Do you like Doc Savage?
I sure do! Just search my blog for the Doc Savage tag. In fact, I’ll spare you the trouble of a search and show you the coolest thing I ever found:
It’s a Super-8 “home movie” made by some kids in 1967 who entirely acted out the Doc Savage novel “Fear Cay.”
In fact, here’s a heresy: I think the Will Murray Doc Savage revival novels are the best the character has ever been, because back in the 1930s, Street & Smith always hobbled the series with rules like no returning antagonists, no continuing stories, no crossovers or worldbuilding references, no reference to current events or politics, and so on. The Murray series has returning enemies, continuing stories, call outs to events (for instance, it tells where Doc and the rest were during the destruction of Pearl Harbor), references and crossovers (there is one where Doc goes to King Kong’s Skull Island and another where he meets the Shadow), and they’re even doing daring things like writing a solo novel with each of Doc’s sidekicks. The solo novel about Doc’s cousin Pat is dynamite, incidentally. The Will Murray New Adventures of Doc Savage reminds me of the excellent new Netflix Voltron series: this is what it should have been the first time.
The thing that I like best about Doc Savage stories is that they have a weird horror element. A bizarre gas eats people’s eyes; spectral, nightmarish men in silver cloaks threaten business owners; a musical note suddenly buzzes over every radio in town before one person is mysteriously driven permanently insane. The best part is that in the end, the mysterious happening or cause of death is revealed to be something totally explicable and ordinary. There is no “real” supernatural in the world of Doc Savage, so it’s like Batman mixed with Scooby-Doo. And almost always, Doc did some minor thing one third of the way through the story that by the end you’ve almost forgotten about, which turns out to crack the case. Combine that with a heaping helping of James Bond gadgets (like how Doc’s shirt buttons are made of thermite paste).
The best part about Doc is the fact that the audience doesn’t have access to his thoughts at all times. He’s slightly superhuman and kind of remote. He has extreme emotional control. The only moments he shows stong emotion or has very human moments of panic is when he has to perform or speak in front of crowds (like at the start of Resurrection Day), his very real awkwardness around women (being raised entirely by men to be a superman) or when one of his friends, his “brothers,” are in danger. I like stories, like the Shawshank Redemption, that are all about the friendship, brotherhood, and camaraderie among men.