writer Kreigh Collins’ fertile imagination, but peppered through “Kevin” were historical figures and incidents that figured into the comic’s plot lines.

Previously, we’ve met Leonardo da Vinci, and in the following sequence (set in 1588, or 73 years after the episode with King Henry and 80 years before the finale), a couple of English notables are introduced. It picks up where the action in this previous sequence left off, with Maria, Glen, and Inky en route on a trans-Atlantic voyage.

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Kevin

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This photo shows two characters named Kevin.

A good chunk of my comics collection was given to me by my Uncle Kevin, and it has long been our hope to see Kreigh Collins’ comics published in book form.

Just released and available on Amazon.com, Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures, is a 154-page collection including all the comics published from September 5, 1954 to June 2, 1957. In their entirety are 14 different sequences with over 140 comics.

Kevin the Bold: Sunday Adventures features Kevin’s exploits on land and sea, from England to Italy to Eastern Europe. Villains include the evil Russian ruler Sarrov, whose plan to “Create disturbances in all Europe… thus we will grow stronger as others grow weak” resonates today. Also featured are Collins’ gorgeous landscapes, seascapes, beautiful damsels in distress, and dramatic action sequences.

Plans are afoot for other books featuring Kreigh Collins’ comics, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Happy Easter

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Easter Bunny, c. 1915

Growing up in an itinerant family, Kreigh Collins attended numerous schools in his childhood. This led to a degree of spottiness as far as his education was concerned, yet his artistic abilities would flourish. An only child, his mother saved much of his childhood schoolwork, which is fortunate due to the family’s frequent moves. This trove is in a special collection of the Grand Rapids Public Library, where Collins spent hundreds of hours doing research.

Happy Easter! Look for a special announcement next week.

Ending with a bang

Sorry, but… April Fools! The two Menomonee Falls Gazette comics from last week were fakes — they don’t exist. Here are the color half-pages for the final comics in this sequence.

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A crooked archer, Shark Donnelly wasn’t much better at swimming — posing as a sailor was a poor career choice. The fate he suffers is grim (and reminiscent of Captain Zinbad’s demise in Kevin’s first sequence).

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All that’s left is Clarissa and Ben’s reunion. As the sequence ends, it transitions to the next storyline, again involving romance.

MFG Rarities

Most of the comic strips in my collection were given to me by Kreigh Collins’ son Kevin. My windfall covered about half of my grandfather’s NEA work, printed in one form or another. I received my first large batch from Uncle Kevin in 2008, with other packages arriving later. Between these deliveries, I purchased other comics to fill holes in my collection.

Initially, I bought anything I could afford that I didn’t already have. I soon learned to ignore one-third page comics and focus on half-pagers. Among the printed samples I received from Uncle Kevin were different types of black-and-white proofs, as well as other BW versions. I paid little attention to these; I was focused on the color halves from the Chicago Tribune and the Detroit News.

As I began working my way through my grandfather’s old tearsheets, I learned more about what I had, and a couple things I’d overlooked became more interesting. Included were a few late copies of the Menomonee Falls Gazette. Since I had half-page versions from the Trib of basically all of the comics that ran in the Gazette, I saw little value in these black-and-white tabloid versions. Only lately did I realize that a couple of the Gazettes I had must be extremely rare. Furthermore, they help complete the sequence featuring Benjamin Defoe, Clarissa and Shark Donnelly.

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Following its customary two-month hiatus, issue #233 was dated June 4, 1978. The Gazette still had two sections, but they were now only 12 pages long. Kevin again appeared on the front page of the second section. The strip’s action picked up with Kevin and Clarissa in danger of being jumped by the bad guys while Ben DeFoe makes a desperate lunge aboard Heather. Hit by Shark Donnelly’s shot, Ben fails to get belowdecks but still manages to sew chaos.

Arriving another two months later, the comic in issue #234 was spectacular. Featuring a suspense-building device first proposed (but not used) by Collins for an old Mitzi McCoy comic, Donnelly and DeFoe are shown desperately swimming away from the tinderbox that is the Heather.

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Now THAT’S more like it, a fitting end to this tabloid’s run. The crisp black lines of the Gazette highlight the drama of this final scene. Needless to say, this comic also looks spectacular as a color half-page.