Kevin in the heat of battle. Artist: Kreigh Collins.

KEVIN THE BOLD

Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Newspaper Enterprise Association
First Appeared: 1950
Creator: Kreigh Collins
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Comic strips have changed focus before, when what was hitherto a supporting character assumed the lead position. It's happened with strips as prominent as Fritzi Ritz and Barney Google being taken over by Nancy and Snuffy Smith,

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… respectively, and it's happened with the not-so-prominent, like Invisible Scarlet O'Neil and Funnyman being taken over by Stainless Steel and Reggie van Quirk, respectively. But it's possible no other comic refocused quite so hard or quite so suddenly, as when the Mitzi McCoy strip was taken over by Kevin the Bold.

Mitzi had been a creation of cartoonist Kreigh Collins, who had made his name in magazine illustration. Newspaper Enterprise Association (Frank & Ernest, The Little People) launched Collins's strip as a Sunday-only on November 7, 1948. The protagonist was an heiress who had more than the usual amount of drama in her life. But it had been running less than two years when a couple of characters got to talking about Mitzi's 15th-century ancestor, a guy named Kevin. He was first mentioned on September 24, 1950. Next thing you know, the comic was titled Kevin the Bold.

Kevin, a young Irishman, started out as a mere shepherd, tho a particularly handsome and daring one. But within a couple of years, he was hobnobbing with King Henry VIII. He even did odd jobs for Henry, the kind that involved swashbuckling adventure with saucy wenches, haughty princesses, dashing rogues and the like, usually accompanied by his pal Pedro and his young squire, Brett. It wasn't quite up there with Prince Valiant, but it held on for almost two decades, not a bad accomplishment considering how few adventure strips about historical Europe ever made a real splash. There weren't, however, any media spin-offs.

Many of Kevin's stories involved sailing, a strong interest of Collins. Eventually, sailing is what did Kevin in. In 1968, the comic underwent another abrupt change of title and focus, and from that point on, it was a contemporary strip titled Up Anchor. As a comic about modern seafaring, it lasted only a few years, ending in 1972.

— DDM

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Text ©2006-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Newspaper Enterprise Association.