Rejected

Kevin’s new friend Paul Fortin proves that love is blind… in this case, to danger.

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After taking a punch in the previous week’s episode, Paul was left with a nasty black eye. Instructions for the colorists were left at the bottom of the original illustration, but unfortunately, I do not have any color examples of the above comic to show how the bruise was rendered. However, the comic below, with events from the same day, shows no evidence of Paul’s black eye (although Kevin mentions it in the dialog).

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Despite a beggar’s helpful tip, Jacques Boucher shows how ruthless he is—not a good sign for Paul. Making matters worse, Boucher is not the only one plotting against the young student.

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But worst of all (to Paul), he has now been rejected by the object of his desire.

(continued)


Now available for pre-order!

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The book also features an extensive introduction and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi cover final


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

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Defending Her Honor

The following “Kevin the Bold” sequence, which began in late September 1963, seems to have been an attempt to relate to college-age readers of the funnies. It portrays the students’ 16th-century counterparts as being not so different from themselves. Quick to fall in love, idealistically standing up for their beliefs, and living like slobs—some things never change. (Except for the part about college kids reading newspapers).

Having just arrived in Paris, Kevin is attracted to its beauty and stumbles into a messy scene.

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Paul’s actions are based on emotions rather than logic, and he is headed toward danger to which he is blind. Luckily, his new friend Kevin is more worldly, and willing to help.

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(The sequence continues next week).

In commemoration of this blog’s third anniversary, I would like to thank all of its readers for their continued interest in my grandfather’s comics career.


Now available for pre-order!

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 and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150


 

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

 

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy

Mitzi book edit art

Long in development and currently undergoing final edits, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be printed in September, 2018. This puts it on schedule to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the strip’s 1948 launch. In addition to the entire run of Kreigh Collins’ first syndicated comic, “Mitzi McCoy,” the book also includes the opening sequence of the comic strip “Mitzi” evolved into, the better-known and longer-lasting “Kevin the Bold.”

Mitzi McCoy Cover 150

The book features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award-winning writer Frank M. Young. Collins’ early life and career are covered as well as the development of both “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold.” Previously unpublished photographs and artwork are included.

The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy will be published by Lost Art Books, whose stated mission is to collect and preserve the works of illustrators and cartoonists from the first half of the 20th century. Previously published titles feature the work of Richard Thompson, Niso Ramponi, Ray Willner, and others.

For a limited time,The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be pro-ordered at a reduced price. Visit the Lost Art Books website to place your order.

Future volumes of Kreigh Collins’ comics are planned. Stay tuned for further developments!


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

Turnabout

Unfortunately for Kevin, the Grand Vizier is not only cruel, but also creative. As Kevin faces an excruciating painful death, he still refuses to talk.

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Early-1950s examples of Kevin the Bold episodes from the Chicago Tribune have wonderful color reproduction and especially vivid colors, and make for fantastic-looking comics. However, there seems to be another factor influencing the appearance of these beauties, which is only readily apparent upon seeing the original comic artwork.

The Grand Rapids Public Library has a substantial number of Collins’ original comics illustrations, but there are relatively few examples of Kevin in their collection. They have about 41 of the 99 original Mitzi McCoy comics, at least 73 of 174 Up Anchor! comics, but only about 19 of the approximately 944 Kevin the Bold originals. However, one of the episodes that is there is the July 15, 1951 episode, shown above (and below).

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Looking at the original artwork, notice that some of the lines were drawn in a lighter color—I’d guess Collins watered down his India ink slightly. This causes the illustrations to have a softer appearance, and gives them a quality of atmospheric perspective (most notable in the first panel). The Grand Rapids Public Library’s collection of Kreigh Collins’ works is accessible to the public. If you’re in West Michigan, I strongly recommend a visit to the Library’s Local History Department.

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While things looked especially grim for Kevin, the Grand Vizier made the classic bad guy mistake of planning an overly elaborate and exotic death for his nemesis. As Kevin bolts and leaps to his freedom, the region is freed of a sadistic tyrant.

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As Stub and Patch devise a way to return and save Kevin, the sequence ends with a chance encounter off the coast of Morocco—another beautiful, cinematic episode.


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

Run Sadea! Run!

Kevin seems to have met his match as far as loyalty is concerned, as he and Sadea formulate an escape plan. One can imagine the pangs of jealousy Moya McCoy would feel if she could only see Kevin now.

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My collection of comics grew incrementally, over a period of years. The following comic was an early acquisition; at the time, it was the only one from this sequence that I owned. It was very compelling, yet mysterious. Its tenth panel contained a 1951 NEA copyright, but it lacked an inked-in date anywhere else. This was common for “Kevin the Bold” episodes of the era, but unlike most Chicago Tribune examples, this one wasn’t situated at the top of the comics page. This meant there was no typeset date to prevent any confusion (and there were no clues on the reverse side, either). It wasn’t until years later when I obtained the other comics from the sequence that and I was able to place it in time.

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As the plot twists, and the momentum shifts, Kevin’s prospects fade. Despite the reliable Patch joining forces with Sadea, things look grim.


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

Acts of Valor

At the palace, Sadea awaits her fate, while Kevin and Stub sweat their own, aboard the commandeered caravel.

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Once again, the timing of Patch’s heroism is perfect. But how had he survived?

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After a full day’s sail, Kevin, Stub, and Patch reach Morocco. While Sadea shows her determination against the Grand Vizier, Kevin shows his own, as he sets off. After all, he had promised the Count de Falcon that he would rescue Sadea, his missing sister.

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Splendor, action, humor, and terror—the June 10, 1951 comic is another showstopper. Each panel is absolutely wondrous.

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With a birds-eye view of the courtyard (reminiscent of an old “Mitzi McCoy” setup), Kevin’s quick thinking allows him to subdue two palace assassins, and he introduces himself to the lovely Sadea. So far, so good, but the two are not yet out of the woods.


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

Villainy

As a villain, Red Heels has the usual traits—he is coldhearted and ruthless. Like the baddies in Kevin’s inaugural sequence, he is another bloodthirsty Arab pirate. But he’s no stereotype. What makes Red Heels stand out is his effeminacy. Small in stature (in panel 1, he seems to be wearing heels), he also sports oversized headwear which has the dual purpose of making him appear larger and supplying shock value. Despite these illusions, he comes up short compared to other villains…

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The outstretched hand of the drowning man (fourth panel) was a device that Collins had used before. It appeared in throwaway panels in Kevin’s earlier encounter with the Arab pirates and in another sequence from 1952. Nonetheless, its poignancy remained as shorthand for a gruesome death. All of the men injured in the battle—on both sides—were destined to suffer the same fate, including Koko’s master, Patch.

 

Back in Morocco, things take a turn for Sadea.

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Learning of Frau de Boer’s life, Sadea begins to reveal her own story. No doubt many readers approved of her costuming and poses.

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The embodiment of evil with a countenance to match, the Grand Vizier beseeches Sadea to do his bidding once again. Emboldened by Frau de Boer’s tale, she successfully resists his attempt at hypnosis, imperiling her own future.


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

La Ragazza Stregata

The story continues with an amazing mélange of sensuality, occult, horror, and humor — despite the terrifying spectacle of the Moorish pirates. Aboard the caravel, Koko and Kevin both tease poor Stub, but it’s all in good fun, as the crew bonds tightly.

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Kreigh Collins’ dialog is hysterical, and the episode is packed with nautical terminology likely not seen in any other comic. With a reference to the galley “sweeping” toward the Genoese ship, a casual reader would generally understand what was happening, but would lose the nuance of the phrase. Unlike a traditional rowboat, which a single person moves by “sculling” with two oars, the pirates’ galley is propelled by numerous oarsmen, each pulling a single oar, or “sweeping” (like eight-man racing boats seen competing in regattas).

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These guys “swept” past virtually all of their competition last year. (Don’t tell my son, the oarsman at the far left, that I used a picture of his crew on my blog!)

Crews that sweep have a coxswain — they are in charge of the boat, and determine its stroke rate (the cox is seated at the back of the boat, above). Similarly, the Sea Hawk utilized a drummer to pound out a beat for its rowers to follow. Like a cox for a crew shell, the drummer was critical to keeping the Sea Hawk’s rowers in sync, and thus moving most quickly. Knowing this, and being an archery master, Kevin takes aim.

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Patch is all too familiar with the Sea Hawk, and its captain, Red Heels. Despite Kevin’s incredible shot, and a timely gust of wind, the pirates board the caravel and a fierce battle ensues.

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While Patch gallantly saves Kevin, and Koko rescues Stub, it should come as no surprise that it is Kevin who proves to be bravest of all.


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

Bewitched

KTB 031851 HA 150 qccThe March 18, 1951“Kevin the Bold” comic is packed with backstory. Kreigh Collins was known to haunt libraries while researching his subjects, but in this case, much of the context was observed firsthand. As a young man, Collins had spent time drawing and painting in northwest Africa. In the spring of 1928, he had crossed the Atlantic aboard a freighter with an early mentor, noted painter Mathias Alten. The first stop was Morocco; their departure for France was a couple weeks off. No doubt this experience came in handy when Collins scripted and drew the episodes for the next eighteen weeks.

Kevin hears the strange tale told by an English sailor, Patch, about an entranced blonde woman who whips Moorish pirates into a frenzy with her words and antics. Also introduced is Koko, Patch’s adorable and mischievous simian companion.

Thinking the strange enchantress could be the woman DeFalcon seeks, Kevin introduces Patch to the convalescing Count.

KTB 032551 HA CST 150 qcc.jpgSkeptical DeFalcon doesn’t understand, but Kevin wants to hear more. He does, as the April 1 comic’s events are as vivid as its Chicago Sunday Tribune printing.

KTB 040151 HA 150 qcc.jpgAs Kevin prepares to set off on his next fantastic adventure, he witnesses another fierce scene — a piqued Moya McCoy, jealously storming off astride his own horse. Despite the embarrassment he felt over her scene, Lord McCoy comforts his distraught daughter, Moya. As Kevin and Stub recognize one of their ship’s crewmates, danger is sighted ahead.

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

The Search for Sadea

Not long after launching “Mitzi McCoy,” Kreigh Collins began to tire of the strip’s setup, a contemporary comic with a female lead. With his background in historical subjects and costume illustration, he longed to do a “cloak and sword” feature more in line with his interests. So when “Mitzi” abruptly morphed into “Kevin the Bold,” Collins was more than ready with ideas for Kevin’s initial adventures. The following sequence, Kevin’s third, is absolutely loaded: beautiful illustrations, fascinating characters, stunning locations, and action. There is drama, humor, and blossoming romance. It also defines Kevin’s raison d’être.

In the climax of the previous sequence, Kevin faced (and defeated) the formidable Count De Falcon — in mortal combat. By tournament rules, Kevin won the Count’s horse, sword, and armor. Revealing his character, Kevin spared his opponent’s life, and let him keep his sword and armor. And not only that…

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Kevin’s beef with De Falcon arose from the belief that the Count had mistreated his horse. After discovering this to be untrue, and learning what brought De Falcon to Ireland in the first place, Kevin discovers his next challenge.

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After learning more about the mysterious, brave man who had first saved her family, and then treated his vanquished foe so kindly, Moya begins to fall for Kevin. Because of his credo, she learns that she must wait. Surely she won’t mind that the woman Kevin is determined to rescue is a beautiful blonde…


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