The Doc Savage stories always make me laugh. He’s got this team, but in pulp team-ups, each member of the team normally brings some skills or abilities to the table that are deficient in the others - but Doc Savage is better than all of them at everything. And significantly better, too, thus making his whole team completely superfluous - something that the stories (or at least the ones I’ve read) seem to like reminding readers, constantly. It’s the kind of dynamic that Mitchell and Webb parodied with their “BMX Bandit and Angel Summoner” skits.
This article was spot-on and right up my alley. When the mood strikes me, I’m a Conan/Tars Tarcas/Tarzan man myself! Sorry I’m not adding to the conversation; I created an account just to let me know you sold me a book.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Modesty Blaise, both the comic strip and books. I think she falls under the pulp banner anyway, being impressively good at a vast number of skills. I guess James Bond would be the male version of MB, but with MB being more kick ass.
The cover art made me think of Modesty Blaise first thing, so I was surprised it was not mentioned in the article.
I have a soft spot for Edwin Charles Tubb’s books about cap Kennedy (perhaps because I was the right age when I read them). Another almost perfect hero, who unlike doc Savage manages to find a team who actually have useful skills.
Doc’s personality did “soften” somewhat over the years, particularly in the post-WW II era, when he became less the infallible “superman”, and somewhat more down-to-earth. As for his supernumeraries, they always seemed more functional as comic-relief than as particularly integral to solving mysteries or uncovering plots, as well as simply providing a device for Doc to explain his theories or actions, which was a necessary crutch for plot-driven stories where there was little in the way of internal character narrative.
I hear that The Rock is signed up for the lead in an upcoming Doc Savage movie. That’s a pretty good casting choice if it’s actually filmed.
Doc has to rescue somebody since he doesn’t go for the ladies… I do like the banter between Ham and Monk a lot. Keep in mind the target audience for Doc was 13 year old boys. They are silly but I love them very much.
So, um, are any of these in public domain now? I’m assuming Tarzan and Tars Tarkas…but I know BB ran an article circa 2006 about the squidgy copyright status of Doc Savage.
I know Alan Moore’s Tom Strong is an homage to Doc (at least in part), but that is definitely a character I’d like to see played with from a literary perspective.
signed up entirely to second your Tars Tarkas love. Not only was he awesome, he was unbound by ‘‘cultural restrictions’’ in his thinking. Proper behaviour was what he KNEW to be proper, not what he was expected to do by prejudice.
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