Serie magasinet 13

[Update: in my haste to figure out anything about the following comic, I originally misidentified it as Danish. It is, in fact, Swedish. My apologies! If you have any information on this comic book series, please feel free to leave a comment; the comments link is rather buried at the bottom of the post. Thank you].

Pratar du svenska??

FullSizeRender 17

I do not speak Swedish, but I wish I did. This comic book caught my eye with the mention of “MItzi McCoy” among its coverlines. Knowledge of Swedish would come in handy in comparing the dialog of the Mitzi comics it contained to the original English, as it originally appeared in late 1940s.

I had been aware of Kreigh Collins’ comics being reprinted for Australian markets, and also for Argentina. I’d even come across some Norwegian and Swedish comics. Usually these reprints all featured “Kevin the Bold.” But this one was a surprise, bringing Mitzi back nearly 30 years after the original Sunday comics ran.

Serie magasinet 13 runs 68 pages, with plenty of preliminary action before what is for me, the main event. Inside there are a couple sequences of “Dredger,” and one each of “Harry Chase,” “Kerry Drake,” and something called “Larm I Distrikt 94.” Forgive me, I no nothing about these comics. I suspect at least one is of Scandinavian origin, as a female character is shown without the clothing typical of mainstream American comics.

Starting on page 31 is the second sequence from “Mitzi McCoy”’. Its six comics were originally published from January to March in 1949. They show all of the strip’s main characters, and feature Stub Goodman’s Irish Wolfhound, Tiny, in his fist heroic role.

FullSizeRender 14

The comics are reproduced pretty much as they originally appeared as tabloids in the Sunday papers, with their throwaway panels omitted. The only real alteration I could spot is the artificial creation of the opening sequence’s splash panel (only the bottom half appeared in the original). Curious as to what “Valpen” meant, I learned it meant “the puppy.”

FullSizeRender 15

FullSizeRender 11

FullSizeRender 7.jpg

I was disappointed to see there was no translation evident of “Plutten,” Tiny’s name in the Swedish version of the comic (written on his doghouse).

FullSizeRender 20

FullSizeRender 16

FullSizeRender 10

The comics were reproduced from original proofs supplied by the NEA — it’s great to see Collins’ crisp black and white line work. Unfortunately, the whereabouts of these proofs at this time is unknown. Meanwhile, I’m trying to track down information on other Serie comic books.

Advertisements

Chasing Mitzi

When I first started collecting comics, I dreamed about putting together a book featuring “Kevin the Bold.” Being a graphic designer who worked in publishing, it didn’t seem too far-fetched. My Uncle Kevin had given me a large amount of my grandfather’s comics in 2011, and the question seemed to be what comics to use. I didn’t have the entire 18 year run, but I did have several years complete. The logical starting place for a serial like “Kevin” was its beginning, but my collection had some missing comics among the early ones. I didn’t get off to a flying start.

A year or so later, uncle Kevin sent me another massive package of Kreigh’s comics. Inside were hundreds of “Kevin the Bold”s, as well as the complete run of Collins’ earlier comic, “Mitzi McCoy.”  I’d heard about “Mitzi”, but had never seen any examples of the short-lived strip (it ran for less than two years). They comics were beautiful and fresh. Its run of 99 comics seemed like a manageable size to tackle in a first effort at publishing a book, so I switched gears.

MM 110748 72 cc wbg

Mitzi’s debut comic.

Unsure how to proceed, I got to work thinking I’d figure it out as I went along. I started scanning my “Mitzi”s. Although it was a time consuming task with my ancient Microtek tabloid scanner, in retrospect, it was the easiest part of the process.

9800XL

Every time I switch it on, I pray that its lamp hasn’t burned out.

Nearly three years ago, while scouring the internet for information on “Mitzi,” I came across an essay with a ton of information on the strip, much of which was new to me. I began corresponding with the essay’s author, and soon enough we had a loose agreement for him to write the introduction to the book.

The next progress was reconnecting with a publisher  with whom I had discussed the possibility of doing a “Kevin” book. He showed interest in “Mitzi,” and the project gained momentum.

I started color correcting and retouching my comics in earnest, and I soon realized a major problem with my book was that for some of the comics, I only had one-third page versions. The bulk of my comics were half-pages (from the Indianapolis Times or the Pittsburgh Press), and others were tabloids or half-tabloids (New York Mirror).

MM 061249 TH 150 QCC

It’s so sad to see this comic cropped and squeezed into a one-third page format!

Two years ago I paid my first visit to the Grand Rapids Public Library. Its Local History department has a fantastic collection of Kreigh Collins’ illustrations and papers, with numerous original comic illustrations, including many original “Mitzi McCoy”s. Several of these originals were comics I had the inferior one-third page versions of, so I was getting closer to my goal of upgrading my lesser comics. Shortly afterward, I realized my prospective publisher had several more larger versions, and my list of inferior comics was down to six.

IMG_2875

Even though I live 800 miles away, the librarians are starting to recognize me (I’ve now made the trip three times).

Unfortunately, progress slowed during the next year and I wondered if I would ever find the elusive comics, or even get the book finished (and published). I’d been looking high and low, with occasional eBay purchases from sellers as far away as Switzerland.

However, my persistence paid off, and last month I found the last six comics I needed at a single source — a comic book shop 12 miles away from my house. The comics cost a bit more than I wanted to spend, as they were each part of intact New York Sunday Mirror comic sections. But being able to seal the deal made me willing to splurge.

NY Mirror comic sections

Eureka! (But they cost more than 10 cents each).

Amazingly, the shop employee that sold me the comics was as much of a site for sore eyes as the comics themselves. I wondered if these comics had been lurking in Moonachie, NJ all along, but Shannon told me they’d been acquired relatively recently, at last year’s Baltimore Comic-Con.

20156065_1078529638949806_7694219993147927146_n

Shannon wasn’t in costume when she made the sale, but she was sweet as she is pretty.

The lesson I learned was to always follow your dreams.

 

 

Christmas in July, Part 3

My guess is that the tales featured in the three-week “Legends of Christmas” comic strip were stories Kreigh Collins had come across during his extensive historical research. The first week’s comic were unusual, and did not really hang together, but they certainly presented a view of Christmas that is completely absent today.

The longer story of Peter that ran over the strip’s final two weeks has better continuity, but is still quite unusual. While it may be a story Collins came across in his research, I wonder how much of it was his own. Like Peter, Kreigh was an only child; both were extremely devoted to their mother. Kreigh’s father worked as a construction engineer, and while he often moved his family with him as his work took to various parts of the United States, at other times he was away from home an extended period (like Peter’s father).

20Dec1965 qcc

21Dec1965 qcc22Dec1965 qcc23Dec1965 qcc24Dec1965 qcc

I have never seen printed examples of this comic. While the quality of these comics is not so great, at least they all have been preserved digitally. Season’s greetings — only 113 shopping days ’til Christmas!

Christmas in July, part 2

The second week of Kreigh Collins’ daily “Legends of Christmas” comic featured an easier-to-follow legend. It starred Peter, a young boy trying to care for his ailing mother while his father was away.

Speaking of legends, joining the bastions of journalism that appeared last week (The Manhattan Mercury, Hazleton Standard-Speaker and Terre Haute Star) is the one and only Kingston Daily Freeman.

13Dec1965 qcc14Dec1965 qcc15Dec1965 qcc16Dec1965 qcc17Dec1965 qcc18Dec1965 qcc

The medicine Peter brought his mother worked wonders — she looks radiant!

Christmas in July

Kreigh Collins’ comics were familiar to readers of Sunday funnies, and periodically there were discussions with his bosses at the Newspaper Enterprise Association about changing “Mitzi McCoy” or “Kevin the Bold” into a daily. Although these plans never came to fruition, in 1965 Collins illustrated a short-lived seasonal daily for the NEA called “Legends of Christmas.”

04Dec1965 qcc

Running in various small-market papers that were typical for the NEA, the “Legends of Christmas” comics are rather curious, and despite their yuletide theme, there was room to squeeze in a little anti-Soviet Cold War-era commentary (December 8). Take thatBrezhnev!

A tip of the cap to Alec Stevens of Calvary Comics for sending these comics my way!

06Dec1965 qcc07Dec1965 qcc08Dec1965 qcc09Dec1965 qcc10Dec1965 qcc11Dec1965 qcc