Sam Spade, pipe-smoking sophisticate sleuth Mr. Risk, inspired by the success of classy newspaper strip detective Kerry Drake was a welcome breath of fresh air.
I usually do my own profile of the character in these Hero(ine) Histories, but the intro on the splash page of his first solo issue is so extensive, I'll just quote it verbatim and add a couple of details in italics...
"In every profession there is usually one person whose highly-developed skill places him far above his fellow members.
When it comes to private investigators, one such man immediately comes to mind.
A man of such enormous talents, that all others are dabbling amateurs by comparison.
His wealth is surpassed only by his courage. No explanation was ever given as to how he became rich (inherited, earned, stolen, etc.)
For example, he carries no gun, although his cases bring him in direct contact with armed and desperate criminals. Luckily, he's a martial arts expert!
A man of great generosity, he donates all his fees to worthy, recognized charities. Real ones are promoted, including the Red Cross, March of Dimes, and the Damon Runyon Memorial Fund!
For sheer toughness, brilliance of mind, and genuine compassion for those in distress, there is none to compare with the incomparable Mr. Risk." His first name is unknown.
While we don't know his given name, his artistic pedigree was amazing!
His first appearance as a backup in Our Flag Comics #5, and his ongoing strip in Super-Mystery Comics and Four Favorites were written and illustrated by a young Harvey Kurtzman before he went to EC Comics and became one of the most celebrated editor/writer/artists of all time on books like Tales from the Crypt and Mad!
When Mr Risk received his own two-issue title, John Buscema (Conan, Fantastic Four, Avengers, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way) took over the art!
Though not seen since the late 1940s, he's one of the most popular characters in the Private Dicks section of our Crime & Punishment™ collectibles line.
So, to paraphrase his business card...If in dire peril, click on Mr. Risk!