Monday, April 25, 2011

Reading Room: DOC SAVAGE "The Man of Bronze" Part 1

In the early 1970s, bolstered by the success of Conan the Barbarian, both DC and Marvel attempted to relaunch other pulp characters who had successful paperback reprint series as comic book titles.
Hoping that the audiences for them would carry over as Conan's had, Marvel acquired the rights to Doc Savage, while DC snagged both The Shadow and The Avenger.
The Doc title lasted only eight issues from 1972-73, but the license remained in Marvel's hands when the George Pal movie came along and Marvel invoked their right to do a comic based on the movie.
Compare with page 7 below.
Since the flick was an adaptation of the novel The Man of Bronze, which Marvel had already used as the basis for the first two issues of their previous comic, it was decided to repackage that material as a double-sized one-shot to tie-in with the movie's release.
The art was modified to match the appearance of Doc in the movie, substituting an open-collared shirt for his Marvel-created blue vest and a buzz-cut for the James Bama/Bantam paperback "skullcap".
(I always wondered why Marvel didn't go with the torn-shirt look of the Bantam covers on the comics.
Maybe they didn't want people confusing Doc with their resident torn-shirt aficionado, Nick Fury.
Thankfully, they returned to the torn shirt "look" on the b/w magazine covers by Ken Barr.)
The original two-issue comic adaptation had updated the 1933 novel to the then-present 1970s.
The Giant-Size Doc Savage "re-mastering" modified the technology back to 1930s levels, except the adaptation's replacing of the Mayan assassin's elephant gun with a laser rifle, which remained!
They also re-did Monk's hair from the incorrect black-with-blue-highlights to the red color it had in the pulp stories (and the remainder of the Marvel run).
Without further adieu, Part 1 of Giant-Size Doc Savage begins now...
Tune in tomorrow as Doc and his buddies go in pursuit of the assassin...

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