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Bonelli Comics

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1948

Tex

Tex

Year of birth: 1948. So the most popular hero of Italian comics is now over fifty years old. And he certainly doesn't show his age! Created by Gianluigi Bonelli (scripts) and Aurelio Galleppini (artwork), Tex Willer, the most dearly-loved Ranger of Italy, still occupies an extremely prominent position on the Italian market, even after more than half a century of published life. The first among the Italian western heroes to incorporate the point of view of Native Americans into the stories (and this long before the advent, in cinema, in the early seventies, of the "crepuscular" western), Tex experiences all his adventures in the company of his three faithful pards: his son, the young half-breed Kit Willer (born from Tex's marriage to the Navajo girl Lilyth, who dies in tragic circumstances), the crafty old Kit Carson and the Navajo warrior Tiger Jack. Tex's philosophy is very simple: to fight against all kinds of injustice, defend the rights of the Navajos (in the guise of Aquila della Notte, supreme chief of the tribe) and of all oppressed individuals (as an official member of the Corps of Rangers). Often set in exotic scenarios, the Tex stories cleverly blend classical Western themes with atmospheres verging on horror and the fantastic (alien space ships that land in Arizona, voodoo sects, mad scientists…), above all in the adventures where he is up against his enemy "Number One", the diabolical Mefisto. There are countless reasons for the success and popularity of Tex, including the vitality, variety and wealth of features that have been one of the distinctive characteristics of the series ever since its first appearance on news-stands. In those years, in Italy, the mythology of the West, built up above all through its depiction in movies, was still unsophisticated and stereotyped. Tex burst onto the scene like the crack of a whip, a vigorously innovative proposal that broke away from long-established conventions (not merely of the world of comics): his boundless verve, his, in some sense, non-mainstream and "maverick" attitudes opened up a new and broader horizon for the post-war reader's imagination. Today 'Tex' is not only one of the most popular Italian comics, a veritable epos in the classical sense, a sort of self-sufficient universe, but it has also become a significant element of Italian culture and a rare example, especially for a serial, of the production of flights of fancy that have maintained all their freshness and liveliness despite their amazingly long existence.