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Secret Agent X-9. Secret Agent X-9 was created by Dashiell Hammett (Nick and Nora Charles, Continental Op, Sam Spade) and Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim) and appeared in the comic strip “Secret Agent X-9" (1934-1996) and film serials in 1937 and 1945.

Secret Agent X-9, whose secret identity is later revealed to be Phil Corrigan, is an agent for a nameless government department. But unlike most comic strip and pulp secret agents, X-9's brief is domestic: he is to deal with crime, large and small, in high society or in the back alleys, in every city in America. X-9 does just that, taking care of criminals, racketeers, gunmen, and Gun Molls. He confronts conspiracies in the highest circles of society and Washington, air pirates, murderers, blackmailers, counterfeiters, and kidnapers. X-9 is tall, dark, and handsome, skilled with his fists and guns, and able to move among crooks and "high society swells" with equal ease. He lives in a ritzy apartment and has a Filipino valet. During the War he takes on German spies and saboteurs (he'd started busting German spy rings in 1938). He also duels with Yellow Perils like the Japanese Femme Fatale Nabura.

* I'm including "Secret Agent X-9" in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because it's well-drawn fun-times. The combination of Dashiell Hammett and Alex Raymond, both at the height of their powers, would have to go drastically wrong in order to make a bad comic strip. They didn't go wrong. "Secret Agent X-9," created by Hammett and Raymond but taken over long-term by Mel Graff, is a lovely combination of hard-bitten writing and art. X-9 is a badass of a protagonist, his exploits are well-told and well-drawn, and for a long period of time X-9 was one of the icons of comic strip and pulp spy fiction. Recommended. 

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