||This article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. (May 2009)|
|Publisher||Sergio Bonelli Editore|
|First appearance||(vol. 1) #15 (September 1948)|
|Created by||Gian Luigi Bonelli
|Notable aliases||Aquila della Notte (Eagle of the Night)|
Tex Willer, also known as Willer Kelly, is the main fictional character of the Italian comics series Tex, created by writer Gian Luigi Bonelli and illustrator Aurelio Galleppini, and first published in Italy on 30 September 1948. It is among the most popular characters of Italian comics, with translations to numerous languages all around the world. The fan base in Brazil is especially large, but it is very popular also in Finland, Norway, Turkey, Croatia, France, Tamil Nadu,Serbia and Spain. 
Tex is depicted as a tough guy with a strong personal sense of justice, who becomes a ranger (even if living in Arizona) and defends Native Americans and any other honest character from exaction and greed of bandits, unscrupulous merchants and corrupt politician and tycoons. Native Americans are portrayed in a complex way, emphasizing positive and negative aspects of their culture. The same can be said of the American authorities, like the US Army, the politicians, the business-men, the sheriffs or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Tex had a son, named Kit Willer (who would become a ranger too), with a Native American woman, named Lilyth, the daughter of a Navajo Chief (she would later die of smallpox). Later, Tex himself went on to become the Chief of the Navajo tribe.
Tex is not only featured in a monthly comic book series, but also in a special series called Tex Albo Speciale (sometimes called Texone, meaning big Tex, because of their bigger size). The Texone have around 240 pages and some artists known outside the Tex universe have been involved, like Jordi Bernet, Joe Kubert and Ivo Milazzo.
Fictional character background
The first Tex Willer's adventure appeared on 30 September 1948, as a comic strip. The "first" Tex is an unwillingly outlawed man with a strong code of honour: to kill only for self-defence. Almost immediately, however, Tex becomes a ranger. Thanks to the marriage with the beautiful Navajo girl Lilyth, he becomes Chief of the Navajos, known as Eagle of the Night, and a defender of Native American rights. Tough, loyal, infallible with guns, enemy of prejudice and discrimination, Tex is very quick and smart, and has a marked disregard for strict rules; on the other side, he has no pity for criminals, of every race and census, nor regard for their rights, if they do not immediately cooperate with the law.
Tex's closest friend in almost every adventure, since he became a ranger, is Kit Carson, loosely inspired to the historic figure of the same name. A main role has been held by Tex Willer's son, Kit Willer, and by the Navajo warrior Tiger Jack; though importance of last two has been diminishing in recent stories. Other recurring characters include El Morisco (a kind of warlock-scientist of Egyptian origin, living in the north-east of Mexico), the Mexican Montales (originally a bandido that fought against a corrupted government, and after a successful politician), the Canadian trapper Gros-Jean, the Irish boxer Pat Mac Ryan, the Mounties Colonel Jim Brandon, San Francisco Police Department Captain Tom Devlin, the Apache chief Cochise, and the Navajo wizard Red Cloud.
Tex Willer's nemesis is Mefisto, an evil magician and illusionist. Other enemies include Yama (Mefisto's son), The Black Tiger (a Malay prince who hates the white race and wants its annihilation in the USA), and Proteus (able to shapeshift his own face, and impersonate other people).
During the American Civil War Tex fought for the Union, although his home state, Texas, sided with the Confederacy. He participated in the battle of Glorieta Pass and briefly served in the 7th Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.
- Tex Willer, the protagonist, Texas ranger and chief of the Navajo tribe
- Kit Carson, Tex's best friend and pard ranger (he is not the same historical Kit Carson)
- Kit Willer, Tex's son
- Tiger Jack, Navajo warrior
Recurring friends and allies
- Montales, former Mexican bandido and current governor of the state of Chihuahua and vice-president of Mexico
- El Morisco (Ahmed Jamal), a warlock, scientist, naturalist and doctor from Memphis, Egypt, who lives in Pilares, Mexico
- Gros-Jean, Canadian metis, former outlaw and current trapper working in Canada
- Jim Brandon, Colonel of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada
- Cochise, chief of the Apache Chiricahua tribe
- Tom Devlin, Police captain in San Francisco, California
- Pat MacRyan, an Irish boxer
- Lefty Potrero, owner of a gym and health club in San Francisco
- Nat MacKennet, sheriff in New Orleans
- Ely Parker, head of the Federal Commission on Indian Affairs from 1869 to 1871
- Ulysses S. Grant, General of the US Army and President of the United States from 1869 to 1877
- Red Cloud, Navajo shaman
- Mefisto (Steve Dickart), a powerful and evil warlock and illusionist, Tex's arch nemesis
- Yama (Blacky Dickart), a powerful warlock, son of Mefisto. Seen three times so far.
- Proteus (Perry Drayton), a man who can camouflage himself and change appearance with ease.
- El Muerto (Paco Ordoñez), a Mexican pistolero, one of three brothers, who were killed by Tex.
- The Black Tiger (Prince Sumankan), a malay prince from Borneo. Killed by Tom Devlin.
- The Master (Andrew Liddell), a mad scientist
In Argentina, Tex was published in the 50s by Editorial Abril in his weekly magazine Rayo Rojo, with the name of Colt Miller.
In Finland, Tex Willer was published 1953–1965. After a break of five years, Tex Willer has been published continuously since 1971. The series is still popular and 16 numbers are published a year.  
In India, Tex was published in the 80s by the South Indian Tamil Comics publisher, Lion comics. The series is regularly being published in Lion Comics, due to its wide popularity among the generations.
In Israel, Tex was published in 70s, reprinted several times since in limited editions, latest one in 2007.
In Norway, Tex Willer has also run continuously since 1971, with from 11 to 17 numbers (each on 114 pages) issued a year.
In former Yugoslavia, Tex was published in the late 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s, and was very popular among other Bonelli characters such as Zagor. In the 90s after the break-up of Yugoslavia Tex Willer starts publishing in Croatia  Serbia  and Slovenia.
In the United States, Tex Willer appeared in an original book called The Four Killers, written by Claudio Nizzi and illustrated by legendary comic author Joe Kubert. It was published by Dark Horse Comics.
In 1985 Tex became a movie directed by Duccio Tessari: Tex e il signore degli abissi (Tex And The Lord Of The Deep).  The story depicted in the movie is a transposition from the comic books n. 101-103 of the collection, written by Gian Luigi Bonelli.
The movie was meant to be the pilot of a TV Series but had very little success.
- "Casa Editrice / Licensing" (in Italian). Sergio Bonelli Editore. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Quadrinhos / Bonelli" (in Portuguese). Mythos Editora. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Villi Länsi" (in Finnish). Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Tex Willer-kirjat" (in Finnish). Egmont Kustannus. 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Tex" (in Croatian). Libellus. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Tex" (in Serbian). Veseli Cetvrtak. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
- "SAF Comics - Graphic Novels". Strip Art Features. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- "Tex e il signore degli abissi" (in Italian). Wikipedia. 2008. Retrieved 2013-09-06.
- Tex Willer at the Internet Movie Database
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