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X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan Volume 1 Hardcover – September 21, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Al Williamson (b. 1931, d, 2010) was a comics artist best known for his work on EC's Weird Science and Weird Fantasy comics titles (and, later, Creepy and Eerie, comics magazines that featured EC alumni). He also adaptedStar Wars into comics, and worked on the newspaper strips Flash Gordon and Secret Agent X-9, both creations of Alex Raymond. He also inked various Marvel superhero comics, and was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2000.
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Product Details

  • Series: X-9 Secret Agent Corrigan
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600106978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600106972
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.4 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By rampageous_cuss VINE VOICE on October 3, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Al Williamson was one of the great illustrators of the 20th century; his work has a sinuous dynamism different from but as good as the casual elegance of Alex Raymond, the original artist for the adventure strip originally called "Secret Agent X-9."

This is the January 30 1967 to August 30 1969 continuity, together with an introduction to the strip by the wonderful artist and Raymond/Crandall/Williamson heir Mark Schultz (of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs fame) plus an essay on X-9/Corrigan by Bruce Canwell.

The book needs an index, but basically there are 12 stories here, which aren't marked in any way; for convenience I am creating my own chapter headings:

Chapter 1, 'Operation: Marina Vladcheck' kicks off the strips (page 10.) The beautiful Marina is a scientific defector to the West who, chafing under the tight security demanded by her position, plays hooky - unfortunately at the same time that kidnappers are plotting to abduct her for sale to a foreign power. It's a decent thriller with fast pacing and hair's breadth escapes. Williamson employs halftone screens here which are OK, but don't quite suit his artwork.

Chapter 2, 'Crime Camp' is introduced on page 29 but doesn't really start 'til p 30. Phil follows the trail of wanted criminal Leroy Burke, which leads him to a Caribbean retreat where crooks, and Corrigan, get more than they bargained for. Reminiscent of The Avengers "Escape in Time" episode, it's an OK entry in the "villainous woman falls in love with the hero" formula. The art is Williamson at the top of his form.

Chapter 3, 'The Inheritance of Cheryl Falcone' is introduced in the last frame of page 53 and starts on page 54.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought X-9 SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN with high hopes. IDW always does such a great job packaging material; what could go wrong? Williamson was brilliant, the raison d'être I purchased the book in the first place. When it arrived I started reading . . . and there was a dead rat under the floorboards. Whaaat? Why was I not interested, bored to tears? Great product, nice art. Then the culprit became vividly clear: mediocre writing. Archie Goodwin was once a big name in comics, but I had to ask myself was he a revered one. I searched my memory for one single series where his writing caught fire and his plots really took off, and couldn't recall a one.

Lackluster writing killed this wonderfully-produced book for me, not the illustrator or publisher's fault. Loath as I am to speak ill of the dead, if X-9 SECRET AGENT CORRIGAN had had a decent writer like Dashiell Hammett instead of accomplished hack Archie Goodwin my review would be different. Visual stimuli aplenty, but boring boring boring stories.

If you're content looking at the pictures, go for it, but if you need to exercise your brain reading some interesting fiction then I must advise caveat emptor.
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Format: Hardcover
This book helps preserve the legacy of writer Archie Goodwin and artist Al Williamson, collecting their first several years on Secret Agent Corrigan (originally Secret Agent X-9). Together, Goodwin and Williamson take FBI agent Phil Corrigan through a number of fast-paced adventures, bringing the classic strip (created in 1933 by equally legendary Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond) firmly into the late 60s.

Williamson's classic style, influenced in equal parts by classic illustrators like Alex Raymond and classic cinema, keeps the visuals interesting and exciting. His use of light and shadows, as well as his ability to keep his camera moving, is showcased well by the comic strip format, where he can't rely on clever layouts across the page. (Not that Williamson was ever an artist to rely on flashy gimmicks.)

Together, he and Goodwin take Corrigan through a wide variety of adventures in a wide variety of settings. The action comes fast and furious, and there isn't a clunker in the bunch.

Highly recommended for lovers of fun stories and fine art.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The golden age of the comic strip was long over by the time that Williamson and Goodwin started work on 'Secret Agent X-9'. And to be brutally honest this falls some way short of the best of that earlier era.

Yes, Williamson's art was -- still *is* -- better than most, well and truly in the tradition of Alex Raymond (one of the creators of this strip 30 years earlier). And Goodwin's dialogue is crisp and professional.

The problem is the stories themselves, strictly paint-by-the-numbers plotting. Corrigan gets into a jam, punches or shoots his way out of trouble, and the last panel sets up more of the same ad infinitum. Barring the formidable Mrs. Murkley there are no recurring villains, and there isn't even much of a supporting cast. ('District Chief' Tom Ross has a few cameos, and Corrigan's wife, Wilda, gets scarcely more screen time than Ross.)

Goodwin and Williamson must have picked up the pace since they carried the strip for over a dozen years, and the book is well worth picking up for Williamson's art alone. (Neal Adams stepped in for a week in the time covered in this volume; Stanley Pitt, less successfully, for two and a half months.)

I am buying the next in the series but if you are new to the Library of American Comics 'Terry and the Pirates' is probably the best introduction to the classic American newspaper adventure strip.

As for the production quality it is pure Library of American Comics, which is to say typically excellent.
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