Monday, June 18, 2018

European Western Comic Books ~ I protaganisti (Wyatt Earp)

I protagonisti was a western comic series created by Rino Albertarelli and published monthly from 1974 to 1975 by Daim Press. The series presented documented and meticulous biographies of the heroes of the West and was only interrupted by the death of the author.

Each issue contained a monograph of a Western epic character with a comic strip story accompanied by a bibliography containing books consulted by the author in his documentation work. The series ran from September 1974 until June 1975.

The series was commissioned by Sergio Bonelli and Rino Albertarelli who wrote and designed the series for Daim Press in 1973. When Albertarelli died, on September 21, 1974, he was working on the tenth issue and only the first issue had been released on newsstands. The publishing house decided to end the series with the tenth volume, of which Albertarelli had completed only the first 42 tables, so Sergio Toppi was hired to finish the series.

In 1994 the series was reprinted in the series The Protagonists of the West, edited by Hobby & Work. A second reprint was published in 2007 in the series of History of the West by If Editions with the headline “History of the West Presents the Protagonists”. In each issue there are two stories in the chronological order of the original publication.

He is often regarded as the central figure in the shootout in Tombstone, although his brother Virgil was Tombstone city marshal and Deputy U. S. Marshal that day, and had far more experience as a sheriff, constable, marshal, and soldier in combat. He was at different times a constable, city policeman, county sheriff, Deputy U. S. Marshal, teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon-keeper, gambler, brothel keeper, miner, Earp spent his early life in Iowa. In 1870, Earp married his first wife, Urilla Sutherland Earp and his third arrest was subject of a lengthy account in the Daily Transcript which referred to him as an old offender and nicknamed him the Peoria Bummer. By 1874 he had arrived in the boomtown of Wichita. On April 21,1875 he was appointed to the Wichita police force, in April 1876 he was dismissed from his position as a lawman following an altercation with a political opponent of his boss which led to him being fined $30. In 1876, he followed his brother James to Dodge City, Kansas, in winter 1878, he went to Texas to track down an outlaw and met John Doc Holliday, whom Earp later credited with saving his life. Earp moved constantly throughout his life from one boomtown to another and he left Dodge City in 1879 and moved to Tombstone with his brothers James and Virgil, where a silver boom was underway. There, the Earps clashed with a federation of outlaws known as the Cowboys. The conflict escalated over the year, culminating on October 26,1881 in the Gunfight at the O. K. Corral, in which the Earps. In the next five months, Virgil was ambushed and maimed, pursuing a vendetta, Wyatt, his brother Warren, Holliday, and others formed a federal posse that killed three of the Cowboys whom they thought responsible. Wyatt was never wounded in any of the gunfights in which he took part, unlike his brothers Virgil and James, or his friend, Doc Holliday, Earp was a lifelong gambler and was always looking for a quick way to make money. After leaving Tombstone, Earp went to San Francisco where he reunited with Josephine Earp and they joined a gold rush to Eagle City, Idaho, where they owned mining interests and a saloon. They left there to race horses and open a saloon during an estate boom in San Diego. They moved briefly to Yuma, Arizona before joining the Nome Gold Rush in 1899, in partnership with Charlie Hoxie they opened a two storey saloon called The Dexter and made an estimated $80,000. Returning to the lower 48, they opened another saloon in Tonopah, Nevada, in about 1911, Earp began working several mining claims in Vidal, California, retiring in the hot summers with Josephine to Los Angeles. Wyatt Earp died on January 13,1929 and he was known as a Western lawman, gunfighter, and boxing referee. He had a reputation for both his handling of the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey fight and his role in the O. K. Corral gun fight.

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