Zagor was created in 1961 by writer Sergio Bonelli, the son of Gian Luigi Bonelli, author of western character Tex Willer, and artist Gallieno Ferri, who has been working at Zagor's stories for more than fifty years.
Since its creation Zagor has been one of most popular Italian comics, alongside characters such Tex Willer, Dylan Dog, Diabolik and Lupo Alberto. Zagor comics are a unique mixture of classical western genre and other topics like pure adventure, fantasy, historical, and since he has fought against vampires and aliens, even horror and science fiction.
His full battle name is Za-Gor Te-Nay, pretended to mean, in some fictional native American language "The spirit with the hatchet". Zagor embraces a philosophy of neutrality among races, but, since his mission is to protect the weakest people against injustice, he often takes the side of the Indians against the oppression of the white Americans.
He lives in a wooden hut built in a swamp, in the middle of the fictional Darkwood Forest, located across the boundaries of three American states of the Midwest: Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. His stories are set in the first half of the nineteenth century, when the American frontier began to move toward west.
Patrick Wilding was born in Eastern United States in the early nineteenth century. Young Pat grew happy and thoughtless in a house on the bank of the Clear Water River, together with his beloved parents, Mike and Betty. His father, Mike Wilding, was a former Official of the US Army who, after having distinguished in many battles, had left the violence of the military campaigns to live in harmony with both Indians and whites, in a log cabin in the heart of the Forest of Darkwood.
The dream of happiness of young Pat was shattered in a quiet summer day, when Mike, breathless, barricaded himself in the house just before an unexplained attack by a tribe of Abenaki natives, led by a renegade whose name was branded in the heart of the child: Salomon Kinsky.
The Abenaki laid siege to the cabin and in spite of the fury and the courage with which the child's parents were fighting, their fate was already sealed. With heart full of hope little Pat was entrusted to the waters of the river, and the faces of his parents furrowed with grief and illuminated by the glow of burning logs were the last indelible image of them for the boy.
Patrick Wilding was picked up freezing and stunned by the man who would have been his guide and master of his life, Nathaniel Fitzgeraldson. Some time later, He and Pat returned to the hut, where they found the mangled remains of Mike and Betty.
Under the watchful eye of the concerned man, the young orphan buried his parents, and, his heart full of pain, uttered a terrible prophecy of revenge.
Pat and Wandering Fitzy spent seven years together wandering through the wilderness of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia. Pat became increasingly strong and experienced in the art of handling the hatchet, the only weapon used, with incomparable craftsmanship, by Fitzy .
Wherever they went, however, the boy was obsessed by the figure of Kinsky and kept asking him. Nathaniel tried in every way to convince Pat to desist from his pursuit: "Justice", he used to say, "as the whole truth, is never one-sided".
The showdown with Salomon Kinsky came after seven long years in which hatred of Pat had not weakened at all: in a small town near Lake Ontario some men knew the preacher, who led a seemingly blameless life, helping and educating a group of fifty Abenaki who lived in peace and cultivated the land. Pat gets away from his life-long friend and rushes against the peaceful tribe, deaf to the warnings of Fitzy, who tries for the last time to warn him from the dangers of truth, and blind in his blind desire of vengeance. He attacks the Indians without warning, leaving death and destruction before he could enter the village and finally confront the man who believed the Executioner of his parents.
In a dramatic confrontation, the old preacher, with a bitter laugh, reveals to the boy the awful truth, that falls like a boulder on his fragile consciousness: he invites Patrick to rummage through an old chest in which some newspaper clippings are collected, substantiating the infamy which had stained his father, Lt. Mike Wilding, expelled from the army as the slaughterer of Silver Lake. In fact he had killed 320 Abenakis blamed of having given hospitality to some fugitives. Three hundred and twenty men, women and children who had agreed to live peacefully and had embraced Christianity under the guidance of the young Reverend Kinsky. During the confrontation Fitzy is struck by the bullet shot by Kinsky and intended for his friend, and dies in the arms of the young Pat, who has to collect a new remorse. Patrick, devastated, leaves the village with only one certainty. To expiate all the evil committed, atone for his sins and those of his father, without being influenced by prejudice, and always looking for all aspects of the truth.