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The History of Doc Savage

Doc Savage

As you all are probably aware, director Shane Black has chosen Dwayne Johnson to portray Doc Savage in an upcoming film. The long neglected very first fictional superhero will finally get a deserving screen treatment . But who is Doc Savage and why hasn’t there been a movie before now about him, given the mania Hollywood has over these type of films? The answer could be that is a difficult character to cast. He is physically imposing, a giant of a man who is also a bit a character. There was probably only one right actor and he was just cast in it.

Doc Savage is a combination of brains and brawn. As previously mentioned, a mountain of a man, Doc Savage is also extremely intelligent. He is a scientist and a skilled surgeon who first appeared in March of 1933 in Doc Savage Magazine #1. His stories and adventures would be reprinted into novel from by Bantam Books beginning in the 1964. The company would publish a new book once a month from 1967 until 1990. The stories. however, were not reprinted into book form in chronological order. According to Wikipedia, “The stories were not reprinted in chronological order as originally published, though they did begin with the first adventure, The Man of Bronze.”

According to the website The Pulp, “Doc Savage was created by Street and Smith’s Henry W. Ralston, with help from editor John L. Nanovic, in order to capitalize on the surprise success of The Shadow magazine.” Lester Dent, using the pen name Kenneth Robeson. The Doc Savage stories remain one of the few serialized stories to have all their work reprinted in novel  form.

The main author, Lester Dent was contacted in 1932 by Street and Smith Publications about doing a new serial magazine. The company scored a major success with The Shadow comics and were looking to repeat that success. According to Wikipedia, “While Dent was unhappy to later discover that his stories would be published under a house name (Kenneth Robeson), he was happy to receive $500 per novel (which would later increase to $750), and accepted Ralston’s offer.”

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