When Secret Agent X-9 premiered in January 1934, King Features could proudly boast that its new adventure strip was written by the world’s most famous mystery writer—Dashiell Hammett, the man who virtually invented the hard-boiled detective in such novels as The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and Red Harvest. The artist chosen was less well-known — at this point, Alex Raymond was an merely an uncredited assistant on Tim Tyler’s Luck and the humor strip Blondie—but 1934 was the turning point in Raymond’s career. From that cold January forward, Alex Raymond would become as famous as Hammett, thanks to his Sunday comics double-header, Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim.
Secret Agent X-9 was a dailies-only serial. This volume collects the complete Hammett/Raymond strips, plus the subsequent stories by Raymond and Leslie Charteris, famous himself for “The Saint” novels, as well as the Charteris stories drawn by Charles Flanders. Included are strips from January 22, 1934 through October 31, 1936.