Tex, 73 years ago began his unstoppable ride

Tex, 73 years ago began his unstoppable ride


Tex is synonymous with comics in Italy, of that comics that naturally entered Italian homes without interruption for at least 4 generations of readers who ideally became passionate about the adventures of the spotless Ranger and with him the medium of comics. Tex was born from the pen of Giovanni Luigi Bonelli and from the pencil of Aurelio Galleppini and made his debut in all Italian newsstands on 30 September 1948 with the first legendary and characteristic strip book entitled "The Mysterious Totem".

Tex - the origins and editorial history

Tex was born from the ashes of Occhio Cupo, a character that Giovanni Luigi Bonelli and Aurelio Galleppini were working on. It was a classic swashbuckling story with a setting far from the canons of the western which, contrary to the long gestation phase of the authors, turned out to be a failure. At the same time, the two authors had launched Tex which, in their intentions and without too many expectations, would have had to resume some characteristics of Occhio Cupo combined with those of the Giustiziere del West (later renamed Giustiziere Mascherato, a character created by GL Bonelli in 1947 and strongly inspired by Lone Ranger), riding the trend of other characters who populated the Italian newsstands of those years such as Blek Macigno and Capitan Miki of the trio of authors known as EsseGesse, who were experiencing considerable public and commercial response.

Aurelio Galleppini , aka Galep, was inspired by the features of Tex himself and the actor Gary Cooper. According to Sergio Bonelli, son of G.L. Bonelli, the marked features and the square jaws would remind Charlton Heston, an actor much appreciated by his father.

A little curiosity: the name was inspired by the sign of a Milanese shop, "Tex Moda" while the surname should have been "Killer", but was diluted in Willer on the advice of Tea Bonelli shortly before going in print to avoid censorship and bad publicity.

The first editor of Tex was Edizioni Audace, which later became Edizioni Araldo, which proposed the series in the very popular and characteristic format at the time, namely the 16.5 × 8 format strip cm (973 numbers divided into 36 series with weekly frequency from 1948 to 1967). The strips were collected as early as 1949 (seven issues between 1949 and 1950, the second series called Serie Bianca between 1950 and 1966 of 132 albums and the third series called Serie Rossa of 194 albums from 1956) but it is only in 1952 which are reassembled, 3 per page, in "vertical" books called "Albi d'oro" in turn collected in more full-bodied books the so-called first series "Gigante" (29 issues from 1954 to 1957) to date the most rare and sought after among collectors.

The success of the "Gigante" series leads the publisher to a second reprint in the same format which debuted in 1958 by reprinting in full the episodes published in the striped series (which will continue to be published until 1967). The success was unprecedented enough to abandon the classic striped format and start publishing unpublished stories directly in the new format starting from page 69 of Tex 96 - La Caccia (dated October 1968). This second Gigante series is renamed Tex Gigante Series and, from Tex 162 - The Return Of Yama, assumed the definitive name of Tex.

The first are stapled from 160 pages which almost immediately drop to 128. The dimensions are immediately 16 × 21 cm and with a foliation that goes down to 112 pages, we opt for the more resistant paperback: the format is born typical of all subsequent series published by Sergio Bonelli Editore or the "bonellide" format with which all similar publications are defined in jargon.

Tex immediately enjoyed a reprint that started in 1964 called Tex Tre Stelle . In 1985 TuttoTex made its debut while Tex Nuova Ristampa made its debut in 1996.

In addition to the various related series (Special Tex, Maxi Tex, Almanacchi del West etc ...) the series has enjoyed various collateral series from newsstands, also in color , as well as various re-editions in various formats in books from cheap and not.

Tex and his world

Tex Willer is a Texas ranger even though he does not often exhibit his stars. 'silver on the chest. He carries out missions at the request of the Command but also spontaneously, he is also an Indian agent for the Navajos tribe of which he is the head. With a well-built build, aged between 40 and 45, he is characterized by the look that includes Stetson, almost always a yellow shirt and jeans, boots and of course the inevitable belt with a Colt .45 Peacemaker. Only when he is at a reserve or in adventures involving Native Americans does he wear different clothes: Indian tunic (which shows on the front the image of a black eagle that recall his Indian name Eagle of the Night), trousers fringes, Indian moccasins and a Wampum headband decorated with Indian symbols that identifies him as Sakem of the Navajo.

Born in 1838 in Rock Springs near the headwaters of Nueces in Texas. The father has a ranch where the young Tex, while exploring the prairie in the company of Clarence Hutchenrider, Rod Vergil and Damned Dick, meets the sakem of the Pawnee Lupo Grigio and his daughter Tesah, heirs and custodians of the tribe's sacred treasure. The burden of watching over the treasure will then be inherited by Tex himself, who will hide the precious artifacts in a cave which can only be accessed by swimming on the bottom of a river.

During a raid, Tex's father comes killed by bandits led by John Coffin and Tex vows to avenge him. Even knowing he is going against the law, he crosses over to Mexico and after a long hunt gets his revenge. The relationship with his brother Sam, however, is irretrievably deteriorated and he decides to leave the family ranch and settle with the neighbors Corlis where he earns the faithful horse Dynamite. He later learns that Sam, who bought a larger ranch near Culver City, was killed by a man named Tom Rebo for possession of the ranch. Once again to avenge a death, Tex hunts down the bandit, which ends only with his killing. Tex then becomes a wanted man, accused of murder. In these years spent living in the bush and hunted by the law, Tex meets Cochise, the leader of the Apaches Chiricahua, whose niece Nita saves from the terrible Verdugo (Comanchero, kidnapper, trafficker and stalker of women), and becomes their blood brother. br>
After destroying the gang called the Red Hand and avenging his family, he meets Jeff Weber, an agent of the Secret Service, who convinces him to serve the law as a ranger by introducing him to the head of the West Department, the major Herbert Marshall, and the future pard Kit Carson.

Tex later marries Lilyth, daughter of the Sakem of the Navajos Freccia Rossa, joining the tribe with the nickname of Eagle of the Night, a name borrowed from the disguise he used . From their union will be born his only son, Kit, whom the Navajos call Piccolo Falco. Lilyth died prematurely from a smallpox epidemic set off in revenge by two shady Denver businessmen, Fred Brennan and Jim Teller, whom Tex had arrested, destroying their organization that sold weapons to Native Americans in order to provoke a war. . On the death of Freccia Rossa, Tex inherited the command of the Navajo people. This office also requires him to monitor the treasure of the Navajos mountains, that is the very rich gold deposits.

Tex participated in his youth, as an explorer, in the war that pitted the Union against the States Confederates of America; despite the Texan origins and therefore the origin from a Confederate State, both Tex and his friend "Damned" Dick Drayton decided to take sides in favor of the Union.

Tex participated, between 1860 and 1864 , to the Civil War. Despite being Texan, however, he decided to take sides with the Union except to abandon the battlefields after the Battle of Shiloh, becoming a saboteur and a carrier. He was a prisoner of the Confederates in the Anderville camp. In 1876 he followed, along with Kit Carson and on the orders of General Davis, the military column led by George Custer through the Black Hills. Miraculously surviving the battle of the Little Bighorn, Tex is the last white man to see the famous General alive.

Essential in Tex's stories are his pards, his partners.

Kit Carson: A highly acclaimed, grouchy, pessimistic ranger, he has a reputation for being a womanizer. It contrasts with the confident and optimistic character of his friend. Kit Willer: the son of Tex and his Indian wife Lilyth. He has been following his father since he was 18. Tiger Jack: is a Navajo warrior blood brother of Tex. He began to follow the ranger in his adventures after Lilyth's disappearance and over time became an irreplaceable companion, especially in the stories that have Native Americans as protagonists. His specialty lies in finding tracks and following tracks, where he is unsurpassed. Other important supporting actors and allies are:

El Morisco: Egyptian scientist and curandero transplanted in the Mexican state of Chihuahua in the city of Pilares, whose real name is Ahmed Jamal. Jim Brandon: Colonel of the Mounted Police, Canadian Redcoats. Montales: Mexican guerrilla and later vice president under the government of Benito Juárez. Among the historical antagonists instead:

Mefisto (real name Steve Dickart): initially he is a common criminal, hired as a spy by a foreign power, who uses his shows of him as a cover, in which he performs as a magician illusionist. Later he acquires paranormal powers. Yama (real name Blacky Dickart): he is the son of Mephisto and inherits his magical powers from his father in exchange for the promise to avenge his death, but achieving the same unsuccessful results. Proteus (real name Perry Drayton): the man with a hundred faces, capable of disguising himself and assuming the appearance of any individual, including Tex. He is one of the few opponents still alive and therefore could return in the future to undermine Tex and his pards. El Muerto: skilled gunslinger with a disfigured face, pseudonym of Paco Ordoñez.

Tex and the cultural impact

Tex is a character who has entered the collective and social imagination of our country by right and remains the best-selling comic in Italy today, selling 700,000 copies per month, while in 2010 the circulation exceeded 200,000 copies. Published successfully in over 20 countries, however, Tex is almost unpublished in the United States where only The Man of Atlanta was published, the Tex Special designed by the legendary Joe Kubert.

The character has inspired all kinds of merchandise official and unofficial. It has been adapted into motion comics, radio dramas, novels as well as inspiring essays and a 1985 film adaptation starring, as the Ranger, Giuliano Gemma.

But Tex is a character who from many points of view it was far ahead of its time. Forerunner of a certain historical revisionism, Tex is the first comic book character to offer a different point of view on Native Americans until then, and throughout the western epic including the classic film, always portrayed as bloodthirsty savages. On the other hand, Tex is the most indestructible example of the spotless hero.

Tex is in fact a premodern hero. It is never wrong and it can never happen, to me of truly exceptional cases and all linked to stories written by its creator G.L. Bonelli. Tex instantly understands where the good is and where the evil is, with a look that places him well above ordinary people, and what he does is "simply" right the wrongs even if this means clashing with the law, with the prejudices of the people or more simply with the common thought.

GL Bonelli will say about Tex that:

… when he sees a wrong, the poor Christ who suffers unjustly, he rebels and takes his side. That he is a black man, that he is white, that he is Indian, that he is a farmer, that he is a cultured person, he doesn't give a damn.

In this sense, two statements by the current editor of Tex, Mauro Boselli, are illuminating.

Tex puts everyone in agreement, both right-wing and left-wing pacifists. He means that his search for justice and peace is universal.

And more:

Tex never hesitates, this is the problem. He DOES. The reflection in him is ultra-rapid, prerational. He cannot stop when someone is in danger, even if at that moment Tex is unarmed, even if he is under fire, he can make mistakes, but never as a fool or a mean. And he can - almost never - be wrong about people. He KNOWS who is good and who is bad and in what percentage.

Buy Tex - On the Northern slopes.

Powered by Blogger.