KING FARADAY

 
Full Name: King Faraday
Nationality: American
Organization: CBI
Occupation Agent

Creator: Robert Kanigher , Carmine Infantino
Time Span: 1950 - 1953
ABOUT THE SERIES

       King Faraday is an agent with American Intelligence.
       At least when we first meet him he is. His exact employer is not specified but the hard-boiled way he approached life and danger while rescuing a beautiful dame from some goons make it seem as though this silver-haired operative might have been a private investigator. The impetuousness he shows when he just happens to overhear a murder plot shows his love of excitement and being in the thick of things
       What we also learn from that adventure is that Faraday likes movies and women and not necessarily in that order. He apparently attended college since he talked about being left on the bench during a game with Notre Dame. He is quick witted and agile and not unwilling to leap out of upper floor window to avoid lead pellets.
       The next time we see Faraday, he is asked to help an old friend, a government agent, get a captured scientist out of a foreign prison. He shows no hesitation taking the job and does not blink when told there would be no backup in case of trouble. We still do not have any affiliation with any organization.
       It is in the third recorded adventure that we see Faraday thrown into a mission for "counter-intelligence" but he was not working for anyone when they came to call; he had just watched a man fall from a high-rise. His interest in the why causes Faraday to lose the girl he was with. "If you prefer thinking about murder instead of moonlight ... Goodby!" was her parting comment. The next day he's investigating former Nazi nuclear scientists.
       As an introduction to the fourth exciting escapade, we learn from Faraday that he has "side-stepped death in many different guises all over the world ... int he shape of bullets in Belgium, Machetes in Manaos, and typhoons in Tahiti. This time he is in the African island of Madagascar and he soon gets involved in government upheaval in that nation but not before an old friend, a high ranking policeman, dies in front of him of poison (Faraday knows it is poison in a drink because he tastes it to be sure!).
       The fifth recorded adventure has him again approached by an old friend, Major Lester, of Counter-Intelligence to catch a dangerous spy who is then quite interested in killing him. It is hard to tell from the description whether he worked for Lester or was doing him a favor for old times sake. Regardless, at least another beautiful woman takes the time to fall literally into his arms so that was something.

       It was only after his solo adventures that we get a clue as to Faraday's connection with the government but as the tales come and go, exactly who he works for sort of changes. He is a "federal agent" and a "government agent" and maybe even with the "FBI" and later certainly with the Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI). He will be connected with them for some time.
       When the intelligence agency known as Checkmate comes into existence, he becomes a major part of that. Since it is based on the game of chess, his position is that of the White Queen's Knight (aka White Knight) for several adventures.
       So exactly who does he work for? Hard to say. Maybe he just likes job-jumping.
       Whoever he works for, his love of a snappy line remains. In one televised episode, he is heard stating, "Attention, unidentified craft. This is Special Agent King Faraday. Your vessel is currently surrounded by three United States Navy Seawolf-class submarines. While I strongly suggest that you surrender immediately and prepare to be boarded, I really enjoy firing Trident missiles at tiny little subs, so the decision's entirely up to you."

       I read somewhere that Faraday's first name came as the result of a father's sense of humor and the play on worlds of "King For A Day". If it was mentioned in the adventures, I misses it. But I liked the joke nevertheless.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Stories:8
First Appearance:1950
Last Appearance:1953

       In 1950 DC Comics, having had a pretty good run so far with Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, and the like, seemed to be expanding its lineup, heading out into areas other than superheroes because they were becoming almost passé. Naturally, leaving such powerhouses behind would be foolish but not looking into other areas would also not be good business.
       So numerous non-powered characters would get their chance to shine. One of the titles was Danger Trail and in its pages would be several different tales of adventure and, well, danger. The magazine lasted only 5 issues before disappearing and in those 5 issues, only one repeat character was depicted. King Faraday was there for the 1st through 4th issue with an exciting and long considering it was an anthology magazine. Faraday did not make it into the 5th issue and the magazine did not make it past that.
       Apparently there had been a 5th Faraday story, however, because just a couple years after Danger Trail came and went, that tale showed up as a back item in the very popular World's Finest Comics. That magazine had been a place for new stories about Superman and about Batman and Robin and would some time later become the place where Superman and Batman worked together. There were often back stories to fill the pages in each of the issues and in #64, the story was the last solo adventure of Faraday.

       Jump ahead a decade and in the showcase magazine cleverly called Showcase, a magazine devoted to giving new characters or secondary characters a chance to shine. In two consequtive issues, four of the previously told tales were reprinted. And then the spotlight moved on to someone else and Faraday disappears again. For a while.
       That while lasted another 14 years. Then in a major collection of Showcase stars for the 100th edition, apparently all or nearly all of those who had been in the previous issues showed up in one way or another for a major event in which that finicky old space/time continuum gets messed with. Faraday's part in the story was small but at least he was asked.
       Having been asked, though, was enough to get him noticed, if not by the readers enough to demand a full-time return, at least enough by the writers who, in need of a government agent to growl and snarl and threaten and cadjole super-heroes into doing things, thought of King Faraday and said, 'why not?'

       From that point on, King Faraday, who had never really had a definitive job, gets a good number of them. His employer changes from time to time, unless he was misrepresenting who he answered to or, more likely, the superheroes who are usually quick to react and slow to think about it just got it wrong.
       For whatever reason, Faraday would become a common reappearing thorn in many a side of a powered person. He especially annoyed Dick Grayson who dealt with him over the years as Robin, Nightwing, and just Grayson. They seldom had nice things to say about each other but that made the relationship fun.
       Also fun at times was the rivalry between Faraday and a resurgent Sarge Steel who, like Faraday, was brought back to be the voice of the cloak and dagger world whenever it intruded into superhero work or vice versa.

       Faraday would be given one more, as of this writing, solo adventure in 1993 when a very nasty fellow called Kobra tries to create a weapon of mass destruction to use for very nasty business. It was a pretty intense fight between them and lasted 4 issues.

       After that, Faraday returned to the sidelines, popping up once in a while for this reason or that but in a larger role with the new intelligence organization, Checkmate, which would find itself mixed up in just about everybody's business in the whole DC universe. Faraday was certainly not present in all those times but enough to make sure virtually everyone who wore a cape or spandex knew his name. Most of them without pleasure.

       I have listed a good number of the magazines that that Faraday has been in. There are more that follow the ones I have listed and possibly one or two I missed before then. My information is from a fantastic site: Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe. What a treasure trove of info that site is.
       If I made any mistakes, though, it is my fault and not theirs.

1 Hunters of the Whispering Gallery Hunters of the Whispering Gallery
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Robert Kanigher (writer), Carmine Infantino (pencils), Joe Giella (inks)
Copyright: 07/1950

From Danger Trail #1 - Overhearing a plot to kill a person at a train station, King Faraday cannot pass up the chance to get involved if only to learn who is doing it to whom.
Reprinted in Showcase #51

2 Hangman's House Hangman's House
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Robert Kanigher (writer), Carmine Infantino (pencils), Joe Giella (inks)
Copyright: 09/1950

From Danger Trail #2 - The House in the title is a prison stronghold. A kidnapped scientist is being held there. An old spy colleague of King Faraday asks Faraday for help in breaking in and breaking the man out.
Reprinted in Showcase #50

3 Thunder Over Thailand Thunder Over Thailand
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Joe Giella (inks), Carmine Infantino (pencils), Robert Kanigher (writer)
Copyright: 11/1950

From Danger Trail #3 - When he seems more interested in murder than romance and loses his date, King Faraday finds time to get over her by chasing a nuclear scientist into the jungles of Thailand.
Reprinted in Showcase #51

4 Reign of the Scarlet Umbrella Reign of the Scarlet Umbrella
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Joe Giella (inks), Carmine Infantino (pencils), Robert Kanigher (writer)
Copyright: 01/1951

From Danger Trail #4 - Having a buddy of his, a police chief in Madagascar that King Faraday is visiting, die from poison while they had a light lunch gets Faraday very angry and determined to find who killed him and why.

5 Spy Train Spy Train
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Carmine Infantino (pencils), Robert Kanigher (writer), Sy Berry (inks)
Copyright: 05/1953

From World's Finest Comics #64 - Tracking a killer on the Orient Express, King Faraday is rather surprised when not one but two attempts on his life are made and neither by the man he is following.
Reprinted in Showcase #50 and Fantomet #7

6 I-Spy! I-Spy!
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Len Wein (writer), Carmine Infantino (pencils)
Copyright: 05/1964

From Showcase #50 - reprints of Hangman's House and Spy Train

7 I-Spy! 2 I-Spy! 2
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Len Wein (writer), Carmine Infantino (pencils)
Copyright: 07/1964

From Showcase #51 - reprints of Hunters of the Whispering Gallery and Thunder Over Thailand

8 There Shall Come a Gathering There Shall Come a Gathering
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Paul Kupperbers (writer), Paul Levitz (writer), Joe Staton (artist)
Copyright: 05/1978

From Showcase #100 - Major collection of stars from previous issues of the magazine who join forces to combat a major hassle with the time/space continuum. King Faraday plays a very, very small part.

9 Two For The Money Two For The Money
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Frank McLaughlin (inks), Irv Hovick (pencils), Len Wein (writer), Glynis Wein (colors)
Copyright: 07/1979

From Batman #313 and #314 - a two-part adventure. The US Missile Defense System's binary activation code has been stolen by Two-Face who intends to sell it back to America as well as to a foreign power. Batman is out to stop him and so is King Faraday.

10 Will You Believe Me When I'm Dead? Will You Believe Me When I'm Dead?
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Cary Bates (writer), F. Charamonte (inks), Don Heck (pencils)
Copyright: 10/1980

From Flash #290 - The Flash gets interested in the troubles of a young woman when she comes to the police station to complain that she is being stalked by Barry Allen. Since the Flash was Allen and he was not stalking her, he gets interested. He also gets shot at by King Faraday who needs his help catching the attacker.

11 The Lazarus Affair The Lazarus Affair
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Frank McLaughlin (artist), Irv Hovick (artist), Marv Wolfman (writer), Adrienne Roy (colors)
Copyright: 02/1981

From Batman #332-#335 - a four-part adventure. A powerful rival to Bruce Wayne is seriously underbidding many contracts to hurt Wayne Enterprises. King Faraday shows up to get the help of Robin and Catwoman to find what happened to his old partner 10 years before. Things gets confusing after that.

13 Beware The Wildebeest, My Son! Beware The Wildebeest, My Son!
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Marv Wolfman (writer), Carmine Infantino (pencils), Dennis Jensen (inks)
Copyright: 07/1981

From Adventure Comics #483 - Special Government agent of the US asked by Kenya to capture the villain Wildebeest who wants to "kill or kidnap every animal that's on the endangered species list". Had a couple of good lines: "Superheroes. Just what I need" and later, "Sheesh! These superheroes . They get more uppity every day."

14 A Pretty Girl Is Like A ... Maladi! A Pretty Girl Is Like A ... Maladi!
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: George Perez (artist), Marv Wolfman (writer)
Copyright: 04/1982

From New Teen Titans v1 #18 - A Russian is very angry with America and wants some major revenge. He uses Starfire's fiancée, Maladi, to get it. King Faraday, supposedly working for the FBI provides the lead the Teen Titans need. His relationship with Robin remains as caustic as ever.

15 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Marv Wolfman (writer), Eduardo Barreto (pencils), Romeo Tanghal (inks)
Copyright: 04/1986

From New Teen Titans v.2 #19-22 - a three-part adventure - As the Teen Titans undergo a major schism that has been building for some time, leader Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, gets a call from King Faraday, now with the SIA, saying the government needs the help of the Teen Titans. So she forms a new group of them. The mission is based on renewed talks between the US and USSR which some Russians radicals want to stop and they have hired a super-villain named Cheshire to do it.

16 The Lady's Name is... Godiva The Lady's Name is... Godiva
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Mike Collins (pencils), Marv Wolfman (writer), Romeo Tanghal (inks)
Copyright: 1987

From New Teen Titans v.2 Annual #3 - The super-villain named Godiva steals a satellite and offers it to the highest bidder. Two agents go missing trying to stop her and their son, also an agent for the CBI, asks King Faraday for help. When he is not allow to give it, the young man turns to the Teen Titans.

17 The Cuckoo Conspiracy The Cuckoo Conspiracy
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Mike Collins (pencils), R.J.M. Lofficier (writer), Romeo Tanghal (inks)
Copyright: 06/1988

From New Teen Titans v.2 #44 - The super-villain assassin Godiva is hired to eliminate a retired agent named Cuckoo. Visiting this same agent are the Titans when King Faraday shows up to let them know trouble is on the way.

17.5 The Janus Directive Part 8: Heavy Squad The Janus Directive Part 8: Heavy Squad
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: John K. Snyder III (pencils), John Ostrander; Kim Yale (writer), Pablo Marcos (inks and pencils)
Copyright: 06/1989

From Suicide Squad v.1 #29 - At the tale end of an 8-issue, very confusing, storyline, King Faraday makes a cameo appearance, adding nothing I could see.

18 Controls Controls
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Marv Wolfman (writer), George Perez (plot and pencils), Bob McLeod (inks)
Copyright: 09/1989

From New Titans #58 - plot unknown

19 Caging The Tiger Caging The Tiger
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Robert Greenberger (writer), Luke McDonnell (pencils), Geof Isherwood (inks)
Copyright: 02/1990

From Suicide Squad v1 #38 - Sarge Steel tries to break the Bronze Tiger. King Faraday shows up as a CBI agent working for Steel.

19.5 The Harlequin Carnival The Harlequin Carnival
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Joey Cavalieri (writer), Carmine Infantino (pencils), Frank McLaughlin (inks)
Copyright: 1992

From Ms. Tree Quarterly #8 - King Faraday is in Venice on an assignment with a new female agent when an attempt to abduct her gets spoiled by Faraday and he is very interested in why the attacker was so interested in her.

20 The Serpent in the Garden File The Serpent in the Garden File
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Carmine Infantino (pencils), Len Wein (writer), Frank McLaughlin (inks)
Copyright: 02/1993

From Danger Trail v2. - A four-issue mini-series. The assistant to a kidnapped physicist has information vital to the country so the CBI sends King Faraday to Russia to safeguard her. Going up against him is the super-villain Kobra who wants to use the information to create a WMD.
The chapter names were:
On the Road Again!
Hot Pursuit!
Coiled to Strike
Into the Snake Pit

21 Rough Air Rough Air
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Dick Girodano (inks), Stuart Immoken (pencils and writer)
Copyright: 1996

From Showcase '96 #12 - King Faraday and Sarge Steel are rivals at the CBI on a mission together to convey a plane load of foreign dignitaries to a conference in DC. Faraday claims he is not really with the CBI but Steel insists, "You work for me. You're CBI." Pals they are not.

22 World War III World War III
Published by DC Comics
Contributors: Pat Olliffe (pencils), Keith Champagne (writer)
Copyright: 06/2007

From World War III - a compilation of the 4-part mega-series - The Martian Manhunter is out to capture Black Adam but the way he does it causes a lot of people to get very angry and take sides leading to a major confrontation. King Faraday plays a small part in three of the issues as the White Queen's Knight.

MY COMMENTS

       So many comic books spies from the 30s - 50s came and went. King Faraday was not one of them. He came and went and came back and disappeared and then came back over and over. He was a hard-boiled detective styled operative when we first met him and he stayed that gruff, quick-tempered "do not mess with me" sort of guy throughout it all.
       Considering the number of different writers who threw him into a tale, the fact that he did not change his surliness much is a compliment to them all.
       There are a lot of similarities between Faraday and Marvel's top spy, Nick Fury, but there are far too many differences to make the mistaken notion they were counterbalances for each other. It is nice, though, that both major comic book publishers had their own gruff and growling hard boiled spy to get involved all over the place.

       I like Faraday. Well, I really like reading about him. Except for the myriad females who throw their lips against his in the early days, I do not think many people actually like Faraday. But I like hearing about him. From time to time.

GRADE

My Grade: B+

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