Welcome to Rotten Ink and the first post in our countdown to the Christmas Eve countdown. It’s crazy to think that we are so close to Christmas 2021, and I for one am looking forward to being around my family to enjoying a good meal with them as well as sharing fun conversations about life and entertainment. And as you friends and readers know, I like to try and cover things in December that brings back memories of not only my youth, but also yours and that’s why I chose to cover classic pulp icon Doc Savage as our first update! Growing up, I can remember Doc Savage not only in the pages of comic books, but also novels that I would pick up at used book stores and garage sales. He was a classic style hero that I liked when I was a kid and unlike Lone Ranger, Flash Gordon and Tarzan for some reason I lost interest in him over the years, and that forgetfulness ends during this update as I will dive back into my love for Doc Savage and his epic adventures! So sit back, grab a mug of hot coco and let’s chat about the Man Of Bronze.
Clark Savage Jr. aka Doc Savage was the son of an adventurer and and scientist who was trained from birth to become the perfect man with the physic of a bodybuilder and the intelligence of a genius! He was trained in many skills to fit his training of being a perfect man as he learned engineering, chemistry, archeology, electricity and even to be a surgeon. He was trained in fighting, being stealth, disguises, driving and other skills needed to be a master spy and man of action. He can fly planes, drive any kind of land vehicles as well as sail any boat. He can play music, throw his voice, remember anything, has a keen sense of smell and can take high levels of pain. Think about your favorite athletes from every sport and times that by 10 and that is how good Doc Savage really is! He started his life as a crime stopper and true hero after his father was murdered and along with a skilled group he calls The Fabulous Five, they save the day and solve mysteries. For his hero life he also has tons of fleet of vehicles of all types at his finger tips, has a base set in a New York skyscraper and has a company called “The Hidalgo Trading Company” and has a hideaway in the Arctic he calls “The Fortress Of Solitude”! He was given the nickname The Man Of Bronze and in his early days of being a crime fighter, those he would captured would be forced to have a brain operation in order to remove the parts on their minds that caused them to be criminals. Doc Savage is considered a true golden age superhero, and while he is not as popular now, he still has made a massive impact in the world of pulp heroes and beyond.
The first Doc Savage novel was released on 1933 and was called “The Man Of Bronze” and was written by Lester Dent who was one of the creators of the character alongside John L. Nanovic and Henry W. Ralston. And the last novel in the series was released in 2018 as of this writing and was called “The Valley Of Eternity” and get this a total of 203 novels were written about Doc Savages adventures! Doc Savage while he made his way to comic and even cinema was more well known for his novel adventures and this is were he built his loyal fan base and fans that kept coming back for more and more adventures. Growing up I can remember seeing many Doc Savage paperback books at garage sales as well as the antique stores in town, and I know that when I was a kid I bought a few of the books…but I don’t ever remember if I read them or just had them. And I know that I got them because I knew of the popularity of the character and had to have the books just in case I wanted to read them and be hip to what was popular why before my time. And to be honest growing up I always loved many of the classic heroes of movies, TV, novel, radio and comics as Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, Tarzan, Zorro, The Shadow, Captain Kirk, The Phantom, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Flash Gordon where all classic characters I loved and could not get enough of…while Doc Savage was in that category of classic heroes he was always sadly on the bottom of the list. Also growing up I can remember that some relative of mine had a large collection of the Doc Savage books, I want to say on my Mom’s side like maybe my Uncle Thurman or even my Grandma or Grandpa. If I have read a Doc Savage novel in my youth I don’t remember, but I know as I get older and have a little more free time I have plans of picking one up and given it a read. Oh and I should note many of the classic Doc Savage novels have fantastic cover artwork!
Did you know that in 1975 a movie was released based on Doc Savage and was released by Warner Brothers? Did you know that actor Ron Ely played Doc Savage in the film? Did you know that originally back in the 60’s Chuck Connors was casted to play Doc Savage in a film that never was? Well now you do! Lester Dent, who was one of the creators of Doc Savage, owned the radio, film and television rights to the character and wanted to get the character on the big screen so bad, and tried to get Hollywood’s attention for decades…but they just would not bite and Dent went to his grave without being able to get a Doc Savage film off the ground. After his death in 1959, the rights went to his widow Norma Dent who as well tried her hardest to get the film to be made, and she got a bite in, well sort of you see a 1966 film was in the works with Chuck Connors on board to play Savage and producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman were super hyped to develop the film, so hyped that they forgot to secure the rights from Norma and by the time all was worked out, the filmmakers had moved on and made the western film “Ride Beyond Vengeance”. One funny thing about this never made film is that Gold Key Comics in 1966 released what would have been the comic book adaptation! I should also note that Lester did get a very short-lived Doc Savage Radio show off the ground, but sadly it did not have an impact and was canceled.
Years would pass and producer George Pal secured the rights from Norma with the idea of making a massive film series that would rival James Bond in classic spy type action. George wanted Steve Reeves who was known for playing Hercules to play Doc Savage, and while he said yes to the part, a writers strike put the film on hold and with that Reeves left the production. When the dust settled it was George Pal and Joe Morhaim who ended up writing the film and casting started with Ron Ely playing Doc Savage, Paul Wexler as Captain Seas, Pamela Hensley as Mona Flores and even Hills Have Eyes actor Michael Berryman played a small part. Michael Anderson was then selected to direct with Warner Brothers agreeing to disrepute and the film rushed into filming. The film when done went up against Jaws and was buried and bombed and worse critics and fans alike seemed to not like the films forced humor and bland story. But the film did have one major fan and that was Norma Dent who praised Ron Ely’s performance as Savage!
The film was a bomb, and this ended the idea of a film series as the sequel that was to be called “Doc Savage: The Arch Enemy Of Evil” was set with even some press shots even being taken, but that was as far as the film got. The film would end up getting released on VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray later on. And this one 1975 film was the only film version of Doc Savage ever released. It’s a shame that this film had to be released alongside Jaws as that locked the film for failure and this also killed the push for this to become a major film series! It also makes me wonder if Chuck Connors or Steve Reeves would have played Doc Savage in the film would it have done better? Or would it have been doomed to the same fate? I saw the film only once and it was on a bad VHS bootleg some many years back. I do own the Warner Archive DVD and should dust it off and give it a watch sometime soon.
Doc Savage was a mega hit in the world of pulp novels, but failed when it came to radio and film, but he was a semi big hit in the world of comic books as some of the biggest publishers have released issues of Savages adventures! I mean look at these publishers that released comics based on Savage: Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Dynamite, Dark Horse and Millennium all gave fans something to read. Growing up I had the Marvel Comic issues as well as the DC and Millennium ones. It’s crazy that Doc Savage comics are not going still and I would love to see the character return to Marvel Comics as imagine Doc having his own series as well as mixed in with other Marvel series like The Avengers and even Predator!
Doc Savage really is one of those classic characters that to me belongs in the same standing with Tarzan, Zorro, Dick Tracy and James Bond to name a few and I for one am glad that he is finally getting the Rotten Ink treatment. I want to think Ebay and Etsy sellers for having these comics in stock and making this update possible. I want to remind you that I as well grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, it’s entertainment value and it’s art and story. So if you are ready, let’s travel to the Marvel Universe and see what Doc Savage is up to, and I also need to say that I am looking forward to reading many of these issues again, and some for the very first time so also let’s see if they hold up!
Doc Savage # 1 **1/2
Released in 1972 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 1 of 8
A man dressed in green and yellow climbs a skyscraper that is being built with a sniper rifle in hand, he finds his target window that is the office of one Doc Savage…who happens not to be in at the moment but his five friends are who are all on edge. As Doc Savage arrives at the office he gets some very bad news that while he was away his father has passed away from an unknown sickness. This triggers Doc Savage to go to his fathers hidden safe and finds very important papers and a land grant…but before he can read them all the way through the assassin takes his shot and Doc and his friends hit not only the ground but the lights and start their work of figuring out who has shot at them and from where. The group acts fast and figures out the place the shot came from and as Doc and most of his friends rush off to get the would be killer the groups lawyer Ham Brooks rushes off to get legal papers ready so they can fly out in the morning to the land from the grant. As Doc Savage and his remaining four friends arrive the rush up the to be built skyscraper as their killer is annoyed that Doc Savage still lives and he thought his shot killed him. When the service elevator jams Doc Savage climbs out and makes his way to the gunman all the while dodging laser blasts from his gun, and when Doc Savage reaches him the fight ends fast and Doc alerts his friends that the man is speaking ancient Mayan. The only thing they get from the assassin is that he is a follower of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and jumps to his death as he would rather die than to speak. Doc Savage and his friend return to the office to find a warning written on the wall from another of the cult members of The Son Of The Feathered Serpent and they swear as a group to get revenge for Doc Savage’s father who they all think now was killed.
The first issue in Marvel Comics Doc Savage is a very fun classic hero read for an aging comic reader like myself who enjoys a slow burn adventures…but I am sure most modern younger comic readers would not enjoy this comic as it really is very “old” in feeling. This issue’s plot has Doc Savage returning home to his office only to find out that hid dad has passed away, he now has a grant for lots of land out of the country and also has someone trying to take his life all this in a matter of minutes! Doc Savage is a hero who shows zero emotion to everything that is going on around him, and uses his skills and training well in order to achieve his goals. We also see that he not only is super strong but is also very skilled in using his brain to win. His friends are called The Fabulous Five and are Ham, Johnny, Monk, Renny and Long Tom all who have skills that help Doc Savage and each other on their world adventures. It’s clear that right now our bad guys are all from The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult who might even been the ones who infected Savage’s father with the illness and seem to really want the land grant that was left for Doc Savage in his fathers safe. They are dangerous for sure as they do not seem to care about taking another persons life and also seem pretty set on ending their own if it comes down to it. While the plot moves pretty fast and feels like the old novels as well as even a hint of James Bond films the downside is that the comic is very wordy and much of the time the things characters are saying really don’t mean much to the over all story, and while some will find that to be a reason not to read this comic…I found it charming in a old school kind of way. The cover for this first issue is pretty cool and I think captures the elements of Doc Savage while also adding a Marvel Comics touch. The interior art is well done and is done by Ross Andru who is an artist that I feel does not get the recognition he should in these modern times. While not a perfect start for a comic series I do think it’s a good one and I am looking forward to reading the second issue.
Doc Savage # 2 **1/2
Released in 1972 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 2 of 8
Doc Savage and his five friends are flying above an airfield in South America and are being fired at by enemies of the government that causes them to crash land…and to the government of Hidalgo they are happy to find Doc Savage and crew to be ok and they also give them another plane to use as our heroes fly deep into the jungle to find the location that was left on the land grant. The area they land in is called “The Valley Of The Vanished” and once out of the plane they are attacked by The Son Of The Feathered Serpent cult and as the fight starts to truly break out they are all commanded to stop by King Chaac and Princess Monja who welcome Doc Savage as they knew and respected his father, but this welcoming is not liked by all when the tribe warrior chief Morning Breeze alerts the King that he and his warriors do not like outsiders in their land! The King informs Doc that he was sent to his kingdom in order to be judged as their land has so much gold that they would like to share with him as well as the Hidalgo people…but only if he is deemed worthy in the next 30 days. That night Morning Breeze and his warriors sneak into the sleeping area of The Fabulous Five and kidnap and drop three of them into a deep well, but unknown to the warriors Doc Savage had over heard the plan and hide in the well and saves his friends before they fall to their deaths fully, and he uses parlor magic the next morning to expose Morning Breeze as a would be killer as well Doc makes himself look even more powerful. Looking like a fool Morning Breeze sulks away and meets with a man who is calling himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who informs his defeated warrior that he is now going to unleash The Red Death the same illness that took the life of Doc Savage’s dad. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent places the red death into the water supply of the kingdom and so many are fallen ill, and Morning Breeze and Son Of The Feathered Serpent are spreading rumors that its Doc Savage and his men that have brought this deadly illness, while in reality Doc has studied some of the people fallen ill and has made a cure that he is rushing around given to the ill as the warriors following the word of Son Of The Feathered Serpent try and gun him down! In the end Doc Savage saves the lived of all that are infected, is able to kill Son Of The Feathered Serpent by knocking him off a temple, watch as Morning Breeze is gunned down, proves he is worthy of the gold, breaks the heart of the Princess who has fallen in love with him and loads up gold and flies away with his friends.
This second issue cracks the case of what and who killed Doc Savage’s father as well as who is the man who put a hit on Doc was and it was a crazed man who ran a cult that called himself The Son Of The Feathered Serpent who was really a member of the government of Hidalgo who would fly back and fourth from the civil world and the lost Mayan one. Doc Savage is one tough hero who can duke it out with the best of them and can also use his quickness to dodge gun and laser fire…plus he has a rule that he will not kill…well that is unless he can kill you with an accident! One thing that I think Doc does in this issue that is awesome is he uses smoke bombs and his friends with ropes to appear as if he can bring back the dead. I also like that he is willing to risk is own life in order to save the lives of those in need. The Fabulous Five are around and help during the case with even Monk able to fight with some Mayan warriors, but to be honest for the most part in these first two issues you could have cut them and they would not have effected the story all that much. Now I know that sounds like I don’t like The Fabulous Five as I am saying they at this point don’t add much to the comic story, but I do like them and hope they get more to do in the upcoming issues. Morning Breeze is a sneaky warrior who is pure evil that he goes along with a plot the spread a deadly disease into his tribes water supply…what a goon and then tries to run away from battle only to be shot in the back by the one he served. The Son Of The Feathered Serpent is a man with no morals who is ruled by greed and power and who has no issues with killing lots of people to get what he wants, and because of his greed and evil ways he finds himself going splat after falling off a temple. I also like that the cold blooded main killer and villain of this two issue story arch is of course also a member of the nations Government…classic spy stuff. While the pacing is once more semi fast it does also feel like a slow burn like the first issue making it drag a little in spots. The cover is great as is the interior art done Ross Andru again, and with that let’s see what issue three has in store for us.
Doc Savage # 3 **1/2
Released in 1973 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 3 of 8
Ham and Long Tom and hanging out at Monks house when the office of a cruise ship company is blown up! The three friends rush up to see if they can help and watch as one of the workers is shot in the back with an arrow fired by one of the members of the Silver Death’s Head group…the three friends give chase but are out stepped and worse then they go to call Doc Savage a whole attack armored vehicle filled with members bust in and take them all hostage and then flee the scene. Doc Savage rushes to his friends place only to find them missing and the cops on the scene not having any real answers. Doc Savage decides to go to the docks and snoop around the dead man’s business and finds his secretary Lorna Zane knocked out and another worker Harry Pace hiding the shadows. After a few moments of speaking to them members of the Silver Death’s Head as well as their leader Ull come busting in and want to finish the job of killing Lorna, but Doc Savage just in time hides both workers and takes a beating at the hands of the Silver Death’s Head just so he can fake being knocked out and hear them mention the name of Bedford Burgess Gardner who runs another of the cruise ship companies as well as they are looking for blueprints to something. After the baddies leave, Doc Savage along with Harry and Lorna leave as Doc leaves Lorna at his cousin Pat Savage’s beauty saloon for her safety as he takes Harry with him to find the home of Gardner. Once there they find the butler dead and Gardner is not happen to see them and as Doc Savage searches the house for the killer he is attacked by members of the Silver Death’s Head and in less then a minute he takes them all out and even manages to find a man named Hugh McCoy tied up in the closet who claims Gardner shot his own butler! By the time Doc Savage makes it back to Gardner’s room he finds Harry knocked out and the member of the Silver Death’s Head group swallows a poison capsule. And after all this drama Doc Savage is now really mad and wants his friends back!
This third issue is has a strange story plot that follows two owners of cruise ship companies that has one dying in a terrorist attack and another being accused of killing his own butler we then even have three of The Fabulous Five kidnapped by a group that calls themselves the Silver Death’s Head. Doc Savage in this one starts off just minding his own business at his office when three of his friends drag him into a murder investigation as well as a kidnapping plot as three of his friends end up missing. Doc Savage uses all his skills in this issue as he not only uses his fists he also uses his detective and chemistry skills as well in order to follow the clues to solve the crime as well as save his friends. Poor Monk, Ham and Long Tom are in the wrong place when an explosion goes off a few floors above Monks house and this leads them on the bad side of the issues bad guys. The Silver Death’s Head group wear costumes made of silver dollars and while they are lead by Ull it’s clear that some one else is calling the shots and while this issue wants you too think that its Gardner one of the cruise ship company owners I think that that the shots are being called by Harry Pace a man I just don’t trust at all! I do like also that this issue introduces us to Pat Savage an owner of a beauty shop who is also an adventurer who is the cousin of Doc. The look of the Silver Death’s Head group is really cool and reminds me of bad guys you would see in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man or Captain America at the time of this comics release. This issue has a really fun detective feel to it as I felt as a reader I was along for the ride to solve the case with Doc Savage and I also feel that the stakes are high in this issue as three of his friends lives hang in the balance. Great interior artwork from Ross Andru and a eye catching cover for this issue and I feel like this is the best issue this far in the Doc Savage Marvel Comic series…let’s see if issue four keeps up the good work of making Doc Savage apart of the Marvel Universe.
Doc Savage # 4 **1/2
Released in 1973 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 4 of 8
Doc Savage along with Harry Pace and Hugh McCoy find an old waterfront warehouse that is being used as a base for members of the Silver Death’s Head and after taking out many of the members and chasing off many others, Doc Savage finds his friends Monk, Long Tom and Ham tied up in a roof and sets them free. And after searching around they find a map that they will follow, and Doc Savage sends Ham to find all he can on Gardner as he has a hunch. Doc Savage and the rest head to the docks and all get aboard his own designed submarine as Doc informs them that he thinks that the Silver Death’s Head have their own and that’s how they get around to commit their crimes as well as avoid the police. And as always Doc was right as their sub is attacked by the Silver Death’s Head groups and when some of their members in scuba gear try and break into Doc’s sub he and his friends are forced to get into gear and fight them under water! Once Doc makes quick work of them he then follows a boat that Ull and the real head of the group are escaping on…he of course grabs a rope that is on the boat and follows them to a secret hideout. Doc busts in and knocks out Ull fast and then takes down the leader who ends up being Hugh McCoy who was also Gardner…you see Hugh created Gardner in order to have a fake face in order to mastermind these crimes.
Ok, Ok I was wrong as I was thinking Harry Pace was the main brains behind the Silver Death’s Head group and it was that slime Hugh McCoy the whole time, but hey Doc Savage didn’t figure it all out until the un-masking either! This issue’s plot has Doc save his friends and then find a map, go underwater to fight goons in scuba gear only to follow the two leaders of the crime group to a hidden hideout to kick them around and solve this case that involved murder and kidnapping! Doc Savage is a man of few words, but a man of action and you can always tell when his mind is working on solving a problem and coming up with a plan to end the issue. Doc Savage also we find out hates when people brag about the things he does as he does them not for the glory but because they are the right thing to do. Glad to see Ham, Long Tom and Monk alright even if as always they really don’t add much to the story and are just around for a reason to fully get Doc involved when they are kidnapped. Well I guess Ham does his job as he does dig up info on “Gardner” and his business that rose to power super fast in the world of shipping and cruise vacations. Hugh McCoy is a mastermind as he uses a fake persona to open a business, murder his computation, work alongside a murderous group and try to match his wits with Doc Savage all in the quest for power and money. Hugh also does a great job of acting friendly with the good guys, all the while playing them for fools. Ull and the Silver Death’s Head group are killers for hire who have the money and power to make people dead, but also wear heavy outfits that make them noisy as well as smell like silver…so stealth they are not. This case aka story arc of Doc Savage is very interesting and had me guessing all along on who the main man calling the shots was, and while I was wrong it made the ending a little more fun! The cover is great and pretty eye catching for the time of release and like before the interior art of Ross Andru is top notch. Another solid issue of Marvel’s Doc Savage, and I cannot wait to see what the next issue has in store for me.
Doc Savage # 5 **1/2
Released in 1973 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 5 of 8
A hunter is attacked and killed in his cabin and is discovered by his friend, the man’s dying words is for him to track down Doc Savage and hire him to crack this case and avenge him! The other hunter who’s name is Carl MacBride makes his way to New York and while traveling meets Jean Morris a country girl who fills him in on how Doc Savage works and takes cases. But once Carl arrives at Doc Savages office and once there before he can say a word a mobster with a tommy gun comes up the other elevator and blasts the man with gun fore before running away. Doc Savage along with Monk and Ham give chase and find that the shooter runs to a mansion that was is highly protected and find that Jean is also inside as she has a job interview and been hired by a man named Griswold Rock who owns a small railroad in Michigan and before they all know it the floor beneath them gives way and a giant monster appears causing them all to fall to the floor below and as they Doc Savage and his men get to their feet the watch as a red truck speeds off with the monster in the back and the gunman behind the wheel…and oddly enough Jean is also missing. Before the leave they find Griswold Rock locked behind a door who tells them he has been held prisoner by one of his former employees named Pere Teston who forced the man to sell his stock and bonds. Doc Savage along with Ham and Monk call in Long Tom, Renny and Johnny as he is going to need all their help in order to track down this red truck and crack this case. Renny in his plane is the first to spot the red truck, but he is shot down by the tommy gun mad man and taken from the wreckage and kidnapped. Renny watches as the gun man is joined by other hoods and they set a bomb that will blow up the truck, the monster in the back and him! He also sees that they have Jean with them…and as they all leave before the big explosion Doc Savage just in time arrives and saves Renny…but the poor monster is killed. Doc Savage has a hunch now with all the clues he has gathered and wants to solve this case of murder and crime.
This is a very interesting issue as of course it’s an action detective story, but it has a dash of horror added into the mix with monsters and a creepy cabin in the woods. This case has Doc Savage watching a man who was coming to him for help to solve the murder of his friend get gunned down only to follow the killer to a mansion that houses a giant monster and even more questions and no answers…yet. This issue Doc Savage is the hero like always but also seems a little confused by what the giant monster is and why a man was murdered in his office before he could speak. And Renny of The Fabulous Five owes his life to Doc as he was about to be blown sky high, before being rushed out of the way of a car bomb, but to also be fair Renny did a great job of tracking down the truck that the gang was looking for. Who is Jean Morris , Griswold Rock and Pere Teston and can any of them be trusted…only the next issue I am sure will give us that answer. The Monster was massive and looked like something straight out of a 40’s Atomic Age Horror Movie…but for some reason I have a feeling it was not real, as it’s a robot or a prop. The pacing for this issue is a little faster than the others as the killing and then the case really kick in fast and this one also seems a little more confusing as in the case is not as easy to piece together. The cover is pretty cool and looks more like a Marvel Horror cover or even a Doctor Strange one and the interior art once more is done by the underrated and under talked about Ross Andru, another solid issue in the series, and I cannot wait to read the next issue!
Doc Savage # 6 **1/2
Released in 1973 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 6 of 8
Doc Savage and his two friends Ham and Monk are flying above a lake in Michigan the area that the hunter was killed that started this whole case, but to their horror they are attacked by two massive giants that come out of the lake and if not for Doc Savage’s grenade that scared them off they could have surly all meet their deaths. Doc Savage on the time they bought away from the giants searches the cabins around and finds no clues, and when walking through the woods the tommy gun gunner tries to take them out, but slips and falls into a bog and drowns. Doc Savage uses rope to get the id and body of the man out of the bog and finds a note that says Death Mill! Doc Savage sends Ham and Monk to town and looks into the mill and finds Griswold Rock inside who claims he got a telegram from Savage to meet him there. With all of them back in town they get word that Renny in a helicopter has been shot down and as Doc Savage and Monk rush to his aid…its clear this is a trap as giants and gunmen are all around and Renny is not even there yet! As a gunfight breaks out and the Giants run off into the woods on a mission, the fight is a standstill and the gunmen flee and Monk follows them as Doc Savage hitches a ride with the now arriving Renny back to town as Doc has a bad feeling. Once back in town they find that the giants had attacked the hotel and took away Griswold Rock and left Ham injured! But now Doc Savage has it as he knows that the giants are old prisoners who have been given a chemical to grow that size, he thinks that Pere Teston is apart of these monster attacks in order to get money from towns that he has threatened with attacks and that the murdered hunter stumbled onto their plan and was killed for it. Doc and his crew go and try and solve this case and even along the way save Jean Morris who as well had been captured back at the mansion…but they are all captured by the giants that take them to the criminals base and Doc and his crew are thrown into a hole and left to die. That night Doc Savage has a plan and after making a human ladder he climbs to freedom and gathers papers that prove his chemical made giants theory as well as bugs the office of the main man in charge before sneaking back into the hole. Doc Savage then uses his brain and has the guards turn on each other by informing them that the chemical used will make the prisoners forever giants and that they are being used…this causes the hired guards to be attacked by the prisoner guards! Doc Savage then once more exits the hole during the battle and tosses down a rope for the rest to escape and run down to the water as he wants to bust the boss all his own. But things turn south real fast when a giant busts open a tank filled with very poisonous gas that kills everyone who breaths it in, as Doc Savage and his crew flee they find Pere Teston tied up and rescue him as it was Griswold Rock all along who was the mastermind of the giants.
This is a pretty solid issue that has Doc Savage and his friends heading to the woods of Michigan in order to solve some murders as well as battle giants…but the payout at the end seemed very rush and they could have cut down on the plane attacks and crashes and it would have allowed for more panels to be used for the big ending that seemed very underwhelming. Doc Savage who is a great hero and detective sure did make many mistakes in this one and his plans seemed to almost always lead to danger and even allow the bad guys to hear their plans as he took in the crime families leader on his word that he was kidnapped and held prisoner…you would have thought Doc would have been smarter then that. But I do give Doc credit when it comes to fighting the giants as he knows he is strong, but not match for them…but would die swinging if he had to fight them hand to hand. Being six issues into a only eight issue series its clear that the two main members of The Fabulous Five are Monk and Ham as they seem to be getting more adventures and are clearly the two most important in these comic series, but I will say Renny gets a tiny bit of time to shine in these last two issues. Jean Morris who was a lion tamer is around and really adds nothing to this story besides a female character. The Giants are dangerous as they are just prisoners and criminals who are turned into these monsters and who are being used as test rats by a man who just wanted more and more money and power and that man is the chubby, sweaty looking Griswold Rock who was a small time business man but a large con-artist. The Horror element of the first part of this story arch kind of fades in this second part as it becomes more of a crime adventure thriller. I do like also that this issue takes us out of the big city and takes us into the woods of Michigan and has Doc Savage having to fight in water, woods and even a hidden island. The cover is pretty great and is pure 70’s Marvel style and as always Ross Andru interior art is A+ stuff. The next two issues are the ones that I read in my youth so let’s see how well they hold up.
Doc Savage # 7 ***
Released in 1973 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 7 of 8
In the Canadian woods on the estate of Alex Savage the uncle of Doc Savage a man transforms into a werewolf and has the want to kill and murder Alex…and he does just that. The next day Doc gets a phone call from his cousin Pat Savage about the attack and murder and this puts Doc into a thinking mood as the murder was said to be very beast like. Doc Savage decides that he is heading to Canada to be with his cousin Pat during her sad time as well as he wants to find out what killed his uncle and why their household seems to be under attack. Doc along with Ham, Monk and Renny take the train to get there and even while ridding gets a fake telegram warning him not to go to his uncles house. As Doc and Renny make their way to the railcar of Ham and Monk they get all types of stares from passengers many who think they are dangerous killers with many having plans to protect themselves. When Doc gets to his friends he finds that he has gotten there just in time as some one has gassed them and left an image of a werewolf on their window. And this same thing was done to El Rabanos and his friends the Ovejas whom all thing Doc Savage and his men are bad people, and worse after the gas clears they find another werewolf image on a window, watch a black painted plane fly away from the train and are forced to a stop as logs now block the train from moving forward! As Doc Savage removes the logs his friends give chase to El Rabanos who runs into the woods, after clearing the way Doc as well gives chase and his jumped by four men with guns…they are no match for Doc who defeats them and rushes to find his friends. Meanwhile Pat Savage is home with her two Native American friends Tiny and her husband Boatface when they hear the howl of the werewolf, Pat grabs her gun to look for the beast only to find nothing and to return home to Tiny and Boatface knocked out from gas and she checks on a ivy cube with a werewolf on it that is very priceless. Unknown to Pat her cubes hiding place was seen by Boatface who steals it and tries to sell it to the werewolf, but the mans greed delivers his death as the werewolf murders him over the price of the cube. Pat and Tiny awake from the sound of a howl from the werewolf and notice Boatface missing so they head into the woods with gun in hand to find him. Meanwhile Doc Savage finds his friends at a tiny airfield in the woods and watch as El Rabanos and his friends make an escape in a plan and even kill one of their own airmen in the leave, before he dies he tells Doc Savage a string of clues. In the end Doc Savage with Monk, Ham and Renny make it to his uncles house to find Pat missing and the body of Boatface now in the living room of the home, Doc orders his friends to stay at the home as he rushes off to find his cousin only to be shot while walking across a rope.
All I can say is 100% this issue held up for me after all these years and has a super classic werewolf horror movie feel to it and that’s why I enjoy it so much! In this issue Doc Savage gets the sad news from his cousin that his uncle has been killed in a savage way and this makes the Doc head to Canada to figure out the murder as well as all the strange things going on around his uncles estate. This issue takes Doc Savage from his city office, to a train traveling across countries, to the snowy woods for Canada all the way to his uncle’s home in the middle of now where, and all the while he had to fight and use his detective skills. Doc Savage and his cousin Pat Savage are going through a very hard time as their loved one has been brutally murdered and all signs point to it being the work of a werewolf, but they also have to deal with shady people as well and thieves who want to steal an ivory cube that the Savage family owns. El Rabanos and his group are very shady and are clearly involved in this killing as they are also trying very hard to spread rumors of Doc Savage himself being a cold blooded killer and a curse to those who see him. As always Monk, Ham and Renny are around, but do very little in the over all story besides their friendship. Pat Savage is a warrior her own self as she along with her trusty gun have zero issues running off into the woods to face the werewolf, as she wants revenge really bad for her fathers death. Tiny is a loyal housekeeper to the Savage family even if her husband was a thief who allowed his own greed lead to his death. And finally The Werewolf is a talking beast who wants the Ivory Cube and who is also savage in his attacks and plans for murder, a classic looking werewolf that reminds me of Jack Russell the Werewolf By Night another Marvel Comics series that was running around the same time. The Werewolf while very beast like in nature and look, also has a human side as well that allows him to talk and plan. One has to wonder who the man beast is and if he is truly a werewolf or just a man in a suit playing a legendary creature. The cover is awesome and eye catching and the interior artwork by Ross is amazing stuff. A great issue and my favorite in the series this far in both art and in story, so let’s see what issue 8 the final issue has in store for us!
Doc Savage # 8 **1/2
Released in 1974 Cover Price .20 Marvel # 8 of 8
Doc Savage is holding onto the rope when the man fires one more bullet knocking him off and sending him to his death, or so the man thinks as he returns to camp he is meet by the Werewolf who is in charge and is told of the news that Doc Savage is dead and with this the Werewolf is happy as he knows now nothing will stand in his way of entering the Cave Of The Werewolf. Meanwhile in a tent in that very party we find Pat and Tiny tied up and being held captive and when they try to escape the ones holding them captive inform them that they are no longer needed as her cousin is dead so their worth is low, but before Pat and Tiny can be killed Doc Savage rushes to their rescue and after beating down the bad guys the Cousins and Tiny start to head back to the Savage home as Doc Savages is sure that El Rabanos and the Ovejas are involved in this murder and werewolf attacks, as they make their way home Doc Savage is challenged by the Werewolf and after a quick fight the beast is knocked out and his mask taken off to show just a thug in a costume. Once back at the Savage home Pat finds that the cube is missing and just then Senorita Cere Oveja comes busting in screaming that the werewolf is going to kill her father and El Rabanos if Pat does not give him the cube, Cere tells them that the original werewolf was just a nickname for one of her relatives that was a pirate and that the cube holds the location to all his stolen treasure and that she and her father along with El Rabanos was just trying to find it as they think the gold is theirs due to heritage. Doc sends Ham, Monk and Renny to search the pine trees in the area that has a birds nest in it as feathers and needles was found on the body of Boatface. After some time Ham finds the cube in a nest Doc solves the puzzle of it and unlocks the hidden map inside. The werewolf shows up and uses his gas on Pat, Tiny, Monk, Ham and Renny and takes Doc Savage hostage as he informs the hero its been a trick all along and El Rabanos and the Oveja’s are his partners in crime! Doc Savage awakens in a cave with his friends as El Rabanos is bragging to him that he was the mastermind behind this plot all along and killed his Uncle to draw Doc their to figure out the map puzzle, he also says he will turn on the Werewolf and the Oveja’s in order to keep all the treasure for himself! But surprise Doc Savage is free and his friends are not knocked out as Monk made an antidote for the gas and they are ready for a fight. After knocking out El Rabanos with a punch Doc Savage does after the Werewolf as his cousin and his friends go fight with the rest of the gang. Doc Savage out fights the Werewolf and after El Rabanos wakes up and fires his gun the cave collapses with only Doc Savage, Pat Savage, Tiny, Monk, Renny, Ham, The Oveja’s and the treasure escaping…all others are dead. In the end they inform The Oveja’s that they will not get a penny of the treasure and it all will go to build hospitals in Canada and also that Pat Savage is now apart of the group.
This issue holds up as well and while some of the horror elements are gone, by middle of the issue it becomes a crime thriller that has some twists and turns that many of true crime lovers will see coming, but are still super fun to watch unfold. Doc Savage through out this issue as well as the whole series is a man who keeps care of his mind and body and will risk it for good, as he believes that doing the right thing and helping others is very important. He will not kill unless he has no choice and has nerves of steel and is not shaken by anything and that includes near death experiences as well as facing monsters. And one thing about Doc Savage as well is that he is always one step ahead most of the time and has back up plans in order if things go wrong for he and his crew. The Fabulous Five are the best friends of Doc Savage and while around they don’t do much in this series, but with that said I would very much miss them of they were not around as the friendship between Ham and Monk is fun as they poke fun at each other all the time and while Renny, Long Tom and Johnny do very little they are still cool background hero characters. Pat Savage is the touch as nails, sweet and strong cousin of Doc who is an hero in her own right and who rushes into danger to avenge and save the innocent, and after loosing her Father to murder she is ready to join her cousin in the hero business. Tiny who’s husband Boatface was a loser shows that she is close to the Savage family and when all hell breaks loose in the cave she even fights with the hired thugs and bear hugs some of them into submission! The Oveja’s and El Rabanos are slimy and play all sides in order to get what they want and that’s the hidden pirate treasure, and would even turn on each other in order to get it. The werewolf is not a real creature but is a mad man in a costume who seems like he really does think he is one, he as well is motivated by greed but also has pride as he wants to be the man who kills Doc Savage! While he fails and is made quick work of and is later killed in the cave in, I find him to be a cool bad guy who a great classic werewolf look and has a Marvel Horror look. The story of this case is really cool and is set in the woods of Canada with a werewolf on the loose and oddly reminded me of the silent film Wolf Blood from 1925 that is a semi werewolf film set in the snowy woods of Canada. The Doc Savage series from Marvel Comics reminds me why I loved the 70’s era of Marvel as they had some many amazing comics going beyond their Superhero and original Horror lines with titles like Godzilla, Planet Of The Apes, Tarzan Lord Of The Apes, Star Trek, Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica showcasing they knew how to make good comic based on film, novel and TV properties. The cover for this one is eye catching and really cool and again like clock work Ross’s interior art is amazing and he really was one of Marvel’s talented artists of the time that should be way more respect in these modern times. Over all I have to say I enjoyed the Doc Savage comic run at Marvel Comics quite a bit and while Doc Savage is a dated character and even by 1970’s he was a little out of date, they did a great job of bringing the 1930’s into the 70’s and making it seem right at home in the disco era. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ross and see how this series looked.
But wait there is more as the Doc Savage fun continues, as we will be also taking a look at his two other Marvel appearances that had him teaming with the likes of Spider-Man and The Thing! I also want to say that a Giant Size Doc Savage # 1 was released by Marvel but was just a reprint of the first two issues in the series. It also makes me wonder why Doc Savage only lasted for eight issues, I would guess poor sales…but I could not say for sure. So if you are still up for some classic detective adventure, let’s go on two more adventures with Doc.
Giant Size Spider-Man # 3 **1/2
Released in 1975 Cover Price .50 Marvel # 3 of 6
Desinna is a strange woman from another world and time who has sent a message to Spider-Man to meet her at an old building in New York that is set to be torn down, and while inside she shows Spidey a look into the past as Doc Savage in the 1930’s also has gotten a message to investigate that very building as something is just not right with it. Back in the 70’s before Desinna can inform Spider-Man on what is going on the ground shakes knocking her out and Spider-Man is faced with a giant goat legged monster that wants him dead! The giant is named Tarros and he is also from the past and his body is made up of an electric field, and Spider-Man out smarts the giant and over loads the field and sends him away. After the fight Desinna wakes back up and once more has Spidey take a look at Doc Savage in the 30’s at this same sight. While Doc and The Fabulous Five are looking around they meet Desinna who informs them that she is from another dimension and that her world they have created a time machine, but something has went wrong and scientist Tarros had his life spirit taken away and now its twisted and evil and is about to run wild in New York, just then the Giant Tarros appears and Doc Savage and his friends spring into action fighting the creature and Doc Savage being the man he is figures out a way to trap Tarros into a dated stone that’s in the building trapping him inside it as long as the building stands. Back to Spider-Man’s time he figures out that Desinna is worried that when the building is demolished the next day the evil will be unleashed again, but Spider-Man has figured it out and Tarros is not the bad guy it’s Desinna who tricked the old man and had him stuck in time! Spider-Man frees the spirit of Tarros and Desinna is sent back to her world to face punishment.
This is a fun idea of a crossover between Spider-Man and Doc Savage that could have been a heck of a lot better as the major downfall for me is that Spidey and Doc never really meet nor do they even really team up! The plot has a lady from another dimension playing victim to heroes from two different decades in order to try and cover up her evil actions in her own world. Desinna is a pretty woman who has a sinister side that is hidden deep in her charm, she is a mastermind that tricked a wise old scientist from her world and is still using her charm to trick heroes into covering up her mistake and doing her dirty work. When she is figured out and sent to face punishment she still tries to use her charm and beauty to save her own hide. The man she tricked is Tarros who’s spirit was stuck in a field of energy and can not speak English and because of his monster look is easily judged by those tricked by Desinna’s charm and words. Doc Savage comes to the aid of a woman in need and battle a massive electric monster to save our world and hers, and uses his brains and strength to bring the creature down, but sadly he was played a fool all that time ago and was tricked into just beating down a victim even more by the one who started the crime. In other words the hero Doc Savage that has always been shown to be a very smart man as well as a great detective was tricked by a pretty face and the old time belief that women cannot be bad. Spider-Man meanwhile has to sit and watch the events of the past and then solve the case that he is about to be made a fool of just like Savage was by a lady who is evil. I like that Spidey quickly figured it all out, and even after fighting with the spirit puts the pieces together to help save him and allow justice to happen in another dimension. Also I get the feeling that Spider-Man knows that Doc Savage really dropped the ball bad, and is in his own way making excuses for him by saying he was a product of his time. While this was a fun way to bring two heroes together from two different periods of time, I felt that it could have been done better like why not have Desinna take Spider-Man back in time to team with Doc Savage in order to bring down her enemy, and have them both figure out she is the real bad one, or even vice versa. The lack of real interaction between Spidey and Doc was a major letdown and much of the issues pages are spent on Desinna’s lies and tricks. But with that said I did enjoy the elements of each hero doing their thing, that’s why I have given it a slightly above average star rating as while flawed it was still a fund read. The cover is pretty cool and reminds me of an old Marvel Team Up cover and the interior art is great as once more Ross Andru shows his talents. Over all a fun issue and a good read for fans of Spider-Man and Doc Savage, just don’t go in thinking you will see them fight the monster together. Check out some artwork below from this Giant Size issue.
Up next let’s see how Doc Savages team up with Fantastic Four member The Thing goes! And again what a strange crossover for our hero of the 1930’s!
Marvel Two-In-One # 21 **1/2
Released in 1976 Cover Price .30 Marvel # 21 of 100
At the Baxter Building The Thing is working out and The Human Torch goes to the elevator and is greeted by Janice Lightner who faints once she enters, meanwhile in 1936 Mrs. Lightner travels up the elevator and as well faints once hitting the office of Doc Savage! And in both times the Lightner ladies tell the story of abuse, crazy ideas, madness and wasted fortunes and Janice is the daughter of Mrs. Lightner and it seems like the past and present are playing out the same. The ladies asking for help both speak of The Sky Cannon a powerful weapon that pulls down star energy and places it into a human host and in both cases the weapon is about to be used by the males of the family to show that they are not mad and true power is out there and can be placed into one man! All the heroes from both decades rush to the lab and have their flying vehicles struck by The Star Cannon merging both words together so Doc Savage, Renny, Monk, The Thing, Human Torch and Janice Lightner fall from the sky as inside the lab father and son merge into a new super villain named Blacksun. As the heroes shake off the fall and introductions happen Blacksun appears and is ready for a fight using his beams of energy to try and bring down the heroes, Monk and Renny uses their none kill bullet to no effect and an attack by the Human Torch is shrugged off. The Thing is next up and tries to clobber Blacksun only for it also to fail, but Doc Savage is up next and notices that when the clouds black the stars he has a chance to land punches and does just that causing Blacksun to try and run away into space as he wants to enter a black hole. The Thing and Doc Savage hold onto the villain for as long as they can before falling back to solid ground, but Blacksun as well learns that he can not breath in high altitude and falls to Earth hard causing an end to his rampage and also sends Doc Savage and his crew back to the 1930’s. In the end The Thing and Human Torch promise to Janice to get Blacksun (her brother and father as one) the help that he needs.
See this issue of Marvel Two-In-One was done right as Doc Savage comes to the then modern time and fights alongside a Marvel superhero in order to stop a villain from destroying the universe. The plot for this issue has the Lightner family in the 1930’s and the 1970’s following the same path at using a weapon called The Star Cannon in order to draw pure power from the stars and when they fire it up it merges Doc Savage and his crew into the 70’s in order to help The Thing stop the end of the world and light as we know it. The Thing and Human Torch show why they are heroes as these two members of the Fantastic Four rush to aid a woman who needs them to stop her brother from doing something really stupid. The Thing is as strong as ever and tries his best to use his strength to k.o the issues villain as The Human Torch uses his fire blasts, and while they both fail in their attacks when teaming together with Doc Savage they are able to save the day. I also like that The Thing is a fan of Doc Savage and wants his autograph and is even star struck when he sees him! Renny and Monk are apart of Savage’s crew and while they try and help they really are background players. Doc Savage is as always quiet, watching and figuring out how to defeat the bad guy that is in his way! He is the one who figures out the clouds can be used in order to land hits of Blacksun and as well seems to understand that he has time traveled and just rolls with getting help from a man that is one fire and another that is massive and made of orange rocks. Blacksun is a interesting bad guy that is made up of star energy, a living son and the dead spirit of his father and as well almost like the backside of the sun who can fly, shoot energy beams and even has a dark force field around him, but his ego helps bring him down as he tries to fly to space only to blackout and burnout. Again I can not stress that this is a crossover done right as Doc Savage meets The Thing and Human Torch and works alongside them for the greater good of mankind. The cover is amazing and eye catching and has The Thing and Doc Savage rushing to action and the interior art is top notch and done by Ron Wilson. Oh and this issue also has a cameo from Tony Stark (Iron Man) and they mention Donald Blake (Thor) and this is also a part one of a three issue story but this one is the only one to feature Doc Savage as the next two issues has Thor teaming with them. Over all this was a solid and fun read that brings a classic hero together with superheroes and is well worth checking out. Check out the artwork below to see the style of Ron Wilson used in this issue.
As you can see, Marvel Comics did a good job of bringing Doc Savage to the pages of comic books, and while the novels are better, these comics are still a great read for fans of the character. For me it was lots of fun to look back at this character and it was nice to go back to my youth and relive the fandom I had for a character that sadly I have neglected for many years now. Next year 2022 Rotten Ink turns 10 years old, and I am going to cover the whole year stuff I love from comics to movies to horror hosts and will really go back to my youth and the joys of growing up in Waynesville! So for my next update, I will be of course covering a Horror Host to celebrate 10 Years Of The Horror Host Hall Of Fame and our last host for the year will be Ohio’s biggest one, and I am of course talking about Ghoulardi! So until next time, read a Marvel Comic or three, watch a cheesy action film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update and remember turn blue!