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TEX 75° (Panini)


album: Tex 75° (Panini)

stickers: 276 (1-276) + 54 cards (C1-C50 + 4 limited)

starter pack: album + 10 packets + 2 cards limited 14,99€

box: 36 packets (4 stickers + 1 card per packet) 1,00€ each

blister: 5 pack + 1 card limited random 4,90€

hard cover edition limited 1000 copies 49,90€ (SOLD OUT)

The return of Tex to Panini is good news, after the record album of 8 years ago, collections linked to proposals from other publishers were subsequently released on newsstands and the quality was not even remotely the same. Of course, with this new collection the expectations were quite high, not only that, the sensational album of Disney comics, reviewed a few days ago, made everything even more special and unique.

Which is better Tex’s album or Mickey Mouse’s? For collectors, the difficult decision remains, the basic concept remains that it is a pleasure and a joy to have two of the best albums of recent years on newsstands at the same time. There is no possible competition, even within Panini itself, what we have before our eyes is from another planet.

First of all, the confirmation of a format equal to the previous one, avoiding the disasters of recent years. The paperback with internal pockets for cards is a must and indeed it would be nice to see it more often, at least in collections where it is known that a significant part of the buyers are attentive and demanding collectors. The cards with the box are unwatchable… but we have said this so many times that not even Fausto Leali with the song “A chi” has been re-proposed to the same extent.

Let’s get off topic, the Calciatori Anteprima album is constantly evolving, why not think about making it this way next year? Paperback album with internal pockets to store 54 cards (yes, we have also considered the limited ones) which could also be an extra from the Adrenalyn collection. Maybe a crazy idea, probably impractical because it would probably be crushed by the two main collections. But… who knows… the fact remains that football, or rather sport in general, necessarily cannot give so much space to the imagination and ideas of Panini graphic designers as can happen with albums on comics, cartoons or other themes. They certainly have more fun thinking about them and making them, what do you think?

Since we’re on the topic of cards, let’s start from this point. It’s nice to note that while reviewing the not unforgettable Spider-Verse album we had launched the idea of ​​making cards where put together they created a large drawing with 9 puzzles. It happened with Tex! The back of the cards is a particular homage to the covers designed by Claudio Villa; to present them all, as well as those of Galeppini, an entire album would be needed. Except in the lot from C46 to C50 which find space together with the four limited edition cards.

Curious detail, in our opinion the cards are set in reverse, they should be C1,C2,C3 from left to right instead to have the “poster” they are from right to left. The counter test is the last block, inserting it like the previous ones we find ourselves with a limited before the C49 and C50. Collector’s delusions? Our math problems and are they right? Maybe, but if that were the case then in all these years it means that we have put cards or stickers in the pockets in the wrong way 🙂

Moving on to the album, we can notice a graphic continuation, for the most part, of the previous album, which is not a bad thing, given that it was very successful. However, the cover can be misleading, it focuses entirely on Tex, after all everything starts from the ranger with the yellow shirt and black scarf. There is therefore no division into chapters of the best-known characters, not even the three pards, but rather references to what happens in 75 years of comics, from the cowboy’s point of view.

It is a precise choice which, as written, continues what we saw 8 years ago, in some pages there is almost a repetition but in reality we seem to be able to affirm that Panini was very careful not to make duplications. Still in our opinion, the album can be divided into chapters, more or less well defined, which in the end manage to create an overall result of Aquila della Notte lasting seven decades.

The first part of the album is quite apt and very nice, especially when it gives an overview of Tex’s numbers, a source of debate even among enthusiasts. Given that the ranger is practically immortal, have you ever asked yourself “how many times has Tex been injured?!?”, now you can find an answer. In a comic book world where Superman was killed, Spider-Man cloned, Batman’s back was broken, it’s incredible that our ranger escaped 383 ambushes which, in the meantime, with the latest stories on newsstands, may be even more close to 400!

The lack of pages dedicated to the main protagonists of the comic saga, Mephisto aside, is not exactly an error. In 2015, right from the first pages Tex Willer, Kit Carson, Tiger Jack, Kit Willer were placed more or less on the same level, here one gets the impression that even the pards are, however important, only supporting actors.

It is therefore interesting to focus on other subjects, putting even long-time readers to the test. Everyone remembers Lilith, Tex’s wife killed by smallpox, it is already more complicated to remember other female characters, whether positive or negative. The much space dedicated to the Dynamite horse is commendable and will move the hearts of older collectors, perhaps thanks to the recent Tex Willer series which features a young ranger and his beloved quadruped.

We had appreciated them in Zagor’s album, the splash pages with large drawings to be completed with the shaped stickers are also a welcome return. I also applaud the choice, the quality of these painted pages really has all the flavor of the wild west. In our opinion, the pages with a similar layout that we find in the Disney album remain unattainable, but clearly the context is completely different. The first of these special pages presents a large part of Tex’s world in a fresco, it’s fun to recognize all the characters.

Shaped stickers that are also featured in the comic story included in the album, curiously positioned in the center and not in the last pages. This is perhaps the weak link in the entire collection, “Train Attack” is a story far from being new; although it is not part of the classic series that comes out on newsstands every month, it has already been re-released several times. Here the comparison with the Disney album is without history, ducks and mice win hands down. However, it should be considered that a short western story is perhaps less effective to create and Tex’s stories often have “rigid” canons to follow.

The next part of the album is a jewel, the west really existed and had incredible protagonists who have become both stories and icons of the North American continent. From the beginning, Tex has crossed paths with real-life characters. This applies both to Indians like Geronimo or Crazy Horse, and to colonizers like Lincoln or the General Custer, or even the heroes and anti-heroes of the old west like Buffalo Bill and Butch Cassidy. Over the years, reading Tex’s stories like those of Zagor (set about 40 years earlier), Bonelli pointed out when she was referring to events that actually happened. A notion that we have always greatly appreciated.

Speaking of history, particular emotion for the pages that tell the editorial story of the ranger, from that distant September of 1948 onwards, both telling of being Tex in all these years and also the evolution of the character who has never betrayed himself himself but who also knew how to compare himself with masters of the ninth art in unique volumes, thanks in particular to the Tex Speciale series, better known by enthusiasts as “Texone” and subsequently in other series. Magnus, Kubert, Serpieri, if the list of cartoonists who have encountered Tex in their lives is long, so is that of those who for various reasons, even for different times not ready for experimentation, have not been able to give us a dream. Hugo Pratt or Will Eisner, for example, but the list would be endless.

Last pages that reproduce in stickers some of Tex’s most beloved stories, starting from the legendary duel with El Muerto which made the hearts of generations of readers beat and which had a lot of flavor of that cinematographic genre called “Italian western” which has gave the world films that have entered the collective imagination, directed by Sergio Leone, Corbucci and many others.

Naturally everyone will have their favorite stories, we believe the choice, rather than the most significant ones, was to cover as much as possible the classic settings of the Tex comics. In this way we also find historical characters such as the occult science scholar El Morisco, city adventures especially in Chicago and San Francisco, a historical enemy always “of the city” such as the Black Tiger, such as adventures in the Great North. The famous story about Carson’s past could not be missing, masterfully written by Boselli, curator of the series for many years. If desired, there would also have been a classic story of Tex and the Indians, often victims of abuse and injustice; we would therefore have gone back 50 years or more but “Navajo Blood” with the drawings of the legendary Galep remains one of the highest points of the entire saga.

A masterful, well-made album does not always mean that the meeting between two giants of Italian publishing can always lead to satisfactory results. Could something have been done differently? Probably yes, but we appreciate this sense of continuity with the past. Those who don’t have the first album can enjoy a well above average collection, those who also have the first won’t have the feeling of something they’ve already seen. Now it is legitimate to ask Panini and Bonelli not to wait another 8 years for a new album; maybe Mister No thinking of the classic, Dylan Dog thinking of the most recent (a comic that is already over 30 years old anyway) or who knows a second Zagor.

There remains the regret, despite the passing of the years, that Panini did not want to distribute in Italy the splendid album created for the 60th anniversary of Asterix, which you can find in the French hardback edition. Afraid of a flop? Honestly, it would certainly have been more successful than albums like Cocomelon or Dinsieme’s latest.

Thank you comics, thank you stickers, thank you for existing and helping us fill our days with moments of leisure and pleasure, as well as letting ourselves be carried away by the wave of memories, because Tex is also history and pure tradition of our beautiful country.


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18 September 2022