The Ghost Ship

A nice feat of engineering reveals what Kevin and Brett hope will be their ticket off the island. 

KTB 030462 BWT 150 bw.jpg
KTB 031162 BWT 150 bw.jpg

Luckily for Kevin and Brett, the islanders had a nice supply of white cloth for their ruse. 

KTB 031862 BWT 150 bw.jpg

Most gratefully, Maria offers Kevin a kiss in lieu of marriage. Perhaps more than one, as Kevin and Brett don’t disembark until several days later.  

Finding a drowning sailor provides an interesting denouement as the sequence transitions swiftly.  

KTB 032562 BWT 150 bw.jpg

Perhaps the reason for the abrupt change is that the next sequence would be Jay Heavilin’s last — his 13-month run as  the writer for “Kevin the Bold”  was ending.

___________________________________________________________

Now being shipped!

Mitzi cover final

I’m not sure how long delivery takes, but pre-sale orders of the book The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy have started to be shipped. Apologies for the delay. Presently, I am trying to find out what arrangements can be made for the publisher to fulfill overseas orders. The book is available at the publisher’s website.


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

The Catch

As Brett and Kevin get settled on the New World Island, Maria thinks she has landed a trophy fish in her net (in this case, a hammock). The next episode originally ran just before Valentine’s Day in 1962, yet Kevin seems to have missed the memo—he rejects Maria’s playful and romantic overtures.

KTB 021162 BWT 150 bw.jpg

Although this adventure of Kevin’s was written by Jay Heavilin, Jay seems to have cribbed some of Kreigh’s plot devices. Norse mooring pegs were shown in a sequence from four years earlier (although it ran just last month on Kreigh’s Comics).

KTB 080358 HF 150

KTB 021862 BWT 150 bw.jpg

As Kevin labors away in an attempt to raise the long-sunken boat, Maria continues to work on finding a husband. Soon, an even more series dilemma appears on Kevin’s horizon.

KTB 022562 BWT 150 bw.jpg

In Kevin’s situation, few men would be able to resist Maria’s overtures. However, Kevin’s prime directive is to travel the world, undoing injustices, and helping those in need, and he is determined to stay true to those ideals.


Now being shipped!

Mitzi cover final

I’m not sure how long delivery takes, but pre-sale orders of the book The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy have started to be shipped. Apologies for the delay. Presently, I am trying to find out what arrangements can be made for the publisher to fulfill overseas orders. The book is available at the publisher’s website.


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

Jay Heavilin

For nearly all of “Kevin the Bold” ’s 18-year run, Kreigh Collins handled the comic strip’s continuation. The lone exception (credited, anyway) was the period from April 30, 1961 through May 27, 1962, when the comic strip carried the additional byline, “Story by Jay Heavilin.”

Jay Heavilin small bw

Jay was a young NEA staffer of whom I know little, but I did manage to track down an NEA headshot. What is even more interesting than an old photograph is the dirt I discovered in a couple of letters (c. 1961) that NEA Vice President/Features Director Ernest Lynn sent my grandfather.

Lynn was responding to Collins’ query, was Jay dependable? Kreigh was looking for a writer for an unnamed book project, and Lynn didn’t mince words. “He’s a mixed-up kid without much, if any, conscience.” Lynn’s low opinion was apparently due in part to Heavilin having recently quit, leaving Cleveland for New York. And there was obviously a personality clash, “For one thing, he kept me tense. His utter contempt for office rules and the rights of others bothered me more than I care to admit. He has an ungovernable temper. The rules are for the other fellow, not Jay.” Because I don’t know the entire context, I won’t repeat anything else. At any rate, the letter sheds some light on the type of person Lynn was. too.

The next episode in the sequence currently being featured is one which which I am especially familiar. It has some lovely illustrations and action, and a particular detail that I find quite charming. In its last panel, Kevin and Brett have decided to swim for shore, and are shown jumping off the ship. When your sobriquet is “The Bold,” you don’t jump, you dive. As the faithful young ward of such a man, Brett also dives, but with only one hand outstretched — the other is holding his nose.

KTB 012162 BWT 150 bw.jpg

The reason I’m so familiar with this particular episode is that for years, the original artwork hung on my older brother’s bedroom wall. My brother’s name was also Brett, and despite being Kreigh Collins’ oldest grandchild, this was a coincidence. Originally, Brett and I assumed the character had been named for him, and only later did we realize that the character in fact preceded Brett by nearly a decade.

The artwork was originally given by my grandfather to my Grandpa Palmer, and it’s inscribed in the upper left corner. Only later did the piece end up in my collection, though that’s an interesting story too. Brett kept the illustration all through college, and for several years afterward it hung prominently in his apartment. Eventually, he gave it to our father, because he would no longer have anywhere to hang it. Following the family tradition, he was moving aboard his sailboat, a 43′ ketch. Later, after I’d begun researching my grandfather in earnest, my father gave the artwork to me.

KTB 012162 OA 72

Once ashore, Kevin and Brett make a shocking discovery.

KTB 012862 BWT 150 bw.jpg

They warn Maria of Captain Moniz’s intentions, and help them escape enslavement. However, Maria has plans of her own for Kevin.

KTB 020462 BWT 150 bw.jpg


Now being shipped!

Mitzi cover final

I’m not sure how long delivery takes, but pre-sale orders of the book The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy have started to be shipped. Apologies for the delay. Presently, I am trying to find out what arrangements can be made for the publisher to fulfill overseas orders. The book is available at the publisher’s website.


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

 

Brett the Bold

After thirteen plus years of writing the continuity for “Mitzi McCoy” and “Kevin the Bold,” Kreigh Collins was either a bit burned out or looking to free up time to pursue other projects. In any event, starting in mid-1961 and lasting for slightly over a year, Kevin’s adventures were dreamed up by NEA staff writer Jay Heavilin.

When I started collecting my grandfathers’ comics, I paid less attention to Jay Heavilin’s sequences because they weren’t Collins’ own brainchild (to use Kreigh’s phrasing). On more recent reflection, I notice these comics contain some fine illustrations even if the action is slightly out of character—e.g., Kevin attempting to visit his sickly mother, as shown in the December 17, 1961 comic that ran last week. (My theory on that episode: an excuse to introduce a gypsy woman who resembled Moya McCoy, who hadn’t appeared in the strip for over six years. Moya’s absence can be explained by the fact that she was the only woman Kevin ever loved, and removing her from the story helped ensure that our hero would never settle down, and would keep on moving.)

KTB 081554 HA CST 100 QCC

August 15, 1954

Of note, Moya’s very last appearance (as far as I know) also involves a fortune teller.

KTB 082954 HA CST 100 QCC

August 29, 1954

Now, back to our current sequence… where Kevin’s situation takes take a sudden turn for the worse.

KTB 123161 BWT 150 bw

KTB 010762 BWT 150 bw

Brett’s well-aimed dagger saves the day, but as the ship’s provisions dwindle, so does their time.

KTB 011462 BWT 150 bw


Mitzi book update!

Mitzi cover final

After receiving a few inquiries as to where the book they’d ordered was, I heard today from someone who said they’d finally received their copy! My apologies for the delay, and I hope you think it was worth the wait. November 7 was the 70th anniversary of the comic strip’s debut.

For those who haven’t ordered it yet, The Lost Art of Kreigh Collins, Vol. 1: The Complete Mitzi McCoy can be found at the Lost Art Books website. 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.

Bound for the New World

As a young lad, I recall sitting in my grandfather’s studio and poring over stacks of comics—bound copies of the “NEA Daily and Sunday Comics.” At some point after my grandfather died, the covers (conveniently featuring “Kevin the Bold”) were cut off and the rest discarded. It’s a shame so much was lost, but I’m lucky to possess what remains.

The prominent date at the top of the page was the Monday of that issue’s week, and the publication contained the six daily comics (plus a Sunday comic, in some cases) for a given NEA strip. Since “Kevin the Bold” was a Sunday, these publications only featured one comic, whose publication date would be six days after the date shown for each issue.

The year is 1520, and the following sequence starts with Brett trying to sign onto a Portuguese ship headed for the New World. The ship is being financed by King Henry, and because he has heard bad news about its crew, he calls on an old friend to keep an eye on things.

KTB 121061 BWT 150 bw

Shockingly, Kevin, an agent to the King, is about to refuse his request.

KTB 121761 BWT 150 bw

According to Kevin’s back story, he was an orphan and knew nothing of his parents, so the the action at the beginning of this sequence is quite unexpected (and is abandoned abruptly). Kevin and Brett soon are reunited and about to set off on another adventure.

KTB 122461 BWT 150 bw

As for those stacks of comics in my grandfather’s studio, it appears a young reader was inspired by the publication’s masthead to try his hand at cursive writing. The culprit was likely myself, my brother, or one of my cousins.

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).

KTB 081758 HA 150

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.

MM 080749 TH 150 QCC

August 7, 1949

KTB 082458 HA 150.jpg

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.

KTB 083158 HA 150.jpg

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!

Mitzi cover final

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.

The Funeral Ship

Freshly awoken from being knocked out, Kevin and Freya race to water’s edge only to see Thord sailing away on Sor Nordick’s dragon boat, repurposed as the Erl’s funeral ship.

KTB 072758 HF 150

After discovering that Thord intended to steal the venerable old man’s treasure (instead of following custom and letting it sink with the burning boat), Kevin and Freya set off in an attempt to thward Thord’s plans.

[Now about those “unscrupulous” Jesicks. Reading through these comics, that name rang a bell for me, and I realized where it likely came from. Notably, Kreigh Collins was an avid sailor, and for many years he docked his boat at a marina on Lake Macatawa, Michigan. The marina? Jesick’s Boat Yard. I suspect that the choice of names Collins gave to Thord’s lackeys was in fun, and not indicative of any malice toward the owners of his longtime marina. It sounds Polish to me, but perhaps Jesick is a Norwegian name?]

KTB 080358 HF 150.jpg

An unforeseen bugaboo in the evil man’s plans dooms them, but while Kevin strides off to for a better view,  Freya herself is not out of the woods yet.

KTB 081058 HA 150.jpg


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

Playing Possum

Smelling a rat, Kevin lingers to see what sort of plan is afoot. Thord quickly schemes to get Kevin out of his way, but as usual, the Irishman is one step ahead of his foe.

KTB 070658 HA 150.jpg

KTB 071358 HA 150.jpg

Pretending he has passed out from too much drink, Kevin leaps at an opportunity to search for Freya. Bound and vulnerable, Freya doesn’t know who her rescuer is, but she appears to like what she sees. Kevin hastens her away in the nick of time. Thord, with the menacing prow of the dragon ship looming over his shoulder, sets off to grab Freya.

Instead, he finds Kevin, and becomes enraged. Luckily, Freya is not only beautiful, but quick thinking and surprisingly strong.

KTB 072058 BWP 150.jpg

The July 20 episode is one of a few from 1958 for which I don’t have a half-page example. I’m fortunate to have a crisp black and white proof, and it reveals all the cropping that took place when one-third-page versions were created. Some nice details are lost, such as the fuller illustration of the house in the final panel, but the comparison also shows that Kreigh Collins had learned to deal with the inevitability of the third-pages. Several of the wider panels’ sides are rather empty, and ready to be sacrificed for the truncated version. Interestingly, the penultimate panel has been extended upward, with the caption moving up and over, so the overall width can be reduced without obscuring the fetching Freya’s face.

KTB 072058 TH 150 QCC


Now available!

Mitzi cover final

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 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.

Funerary Preparations

After learning that her great uncle has died, Freya realizes exactly how vulnerable she is.

KTB 061558 HF 150 QCC

Help is on its way, but not soon enough—the ship delivering Kevin is becalmed in the fjord.

KTB 062258 HA 150.jpg

In an episode featuring beautifully rendered ships, Kevin learns the fate of the old man he had traveled so far to meet. What he doesn’t know are the circumstances in which the lovely Freya finds herself—bound, gagged, and close to panic.

KTB 062958 HA 150.jpg

Kevin’s suspicions aroused, he brushes off the suggestion that he presence isn’t welcome, and defiantly stands up to Thord. The danger passes, yet Kevin suspects more trouble ahead.


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

The Dragon Ship

KTB 051858 HA 150.jpg

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).

KTB 052558 HA 150

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.

KTB 060158 HA 150.jpg

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.

KTB 060858 HA 150.jpg


Now available!

Mitzi cover final

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.