Monday, January 06, 2014

Number 1503: Hiking the Danger Trail

The King Faraday lead story from DC’s Danger Trail #1 (1950) begins with a reference to a popular 1948 movie, Sorry, Wrong Number. Here’s an ad for the movie, taken from Life magazine:
The story that follows is as unlikely as the plot of the movie that King complains about, but is entertaining in its pulpish way. When you get through the overcooked first person narrative and snappy dialogue there is even a bit of space left for the artist to work in! The type of smartass, two-fisted character represented here by King Faraday was familiar to pulp magazine and paperback book readers, as well as radio listeners of the forties. In contrast to that other media, a comic book should let the pictures, not hefty captions, tell most of the story.

Story by Robert Kanigher, edited by Julius Schwartz, art by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.


Here’s another King Faraday story. Just click on the thumbnail:


Daniel [] said...

I've listened to a fair amount of radio crime drama from the late '40s and early '50s, and this story, with all its problems, is very much like that stuff. The good-guy characters are appealing, but the story gets evermore implausible; towards the end, something is brought-in from left field to tidy things up; and the hero gets knocked-out with no long-term effects to cognition, mood, or coördination.

One thing that I don't like about those stories, and fear was true here, was that the female leads were all one-and-done. Even as a kid, I preferred that the hero not play at romance, but either have a steady girl or just be solitary.

Pappy said...

Daniel, I think aiming any entertainment — movies, comics, books, etc. — at a young male audience created the one-and-done female stereotype. I liken it to James Bond, with a steady supply of beautiful females, always available, always willing. Nice fantasy, but only that.

Daniel [] said...

Clearly there's a share of the audience who enjoys such fantasies, but I wonder how the size of that share actually changes with age-groups.

Writing tends to be at least as much about writers seeking to legitimize or vindicate themselves, as about revenue.

The one Bond novel that I read (Dr. No) was by a writer who was about 54 years old, about a Bond who was in his late 30s or older (a veteran of WWII who was acutely aware of the difference between his age and that of the female lead).

Kanigher might indeed have simply been writing based upon a theory of the wants of some demographic, but I note that he was in his mid-thirties, and using a pattern established by men who were about that age or older.

(BTW, note that Philip Marlowe, the most enduring of the hard-boiled private detective characters, didn't play at romance, in spite of a steady supply of beautiful, available women.)

Pappy said...

Oddly enough, Daniel, by coincidence the only Bond novel I read was Dr. No, which I picked up and read when the first Bond film came out. I found it a book that did not fulfill the same fantasies playing out in the movie. (I was 15-years-old at the time, and fantasies occupied at least 75% of my waking time.)