Sailing for Hispaniola

Unbelieving that his fiancée has been has been lost at sea, Diego has stowed away in a ship bound for Haiti, in a valiant search for her. And what do you know…

KTB 071964 BWP 150

Estrella’s desperate plea for help is on target, but in vain.

KTB 072664 BWP 150

Pedro is able to make quick work of his task after spending most of his time eating. This is a running joke that continues whenever Pedro appears — even after the comic strip morphs into “Up Anchor!,” in which the characters Kevin and Pedro are again prominent.

KTB 080264 BWP 150

KTB 080964 BWP 150

While Pedro wraps up some loose ends, Kevin starts snooping around for knowledge of the Spaniards’ navigational secrets.


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

Advertisements

Best-laid plans

To follow last week’s post, which dealt with travel and this blog’s far-flung visitors, I had the idea to run a “Kevin the Bold” sequence with comics from my collection that appeared in a Québec newspaper. Because they had been translated into French, it seemed appropriate — most of my blog’s visitors were from France. I planned to run English versions, too.

After I started collecting my grandfather’s comics, these were the second batch I acquired — some one-third pages covering most of 1964. I hadn’t looked at them in a while, and I remembered them being rather sub-standard reproductions. Nonetheless, after two years of posting, and with this blog’s rather limited scope, I’m willing to try any angle.

The following sequence featured the young Spanish lovers Estrella and Diego. Since I didn’t have the French version of the opener, this printer’s proof of the English version would have to suffice. (I had French versions of the sequence’s remaining episodes).

KTB 062864 BWP 150.jpg

KTB 070564 TH Fr 300

However, once I dug out the French-Canadian comics, mon dieu! I realized it would be a misguided attempt to honor my French readers — the tops were sheared off the comics and much of the dialog was lost. Adding insult to injury, this week the U.S. nosed past France as far as blog visitors are concerned. So I guess there is some justification in continuing the comics in English.

KTB 070564 HA 150 cc

Following the exposition, Kevin and Brett finally appear. Kevin’s friend Pedro turns up, and he brings word of what will become Kevin’s next quest. To be continued…

KTB 071264 HA 150 cc


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

 

Travel

Travel.jpg

In each of Kreigh Collins’ three NEA comics, travel is a frequent theme.

Mitzi McCoy flew her private airplane into the northern Canadian wilds, and later to Chicago. She also spent time in Florida. Kevin originated in Ireland but traveled widely throughout Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East — he even visited the New World toward the end of his run (c. 1967). The Marlin family’s travels in “Up Anchor!” mirrored Collins’ own — besides sailing the Great Lakes and the Great Loop, the schooner Heather also called New England and Maine home for two seasons. A change of scenery provides a cartoonist an opportunity for varied tableaux, new storylines, and a chance to meet new characters.

Two years ago, I started this blog with the goal of raising awareness of my grandfather’s career (in advance of the publication of the collected “Mitzi McCoy” comics). While I’m not sure how successful I’ve been, I do know that my blog has done a fair bit of traveling too. According to its statistical data, it has been viewed by people in 55 countries across the world, amazing! I wish I could thank each visitor, I’m sure I’d also meet some characters.

The statistics are interesting, and I am pleased to note surprises. There have been slightly more viewers from France than from the United States, and there have been no visitors whatsoever from mainland China or Russia. Punching above their weight class are #4 Portugal and #6 Croatia (the 88th- and 129th-most populous countries in the world). The top twelve countries make up about 96% of my traffic, and while this is great, it’s more exciting to reach especially distant and smaller places. To my singular readers from Luxembourg, Uruguay, Greece, Guam, Romania, Slovenia, Qatar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Tunisia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Taiwan, Ukraine, European Union (is that even a country?), Singapore, and Greenland (population 56,412), thank you!

 

The Tournament

Tournament preparations are completed; it is time for the show. The few rules are explained. The dramatic sequence of the Chicago Sunday Tribune’s new comic feature begins.

KTB 021151 HA 150 qcc

With a lot less color and not as much fanfare, the action also unfolded in another recent subscriber to the NEA’s new comic. Kreigh Collins had a longstanding business relationship with a local paper, the Grand Rapids Press, for whom he had previously done illustrations. Like many cities of the era, Grand Rapids had several daily newspapers, but It took a while before any of them started running his comic. (A few months ahead of the strip’s transition to “Kevin,” the Press started running “Mitzi McCoy” in July of 1950).

KTB 021051 TH 300 QBW

KTB 021751 TH 150 QBW

Now, with the Trib’s vivid reproduction.

KTB 021851 HA 150 qcc

Kevin followed Stub’s plan to slide off his mount in order to try to lure De Falcon into combat on foot. The only problem — De Falcon is still astride his warhorse, Satan. However, playing possum proves effective, and Kevin avoids the Baron’s coup de grâce.

KTB 022551 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Kevin’s own quick thinking leads to his desired outcome of mano a mano, where Stub declared, “On foot, ye’re his better.”

Stub is absolutely correct, as Kevin makes quick work of De Falcon. Claiming the Count’s horse, but sparing his life, Kevin realizes he has done well to allow him to live. He discovers the fallen man’s humanity, and is about to set out on another quest.


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

Training

From its onset, “Kevin the Bold” had much going for it. Kreigh Collins was bursting with enthusiasm for its subject matter, he had the experience and artistic chops to pull of such a period comic, and he had the backing of the Chicago Sunday Tribune to give his work a wider audience. Collins also had a compelling collection of original storylines to illustrate.

The result was some exceptional work. These next three comics neatly distill the essence of the comic strip and its protagonists. Kevin is honorable and humble, yet invincible; MacTavish Campbell MacGregor (“Stub”) is steadfast and loyal; and Moya is cheerful, smart, and beautiful. It’s important to note that as Mitzi McCoy’s ancestor, Moya more closely resembles the heroine of Collins’ earlier comic feature than Kevin and his squire resemble their forebearers, Tim and Stub (despite the older man’s familiar sobriquet). Sadly, Moya does not last long as a prominent character in “Kevin”.

KTB 012151 HA 150 qcc.jpg

With the date of his fight against De Falcon looming, Kevin starts training, and he also begins to upgrade his gear. In addition to his Claymore, he now has chain mail. With Stub as his tactician, Kevin gets to work.

KTB 012851 HA 150 qcc.jpg

KTB 020451 HA 150 qcc

Acknowledging his past heroism, one of Moya’s father’s subject presents Kevin with a horse more suitable for his tournament date. Appropriately, she is mare, leading to a false sense of confidence in Kevin’s opponent. Like Kevin, she is not to be underestimated, an error made by many of Kevin’s adversaries.

The comics also contrast the two sides in the upcoming battle. Despite the obvious differences, maybe Kevin and the Baron have more in common than they realize.

The Count de Falcon

There is trouble in town, as someone has rung the bell at the village tower. Kevin and Stub arrive and are surprised to find out who was calling for help. Also arriving on the scene is the squire for a formidable German, the Count de Falcon.

KTB 123150 HA 300 qcc

KTB 010751 HA 150 qcc

The light-hearted atmosphere of the previous comics dissipates quickly as the tension builds, and matters escalate quickly. The Baron throws down the gauntlet, and formally challenges Kevin to a duel.

KTB 011451 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Making matters worse, Stub realizes the terms of battle are not negotiable. As his trainer, the squire knows Kevin’s abilities well, but is worried about the advantages the Count will have. We shall see if Kevin’s strongest suit, his sense of honor, will somehow help him prevail.

 

 

First Impressions

Following the abrupt transformation of the comic strip “Mitzi McCoy” into “Kevin the Bold,” Kreigh Collins was ready with several dynamic storylines for his new hero, and his artwork was equally up to the task.

At the end of the new comic strip’s first chapter, Kevin defeated the Moorish pirates and saved the locals from enslavement. As a reward, Moya McCoy’s father presented Kevin with a historically significant claymore, as well as his distinguished title.

The second chapter of “Kevin the Bold” begins with a marvelous comic. Its splash panel shows a beautifully garbed Moya, as MacTavish Campbell MacGregor is introduced. Upon meeting Moya, “Stub” announces Kevin’s simple credo. Moya instantly takes to the prickly Scotsman and fires a snappy line at her new friend.

KTB 121750 HA 300 qcc.jpg

As is often the case, the transitional comics between the main sequences are lighthearted, but action comes to the fore in the next comic, with another exciting splash panel. Stub has resumed Kevin’s training, with our protagonist getting acquainted with his fearsome new weapon. No doubt this training will come in handy at a later time.

The comic also shows the amazing reproductive abilities of Collins’ newest champion, the Chicago Tribune. The Trib typically ran its new feature near the front of its comic section, and the newspaper was able to showcase the Kreigh’s skills with its own superb coloring, including a very nice example of aerial perspective in the ninth panel.

KTB 122450 HA 150 qcc.jpg

Significantly, this panel shows a distant bell tower, which calls Kevin to action.

 

 

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