Contents: Doc Savage #1 (August 1975) to #8 (Spring 1977)
Key Creator Credits: Doug Moench, Ken Barr, Tony DeZuniga, and others
Overview: In 1930s New York City, on the 86th floor of a skyscraper that may or may not be the Empire State Building, you can find the offices of Dr. Clark Savage, Jr. Affectionately referred to as Doc Savage, he is the ultimate example of the best that a man could be. Trained as a physician, scientist, inventor, researcher, and more, Savage is the modern renaissance man. With the help of his loyal friends, Doc Savage takes on challenges that no other mortal man could do, as evidenced by his sworn oath: “I will travel the world, helping those who need help, and punishing those who deserve punishment.”
Originally conceived as a pulp character in the 1930s, Doc Savage has been a part of pulp culture for many years. Originally designed for cheap paperback novels, Savage has also appeared in a movie, on the radio, and naturally in comics books. For this collection of magazine stories from the mid-1970s, Doc Savage and his crew cross the globe on one adventure after another. Along the way, his friends bicker among themselves, we meet Doc Savage’s cousin, who also is also equally bronze in nature, and Doc Savage triumphs over evil at every opportunity.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: This is an interesting collection, which I am glad it finally got to see print. These stories benefit having been told in a magazine format. Most stories run for 50 pages or more, and the stories get a chance to develop without having to reach a cliffhanger moment every 20 pages if this was in a traditional comic book. Writer Doug Moench has a solid understanding of the characters and manages to portray Savage as a larger-than-life hero but not all-powerful like a Superman. The art from Tony DeZuniga really shines through in this format. Track this collection down if you have any interest in Doc Savage.
Meet the Fabulous Five: Doc Savage kept himself surrounded by a team of associates that would assist him on his cases. While each of the men is the best in their respective fields, you get the feeling that Doc Savage always knows more about their chosen professions.
- Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett “Monk” Mayfair, an industrial chemist.
- Brigadier General Theodore Marley “Ham” Brooks, an accomplished attorney.
- Colonel John “Renny” Renwick, a construction engineer.
- Major Thomas J. “Long Tom” Roberts, an electrical engineer.
- William Harper “Johnny” Littlejohn, an archaeologist and geologist.
Footnotes: These Doc Savage magazines were published by Curtis Magazines, a division of Marvel. The rights have bounced around from various publishers over the years. When this collection was published in 2011, the rights were held by DC Comics. DC included Doc Savage in a then ongoing First Wave project that used a lot of pulp heroes from the 1930s.
If you like this volume, try: diving into the back issue bins to find some Doc Savage comics. The character has been published over the years by DC, Marvel, Gold Key, Millennium, and most recently Dynamite Comics. Or track down some of the pulp novels of Doc Savage, either the old original volume or new modern takes on the Man of Bronze. To explore more on everything Doc Savage, check out the Bronze Gazette website run by my friend Terry. They publish a quarterly magazine as well as cover Doc Savage conventions and other appearances of Clark Savage.
Really interesting post! For some reason I always thought this Showcase volume was a collection of DC’s comic book iteration of Doc Savage. Were these magazines originally published in B&W as well?
Yes, the magazines were in B&W! – JM