May 11th, 2015

Editor’s Dispatch: Welcome Secret Agent X-9

by Countess Tea

Oh, boy! I’m really excited this week to welcome Secret Agent X-9 to Comics Kingdom.  As the winner of our “Vintage Madness” poll, Secret Agent X-9 will join our amazing lineup of vintage comics already available. 

“Secret Agent X-9” is a comic strip created by writer Dashiell Hammett (“The Maltese Falcon”) and legendary artist Alex Raymond (“Flash Gordon”) in 1934, and so many modern comics owe a huge debt to this amazing strip.  The nameless Agent X-9 works undercover for a shadow organization cloaked in secrecy. A combination of a secret agent and private eye adventure, “Secret Agent X-9” was distributed by King Features from January 22, 1934 until February 10, 1996.

“Secret Agent X-9” beat “Thimble Theatre” by less than a dozen votes to secure a highly-coveted spot in Comics Kingdom’s Vintage Comics section.  It was so close, but I’m super thrilled by these results. 


When “Secret Agent X-9” first appeared in newspapers, it was the third launch in a month for artist Alex Raymond who had just started “Flash Gordon” and “Jungle Jim” two weeks earlier. The comic was written by Dashiell Hammett, who you may know as the creator of Sam Spade in “The Maltese Falcon” and crime-stopping couple Nick and Nora Charles in “The Thin Man” series. “Secret Agent X-9” would be an unusual character for him. Not only was he made specifically for a comic strip, he would be a government operative instead of a private eye. By the mid-1930’s, he becomes an FBI agent, even conferring with J. Edgar Hoover  on occasion.
We will show a lot of Secret Agent X-9, though, as is true for many of these classic gems, unfortunately, our archives are less than complete. But we had an amazing breakthrough just today and managed to acquire a digital archive dating from 1935 to 1938, and we’re hoping to add 1939 very soon!  But from 1945 on, we can keep going into the 1990s. With Secret Agent X-9, there were a lot of different artists and writers over the years, and there can be many favorites.  Each of the men that contributed had their own distinct styles. Some were real stellar penman like Mel Graff and Al Williamson, so there’s something for everyone.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!




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