Sunday, May 03, 2009


Bruce Ross's Doc Savage

Bruce Ross, whose amazing custom toys I've raved about before, has posted a series of images of his latest, yet another version of Doc Savage.

Awe. Some.

While I grew up with images of the Bantam version, I'm enjoying the reprints from Nostalgia Ventures/Sanctum. It reproduces the covers and interior illustrations, all of which seem appropriate for the period--and yet still out there, still wild and extravagant and pulpy.

Very cool custom toy. If I was a bad guy and I saw this Doc Savage chasing me down, I would turn over a new leaf on the spot. No brain operation necessary. :-)

The closeup of the machine pistol at the link is really good, too.
I'm not sure where my mental image of Savage comes from. The Doc in my head is less thick-necked and furious than Bama's version, but is a bit rougher around the edges than the one from the old pulp covers, who always looked only a couple of notes away from Buster Crabbe to me. It's this strange subconscious amalgam of the two I carry around in my head--the pulp cover Doc with the haircut of the Bama version, perhaps. Weird.
One of the interior illustrations I came across in the pulp reprints had a display of Doc and his crew, laid out as if each picture was a cameo shot. I was surprised at how much Doc resembled Clark Gable. I'm sure it was intentional, and some of the cover illustrations certainly show a trend toward mirroring Gable's matinee idol look.

The one by Doc Shaner that I saw in your morning post today seemed to possess a "softer" feel than Bama's versions. At least, there was less of an impression of someone overdosed on steroids in Shaner's depiction, and more of a focus on experience. :-)
I think that Shaner's Doc is very close to the one in my head, actually. Might be why I like it so much!

And definitely, the interior illustrations in the pulps definitely had a Clark Gable vibe. Walter Baumhofer's covers always seemed more Buster Crabbe to me, but the interior illustrator was undoubtably modeling Gable. Check out this terrific article for some background and examples.
The essays by Tollin and Murray are another one of the selling points for the reprints. For me at least. Lets me look at my roots, even though I came to Doc Savage, The Shadow and the single-hero stories through the Bantam reprints. :-)
I've got a HUGE stack of the Nostalgia/Sanctum reprints, and those articles by Murray and Tollin are the major reason why. I'm learning stuff in those Shadow articles that I'd *never* have known otherwise. Just invaluable, really.
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