Tex Ritter began strong in comic books at Fawcett with #1 in October ‘50 and finished with some dreadful art by an unknown “artist” at Charlton in #46 (May ‘59). Tex’s starring B-western days were over in 1945, so the comics were trading on his lasting popularity through TV reruns of his Grand National, Monogram, Columbia, Universal and PRC series.
Fawcett started with photo covers, front and back, through #5. Some older photos were used but a new group shot expressly for comic book covers was taken in late ‘50. The front photo-covers continued through #21, but Charlton took over the publishing of TEX RITTER WESTERN with #21 (when Fawcett folded in the Fall of ‘53) and went to art-drawn covers with #22, although b/w movie scenes were featured on their back covers til #36 (#26 even shows Johnny Mack Brown with Tex).
Tex’s horse was White Flash, as in his films, but, for whatever reason, Fawcett gave Tex a dog, Fury, that he never had in the movies. After #22 at Charlton, Fury came and went as needed.
In the beginning, artwork was by Tony Tallirico who captured the looks and essence of Ritter. By #18, Bud Thomson, and occasionally Sheldon Moldoff, took over and the art started to wane badly. Stan Campbell assumed art chores when Charlton took over with #21. His work was rushed, as most Charlton artists’ work was as the company paid poorly, and Tex’s appearance varied throughout the issue, often looking quite pudgy faced. Campbell improved slightly as the issues went on but he was gone by #32 with shoddy artwork following by the teams of Dick Giordano/Vince Alascia and Charles Nicholas/Sal Trapani. Fawcett reprints had also started filtering in with #28 (#30, 31 were all reprint material). This combination of hurried, poor art and reprints render these later TEX RITTER WESTERN issues worthless to Ritter fans. The final issue (#41) is just terrible, making Tex look like an unrecognizable 19 or 20 year old kid.
It’s the first 14 issues collectors should concentrate on, with Fine condition copies ranging from $42 (#11-14) to well over $100 each for #1, 2.
Tex Ritter stories also appeared in Charlton’s SIX GUN HEROES #22, 24-37, again with inferior work by Giordano/Alascia and Campbell. In these issues Tex shared the pages with Lash LaRue, Tom Mix, Rocky Lane and others.
Tex Ritter ran as well in Fawcett’s WESTERN HERO #96 (11/50) to #112 (3/52) when the book ended. Tom Mix, Gabby Hayes and Monte Hale ran alongside Tex who was photo-cover featured on #96, 99, 101, 105, 107, 108, 111.
Much earlier, a couple of Tex’s westerns were adapted into comic form in POPULAR COMICS. “Starlight Over Texas” in #35 (12/38) and “Rollin’ Westward” in #39 (5/39).