It’s a birthday month of sorts for Doc Savage, one of the biggest stars to come out of the pulps.
Doc Savage debuted with his March 1933 issue.
Doc Savage is one of the many hero pulps featured in The Beginner’s Guide to Pulp Fiction.
With the runaway success of The Shadow, Street & Smith was on the lookout for another hero pulp in 1932.
Publisher Henry Ralston and editor John Nanovic worked with writer Lester Dent to create the character of Clark “Doc” Savage Jr., introducing him in the March 1933 issue of Doc Savage. Savage is a scientist, adventurer, inventor, explorer and physician trained since childhood to be a “superman.” Known as “The Man of Bronze,” Savage had superhuman strength and great intelligence, with knowledge in almost every academic field.
Through most of his adventures, Savage is helped by a team of five aides: attorney Ham Brooks, chemist Monk Mayfair, engineers Long Tom Roberts and Renny Renwick, and geologist Johnny Littlejohn. Doc’s female cousin Pat Savage also joins the adventures at times.
The original pulp lasted until 1949 for a total of 181 issues. The original stories have been reprinted in various forms, most notably in a series of Bantam paperbacks in the 1960s and ‘70s and larger format reprints by Sanctum Books in the 2000s.
New authorized stories were written by Philip Jose Farmer and Will Murray in the 1990s. In recent years, Altus Press has also published new authorized stories in the series.
Besides the pulps, Doc Savage appeared in comic books, two different radio serials and a 1975 film directed by George Pal. Additional movies have been rumored over the years but have not yet come to fruition.