Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Top 10 King Faraday Covers

I can't say I've had terribly much experience with King Faraday. I read the '90s Danger Trail mini-series and watched the pre-Bond super spy pop up from time to time in DC's espionage and (of all places) Titans books. Like a lot of people, it wasn't until Darwyn Cooke made Faraday a pivotal character in his much-heralded DC: The New Frontier prestige format mini-series, and created an important and heretofore nonexistent association with J'onn J'onzz, that Faraday blew up on my radar. Cooke's cold warrior was one of that book's finest characterizations, and the manner in which he related to an alien visitor during the xenophobic McCarthy era was delight. Unfortunately, little has been done to capitalize on Faraday's elevated visibility aside from a supporting role in the defunct Checkmate relaunch.

I wonder if Cooke knew that King Faraday had secured the name The House of Mystery via an ashcan edition dated December 1950/January 1951? The black and white throwaway produced for trademark/copyright purposes was thrown together from the cover to the previous month's Danger Trail and the interiors of Star Spangled Comics #109. The latter starred J'onn J'onzz co-creator Joe Samachson's Tomahawk; Captain Compass, a strip unseated from Detective Comics by John Jones; and a Manhunters Around The World feature. Given Robin the Boy Wonder shares a super-hero universe with the Martian Manhunter, Cooke tied the final character from that ashcan's source material to one of the House of Mystery's most famous residents...

10) Danger Trail #2 (May 1993)

King's face is all kinds of strained, and the skirt is just too much.

9) Danger Trail #3 (November-December 1950)

Detailed, but a bit stiff and blah.

8) Showcase #51 (July-August, 1964)

Falling through a skylight is dramatic, so I guess this is my Infantino prejudice shining through.

7) Danger Trail #4 (July, 1993)

In Like Flint? The goggles and super-villain elements go a bit overboard, and the random action elements feel like a retread of the first issue's cover.

6) Danger Trail #4 (January-February 1951)
I love the colors and the added threat of the grenade.

5) Showcase #50 (May-June, 1964)
Kinda askew, kinda neat.

4) Danger Trail #3 (July, 1993)
Those faces are pretty exaggerated, but the perspective and rappelling no-goodniks sell it.

3) Danger Trail #1 (July-August 1950)
Wonderful Hitchcockian suspense vibe here, and dig those shadows.

2) Danger Trail #2 (September-October 1950)

You really get a sense of drifting through the night sky toward intrigue and peril. The stupid chica peeking out of the corner really bugs me, though.

1) Danger Trail #1 (April, 1993)
Paul Gulacy's covers were the bait that hooked me as the interiors switched to rather poor Infantino art, but I still love them.

Check out more spotlight countdowns of great art from the past 75 years of DC Comics Covers at DC75: Top Character Covers of the Dodranscentennial


LissBirds said...

Wow...Faraday had a lot of adventures that I didn't know about. I knew about I Spy!, but that was it. And premature gray hair is second only to complete baldness on the scale of Superhero Coolness.

Diabolu Frank said...

Neither does Comicvine, as I had to swipe all the original Danger Trail covers from GCD, then edit and host them myself. A nice trade could be made of that run, or a single volume Archive, but Tom pointed out that Faraday's adventures predate DC's film files (applied then to Captain Comet, but the point holds.)

I'd rank premature gray over baldness. I'm still waiting for one to kick in, as my glasses make me look like a Nazi war criminal when I try going the other way. Also, silverhairs in turtlenecks are awesome, where bald guys just look like longshoremen.