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The book also features an extensive introduction by Eisner Award winner Frank M. Young and previously unpublished artwork and photographs.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.

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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!

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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.

Fearless Girl

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Kevin has tricked Bouchard’s henchmen, but Jacques has a trick of his own—dirty, of course.

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Love has also caused Marie to act impetuously, and Paul’s father couldn’t help but notice.

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Paul and Marie are set for their happily ever after, and Kevin departs for England. But after crossing the English Channel, Kevin lands in hot water, and the comic transitions into a new sequence.


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.

Honorable Intent

Kevin, Marie, and Paul are all trying to do the right thing. But  in trying to protect the other, they are working at cross-purposes.

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Kevin stumbles across the heartbreaking sight of a distraught, beautiful woman and his primal instinct, to help those in need, kicks in. However, further complications arise when Paul’s father is introduced.

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Once Kevin fully grasps the situation, he takes matters into his own hands.

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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.

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.

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.

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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

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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.”

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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.

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.

Happy Easter

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Unfortunately, I have never seen the remaining comics in the “Jesus in Jerusalem” series. This year, Easter falls on April Fool’s Day, and my apologies if this seems like a(nother) prank — last year, I had a little fun. Since the Easter story is so well-known, I hope the illustration above will be an acceptable stand-in for the missing Bible Stories Comics. The “Jesus in Jerusalem” series had perhaps nine more episodes before the action switched back to the Old Testament, and a series about Moses began, which ran over the course of an entire year (Wow! How long was he lost in the desert?!)

The Bible Stories Comics I have seen came from two sources — the Kreigh Collins collection in the Grand Rapids Public Library, and my Uncle Kevin’s collection of his father’s artwork. However, I know of another person with access to these comics, reportedly the entire series! The plan is that his company will publish the “Mitzi McCoy” book, and then issue a second volume on the “Lost Art of Kreigh Collins” featuring the Bible Stories Comics. Please stay tuned!


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

 

Fan Mail

Over the course of his 24-year career illustrating comics for NEA, Kreigh Collins received quite a bit of fan mail. No doubt it was flattering for Collins to read, but the real benefit was more tangible. Fan mail indicated engaged readers, and led to better treatment from the newspapers running the comics—more desirable placement in the comics section, and less chance of running in the unflattering one-third page version. When letters arrived at the NEA offices, staffers wrote back, thanking them, but suggesting they send praise directly to their local paper.

During the “Mitzi McCoy” era, Stub Goodman’s dog Tiny was the inspiration for much of the positive reader response. Tiny was an enormous Irish Wolfhound, and became the favorite of many, especially members of the Irish Wolfhound Club of America. Initially, these letters were encouraged—Lynn thought he could mobilize an enthusiastic base in a letter-writing campaign to help boost “Mitzi” ’s profile. Soon, however, it was decided the amount of energy spent catering to the wolfhound aficionados outweighed any benefit they provided.

 

After the successful debut of “Kevin the Bold,” one letter writer wondered (correctly) if the the comic strip was created by the same Kreigh Collins he had known who did illustration work for Chicago ad agencies in the early 1930s. (After all, my grandfather wasn’t the only one with that unusual name).

What other letters often had in common, besides praise, was a request. Would Mr. Collins please sent an autographed photo? Could he please send a drawing of Tiny/Mitzi/Kevin? Or would he be able to send a piece of original artwork?

Collins was happy to oblige. In his era, original comic art didn’t hold the cachet it does today. By the time his original illustrations were returned to him, those episodes were ancient history, and Collins would be busy refining layouts for upcoming comics and developing scripts for future ones. Besides mailing art to far flung fans, Kreigh also gave them to friends closer to home. Though it isn’t in fantastic condition, my favorite “Kevin the Bold” original is the one my Grandpa Collins gave to my Grandpa Palmer (my mother grew up in Grand Rapids, about ten miles from my father, who hailed from Ada, Michigan).

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Personalized by the artist, top left.

Many letters complimenting Collins’ fine illustrations came due to his dogged research efforts, whether of 16th-century Austrian armorer Konrad Seusenhofer (“my family were armorers for generations going back as far as 1250… would you be so kind to give me the source of the information…”), 16th century sailing ships (“Above all I have enjoyed the lavish details that you put into your caravels…”), or period-appropriate clothing (“the thing I am so very fond of are the gorgeous clothes”).

Features Director Ernest Lynn used the fan mail as a sales tool. A letter sent to Miami Herald brass collected several glowing quotes and a referenced the Chicago Tribune’s use of “Kevin the Bold” in an attempt to persuade them to feature the comic.

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Letters from hobbyists and art students are one thing, but recognition from peers is something else. Another 1952 letter came from comic book artist Edmond Good. I was unfamiliar with his name, but after seeing his telltale signature, I looked him up.

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A new sequence of comics begins nest week, in honor of the season.


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