Slim and Tex
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Adventure Comics (This magazine was known as "New Comics" in #11 and as "New Adventure Comics" in #15)
These best stories of the comic books are preceded by their issue number.
Slim and Tex work at "The Triple X" ranch, near the town of Painted Tent, apparently in Arizona. It is owned by the beautiful, spirited woman Helen Harley, whom they address as Miss Helen, and her father. The stories are set in modern times, with cars as well as trains and horses being part of this world.
Asking Helen to the Dance (#4, March-April 1936). Writer: A. Leslie Ross. Art: A. Leslie Ross. The first Slim and Tex story.
The Dude Ranch, Part 3 (1936). Writer: Alex Lovy. Art: Alex Lovy. Kidnappers threaten an innocent young woman who is hiding out at the dude ranch.
Previous episodes of Slim and Tex were comedy anecdotes, two pages long. With the change of writer-artist here, we get a new approach. The stories become longer. Crime and adventure elements are now introduced. The series is turned into a full fledged mystery-adventure tale. Lovy greatly thickens the plot. All the characters and story lines are greatly developed here, some in surprising ways. This is an excellent story on all levels, both plot and art.
Unlike many other early adventure serials in the comics, this tale has no racist elements. This too makes it unusual.
The art here is one of the great celebrations of male bonding in comic books. The male bonding possibly has a gay dimension. For other comic book stories on this topic, please see my list of stories with political and social commentary, and search for "gay".
The Snatch (1937). Writer: Alex Lovy. Art: Alex Lovy. First Slim, then Tex go after the kidnappers. This is the last Slim and Tex tale. The story breaks off in mid point, with Slim wounded (or maybe killed), and Tex tracking down the kidnappers. Apparently, the series was canceled before any final episodes could be written, or at least published. This particular episode was published after a gap of four months; it might have been created long before, and originally scheduled for #12, but delayed when the series was canceled.
IS SLIM ALIVE? When I first read this tale, I was sure Slim was merely wounded by the villains. But some Internet commentators today are equally sure that Slim is killed in this tale. Re-reading indicates that this story is actually ambiguous: it doesn't say whether Slim is alive or dead. Slim is certainly shot by the villains. He falls down, and is either unconscious or dead. Heroine Grace witnesses this, and accuses the villains of having killed Slim (page 3). However, Grace is not near Slim's body, and therefore has no first-hand knowledge of whether Slim is alive. The story itself tells no more. Presumably, this issue would have been cleared up if further episodes of "Slim and Tex" had been published.
I find it hard to believe that a 1930's Western would kill off its series hero. On the other hand, I am far from being an expert on Westerns of this era. Still, my best guess is that Slim is wounded but alive.