January 04, 2009

The TEX WILLER comics

Tex WillerTex Willer is a Italian comics series featuring the character of the same name, created by writer Gian Luigi Bonelli and illustrator Aurelio Galleppini, and first published in Italy on September 30, 1948.

The first Tex Willer's adventure appears on September 30, 1948, as a "strip." The "first" Tex is an unwillingly outlaw man with a code of honour: to kill only for self-defence. Almost immediately, however, Tex becomes a ranger. Thanks to the marriage with the beautiful Indian Lilyth, he becomes head of the Navajos, known as "Eagle of the Night," and a defender of Indian laws. Tough, loyal, infallible with guns, enemy of prejudice and discrimination, Tex is very quick, and has a quite high disregard for rules.

Tex's closest friend in almost every adventure, since his enlistment as a ranger, is Kit Carson. A fundamental role has been held by Tex Willer's son, Kit Willer, and by the Navajo warrior Tiger Jack.

Other recurring characters include El Morisco (a kind of warlock-scientist of Arabian origin), the Mexican Montales (originally an outlaw that fought against a corrupted government, after he became a politician), the Canadian trapper Gros-Jean, the Irish boxer Pat Mac Ryan, the red coat Jim Brandon, police officer Tom Devlin, the Apache chief Cochise, and the wizard Navajo Red Cloud.
And:Tex very much respects the beliefs and customs of Native Americans and, in turn is respected by most of the tribes as the “Great White Chief of the Navajos.” As such, he often takes sides with Native Americans (not only the Navajos) against his own people.

A TRUE native friend.
My name is TexA veritable legend. This is the only possible definition of Tex Willer. The Tex stories have been published uninterruptedly for over fifty years, making him the longest-lived character of Italian comic strips and, together with Superman and Batman, one of the most enduring characters in comics worldwide. As familiar in Italy as Ferraris and pizzas, he continues to have hundreds of thousands of readers and aficionados. What's the secret of his success? The fascination of this character (a real tough guy, ironic, anti-racist and enemy of all kinds of injustice), the evocative environments (prairies, forests, deserts) and the powerful emotive attraction of his adversaries (outlaws and rebel Indians, but also voodoo witch doctors and secret sects). For the Navajo Indians he is Aquila della Notte, a wise white chief and brother of every Native American. For whites, he is the Bureau of Indian Affairs agent of the Navajo Reservation and a Ranger who never misses a shot. For outlaws who are unlucky enough to encounter him, he's their worst nightmare.And:Powerfully built with an athletic physique, extremely accurate in firing shots, Tex fights against outlaws, unscrupulous landowners, corrupt politicians and wheeler-dealers, Indians in revolt. He's a defender of the weak and the oppressed, and he's always been staunchly anti-racist and a friend of the Indians, which is amazing for a character created in 1948! By marrying an Indian and throwing his lot in with the Native Americans, Tex prefigured the anti-racist themes of 1970s Westerns. And this is another demonstration of how great this serial is. Tex is not a vigilante. Although he sometimes uses crude methods to combat criminals, Tex is essentially a Ranger, a man of the Law. He has often saved alleged criminals from being lynched by a furious crowd, and when he kills, he does so only out of legitimate defense.And:He appreciates and respects Indian culture, and defends the Native Americans against those who want to destroy them: gun-runners and alcohol dealers, generals who think that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian." Tex has killed over two-thousand people (all out of legitimate defense, of course), he has escaped over three hundred ambushes, he has faced thirty or so duels, beaten up about five hundred people, and he himself is unbeatable at poker; he rides, shoots and climbs mountains like nobody else knows. These figures give some idea of how exceptional Tex is: in fifty years of published life, he's lived through the most amazing experiences. Yet despite all this, Tex is a thoroughly human and appealing character, and he has absolutely nothing in common with monolithic heroes like Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme.Tex Willer images

Comment:  I just learned of this comic-book series from a Facebook friend. I haven't seen or read it.

But if you're like me, you may have noticed a few small flaws in the Tex Willer concept. Stay tuned for my analysis.

For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.

Below:  "I'm the Navajo chief and I'll shoot anyone who tries to take my headdress!"

No comments: