Heroes don’t come more heroic than Doc Savage. This superhero was so special that he didn’t need any special powers. Created by Lester Dent, who wrote as Kenneth Robeson, in 1933, Doc Savage has entertained several generations of comic and paperback readers with his thrilling battles against evil.
He started life in pulp magazines published by Street and Smith but many of you will also know him from the Bantam paperbacks of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Doc’s certainly not forgotten, Altus Press is still publishing his stories, but he is due for a revival.
The Doc Savage Magazine was published from 1933 until 1949 and there were 181 issues, which are worth treasuring if you have any. Bantam Books gave him new life in 1964 when they began repackaging the original stories with memorable cover artwork from illustrator James Bama. Broad shoulders, bronzed skin and a widow’s peak, Bama’s cover model was an actor called Steve Holland who had played Flash Gordon in a 1953 TV series.
Clark Savage, Jr., nicknamed Doc, has no special powers but was trained from birth to be a perfect man with exceptional strength, agility and mental prowess. An expert in science and disguise, Doc had a photographic memory and was a skilled martial arts fighter although he refused to kill people.
Driven to fight evil, Doc has an office in New York skyscraper, a hideaway in the Artic, and a goldmine in Central America. His companions included “Monk” Mayfair and “Ham” Brooks, and nicknames abound.