X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan, Vol. 1 (2010) - Al Williamson, Archie Goodwin
Collecting daily newspaper comic strips from 1967-1969
IDW, The Library of American Comics series
Hardcover, 285 pages, black & white
Retail price: $49.99
Amazon price: $39.86
Creating and sustaining a successful newspaper comic strip is a fine art. If you think about how these strips appeared in newspapers, the creators had three panels per day to work with: the first to summarize what happened the day before, the second to advance the plot, and the third to further advance the plot and hook the reader to keep reading the next day and the next and the next.
Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson were masters of the daily comic strip. You can learn all about the origins of Secret Agent Corrigan in the book's extras, but the main reason you'll want to pick up this volume is for the storytelling and artwork. This was the mid-60s, a time when the spy genre was very hot, thanks largely to the James Bond films and TV shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Corrigan (actually an FBI agent) is up to the task of picking up intel and coming up with sly tactics to nab the bad guys, whether they’re gunrunners, pirates, or counteragents.
Sure, you can see that there's something of a formula involved, but the way Goodwin and Williamson work the formula is masterful. If you've never read some of the vintage newspaper comic strips, X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan, Vol. 1 is a great place to start.