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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #88

Doctor Week: Part Five! An apple a day won’t keep this doctor away. Normally, I would drop a hint or two in the header here as to who the featured person/character of the day is, but frankly, I’m too pulped out. …oops.

3/29/07

88. Doc Savage

Doc Savage 1.jpg

I miss the pulp hero. Lester Dent gave us the best. Doc Savage is the epitome of the pulp adventurer. He’s a doctor, a scientist, a fighter, and a dozen other things– he’s very much a modern renaissance man. He’s basically a pre-Batman: a tough-as-nails expert in all things, trained from birth to be the perfect male specimen. Doc’s got it all. He’s rich, he’s strong, he’s got his own fortress of solitude that pre-dates Superman’s! He’s also called the Man of Bronze. I can see why. Look at his skin. The man is extremely tan. He either coats himself in oils all the time, or he’s got some hideous skin cancer no one’s told him about.

The pulp magazines were the precursors to serial comics, and I’m going to treat Doc Savage (real name: Clark Savage, Jr) in much the same way as I did the Shadow– he’s comic book hero from outside comics, though he’s starred in plenty of them. The pulps helped birth and became absorbed by the comics industry; therefore, Doc Savage fits as a Reason, whereas Doctor Who doesn’t. Hopefully that makes sense.

His pulp magazine, however, is where it started, and there are about five trillion novels out there as well. In terms of comics, Savage has had multiple series: an old old run from Street & Smith in the Golden Age, a couple runs from DC, a couple from Marvel, a few from Millenium publications, an issue from Gold Key, etc. He’s been the archetype of a pulp hero, true, but has veered off into multiple adventure-type genres, including a stint as a full-fledged superhero in the Golden Age.

Doc Savage 4.jpg

Now there’s a surreal cover. Doc Savage teams with George Burns! I’d love to see that. So long as Doc Savage wasn’t played by John Denver.

Doc Savage stories predicted the future: answering machines, automatic transmissions, automatic weapons, night vision goggles– the Doc beat reality to the punch! And you do not want to screw with him– he lobotomized a lot of his enemies to set them straight. Let’s hope no one gets the bright idea to do a Doc Savage “Identity Crisis.”

Doc Savage 3.jpg

Rocket skis! Dig it. When will reality catch up and give me the rocket skis I’ve been dreaming about?

I quite like the concept of Doc Savage, and I think it’s time for a revival. Warren Ellis’ Apparat line of one-shots taught me the pulp heroes can easily survive in modern times and lead to plenty of good stories. Doc Savage can return to herald us to a new era of adventure stories. He’s the hero who can exist comfortably in any genre: on land, under the sea, above the clouds, fighting in the jungle, in the city, in space. And no one can pull off the ripped shirt look like Doc Savage. He’s got that market cornered.

Here, have some covers:

Doc Savage 2.jpgDoc Savage 5.jpg

I’d like to go far more in-depth, but I’m hampered by my shameful lack of knowledge and a rising illness. Fear not, though, I shall soon link you to fantastic Doc Savage resources that will tell you far more than I ever could. Heck, just ask fellow CSBGer Greg Hatcher. He’s the resident expert on this type of thing. Hopefully, I just shined some extra light on a pulp hero who deserves to be remembered and embraced by current and future readers.

As it stands, I’m completely hopped up on Dayquil, so the above could all be gibberish. Hence, I will leave the following to you, dear readers: how would you resurrect the concept of Doc Savage? A new comic? Novels? Movies? TV? Radio series? Go crazy.

Also, I bring links:
Doc Savage Organized
Doc Savage: The Supreme Adventurer
The 86th Floor
Doc Savage at ThePulp.net

8 Comments

I love Doc Savage!

I’m reading the Bantam reprints of the pulps and they are great. I highly suggest that people check out Nostalgia Ventures’ facsimile reprints of the Doc Savage pulps. And buy the Shadow ones too!

We may be seeing new novels soon. After Bantam Books finished reprinting all 181 of the Doc stories(with a lost story thrown in), they started a new line with Will Murray adapting unused plots by Lester Dent. The line has lay dormant for many years, but in one of the Nostalgia Ventures Shadow reprints, Murray is mentioned as the writer of a forthcoming Doc novel. Yay!

A new movie would be perfect as long as they sidestep the mistakes made in the 1975 George Pal Doc Savage movie, which was campy beyond belief. The Man of Bronze deserved better.

The DC Doc series is worth a look. Copies can be found cheap on eBay.

Finally, that cover at the top looks awful. Doc looks as if he’s been flayed! Give me James Bama’s version any time.

Why is Doc being played by Leslie Nielsen on that third cover?

If you get all the way through Doctor Week without including Doctor Manhattan, I fear that my head will explode. Please, consider the consequences.

Maybe there should have been a Doctor week & a Doc week?
Pulp heroes fueled the early superhero ideas.
DC did some entertaining Annuals a while back with storiies done pulp style.

Never been a big DS fan myself but a buddy of mine is a HUGE fan. Even has a bunch of the old radio shows and has been tracking down the novels. I do believe Moonstone just picked up the property and are going to try and resurrect it much the way they did the Phantom. Looking forward to seeing what they do…

That Stelfreeze cover just rules, doesn’t it?

He also bears a disturbing resemblance to Sting on the first cover.

I see you amongst many feel the same way that I have always felt. That Doc Savage should return. Well, it just so happens, he has!
If you visit my web site you shall see the proof for yourself; as other Doc Savage fans have in the last few months. My first story of his return is of course entitled: “The Return”. But since it was first written/conceived in 1989; I decided to leave it at that time when he returned forty years later after he suddenly disppeared from the face of this world.
The story line was simple, but explaining how and why was not. Especially, how his old aides were still alive when he awakened from his long long nap. He found after a while that; though the world had changed in many ways, people had not. If anything; the world needed a hero more than ever. And now they have one.
I have already written two more adventures to be published on the internet soon. After you read the first; you won’t have long to wait for the others.
I promise. Like Doc, I am here to right wrongs for the good of all humanity.

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