Rex Baxter, a Flash Gordon type character, was created by Edmond Good for Bell’s Dime Comics. The initial adventure subtitled “The Island of Doom” began in the premier issue Dime February 1942 and ran for 13 episodes, all done by Good, each with a cliff hanger ending.
Baxter was introduced as an “adventurous young soldier of fortune returning aboard the S.S. Luxor to enjoy a well earned rest from duty with the British army in northern Africa”. A Nazi U-boat torpedoes the Luxor and Baxter and a shipboard acquaintance Gail Abbott are set adrift. They land on a tropical island where they encounter two strange men Captain Zoltan and Tula aboard a flying metal sphere. These men take them underground to the lost cavern empire of Xalanta, the setting for a curious mixture of futuristic inventions and ancient buildings.
Shortly after their arrival, Riona, queen of Xalanta is dethroned by her adviser Lerzal who sets himself up as dictator and upon learning of the existence of the surface world, embarks on a plan to become master of that world by unleashing germ warfare. Rex, Gail, Riona and Zoltan escape to carry on the fight against Lerzal and after a series of adventures right prevails.
With Dime Comics issue 14, Adrian Dingle took over the strip. Edmond Good left for the U.S. to work on Scorchy Smith. Dingle introduced a new series called Xalanta’s Secret which took Rex and Gail to the South Pacific in search of Zoltan their Xalanta friend who had been missing since the flying sphere bringing them back to the surface world crashed at sea and sank. Dingle then did a subsequent adventure entitled Rex Baxter United Nations Counterspy, a post war story in which Baxter was assigned the task of tracking down Adolf Hitler, a quest that took him to the undersea kingdom of Mu.
As can be seen below, after Good left, the length of the stories was about halved and they lost their science fiction/fantasy character. “Rex Baxter” not only lost its prevalence as a cover feature, but appears never to have graced a Dime Comics cover again. The “Rex Baxter Adventurers Club” which appears as a separate entry, was also dropped. It can be safely said that under Good, “Rex Baxter” was the preeminent feature in Dime Comics.
When Bell converted Dime to colour Rex Baxter was dropped and Dime became a catch-all for reprints of minor U.S. strips.
PERIODICAL GRAPHIC ANTHOLOGY:
|Front: Illus., Unidentified.. Dime Comics …, Bell Features & Publishing Co.|
|1-1, Feb. 1942,||1-3, no date.|
|Front: Illus., Edmond Good. Dime Comics …. No date. Bell Features & Publishing Co.|
|“Rex Baxter and the Island of Doom.” Car., E. Good. Dime Comics, No date unless stated. . Bell Features & Publishing Co. Black & white.|
|No title. 1-1, Feb. 1942: 1-20.
No title. 1-3: 1-20.
“The Land That Time Forgot.” 1-6: 1-15.
|No title. 1-9: 1-15.
“Captured By The Devil Men.” 1-10: 1-15.
“Gateway To Freedom.” 1-13: 1-14.
|“Rex Baxter and Xalanta’s Secret.” Car., Adrian Dingle. . Dime Comics, no date. Bell Features & Publishing Co. Black & white.|
|1-17: 1-7.||1-18: 1-7||1-19: 1-7.||1-20: 1-7||1-21: 1-7||1-22: 1-7.|
|“Rex Baxter: Untied Nations Counterspy.” Car., Adrian Dingle. . Dime Comics, no date. Bell Features & Publishing Co. Black & white.|
|1-23: 1-7.||1-24: 1-7.||1-25: 1-6||1-27: 1-6.|
“Rex Baxter (Canada).” Writ., Peter Harris. The World Encyclopedia of Comics. Ed., Maurice Horn. Chelsea House Publishers, 1976: 580.
Illus., Edmond Good. Dime Comics, 1-9: Front cover.
Illus., Edmond Good. Dime Comics, 1-13: Front cover.