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May 2, 2015 Update: The Doc Savage Meet Was Yesterday? F--k!! I'd Kill To Win The Nadeau Trophy!
Terror And The Lonely Widow:
This book is crap. Did I tell you this book is crap? March, 1946's Terror And The Lonely Widow starts off without a hitch but by the middle it dies, and by the end it's the title of the story that came six months later, Three Times A Corpse. The only benefit I derived from this was figuring out what the hell's going on with the cover. It's a four foot long flower box crashing into a restaurant table. Art by who cares.
It would seem at a certain point Lester Dent remembered he hated Doc Savage. Towards the end his prose runs towards long descriptive digressions into scenery, like he figured he could hit his word count by describing what was outside his window. The denouement of the story is set up by Doc conceiving an idea and having it blow up in his face via a lack of preparation. He intricately schemes to get the bad guys on his commercial flight, endangering everyone when they take it over. Meanwhile Doc's reacting like it's an unforeseen event.
On the plus side, Ham speaks in a more natural manner, unlike his usual butler-sniffing-a-turd routine. Dent has a few nice descriptions up his sleeve:
Presently he began brushing his face and the
front of his suit with both hands, brushing off the earth that had been in the
flower box. A bit of the earth had lodged in the corner of his mouth and it
dissolved and made a small taste of mud.
The room was not very neat. Outwardly the hotel had a certain crispness,
and certainly it did not look shabby, but the rooms were not well-kept.
The best explanation was that the management didn't know the war was
over. They were trying to cash in, get by on the skimpy service of
Doc Savage continued to watch the distant window, but cased the rifle
while he was doing this. He was a very large man, but not in an obese
sense; there was a fluid tenseness about his movements that fitted a
much smaller man, or a quick animal. He was a remarkably impressive
figure, handsome without prettiness, darkly bronzed skin, and eyes that
were like pools of flake gold always stirred by tiny winds.
The other man shuddered violently, as if the remark had terrified
him. Which it probably had. Monk Mayfair was a short, wide man whose
arms were somewhat longer than his legs, whose looks were
baby-frightening, who was covered with reddish bristling hair, and who
would not have to be encountered in a very dark spot to be mistaken for
a dwarf edition of King Kong. Monk normally looked quite pleasant.
But when he wished, he could put on an expression that would crack
Presently Monk Mayfair said, “He dropped awful quick.”
“He took his time,” Ham Brooks said. It was
Ham's policy to disagree with almost anything Monk said and condemn almost
anything Monk did.
Renny Renwick probably came nearer than any other one of Doc Savage's group of five associates to looking what he was—an internationally known engineer. He had designed one of New York's largest buildings, and South America, China, Russia and Europe were spotted with his buildings, dams, railroads, air terminals, whatever civil engineer's produce. He had a hard-fisted appearance and his rumbling voice was almost alarming. He was, through a vocal freak, unable to whisper; his efforts at a whisper were about as secretive as a B29 buzzing a farmhouse. He had one foppish habit, which was smearing his hair, his dark and uncontrollable hair, with some kind of pomade. He was touchy about this.
This stood out as editorial introspection:
“Answer my question!” Monk bellowed.
Mr. Chapman seemed to thrust his jaw forward, then lean against it. “We're not crazy enough to stop all activity ourselves!” he said violently. “You guys aren't God! You're not omnipotent. You're not completely wonderful.”
Doc starts off as a decent Doc Savage, but after this line his inner mind toils in torment and self-doubt:
His manner was sober, intent, serious. This
wasn't just his manner of the moment. It was his habitual tone. Something of a
DOC SAVAGE crossed the sidewalk to the car, eyes wary, the flesh crawling
between his shoulder-blades.
The door that had closed did not open. Doc, trying to decide what to do, felt
that his hair was surely going to stand on end.
He was struck, sickeningly, by the feeling he'd had when questioning Worrik—that the things he did, said, thought, were pitifully inadequate in the face of the stupendous horror that could materialize. These things—what he did, said, thought—seemed so small. They were, he thought wryly, as silly as drinking a cold bottle of soda pop to cool off before stepping into a volcano. But he was not, he was sure, underestimating the fabulous nature of the thing. It was silly to compare the importance of a thing to the ending of the world, the wiping out of a race, to horrors like that. The comparison was ridiculous. But he found himself making it, and shuddering.
Walter Baumhofer, I Genuflect In Your General Direction
Then Doc gets all butt-hurt and exclamation-pointy:
You're awfully dumb,” she said.
He discovered that his feelings were
ruffled. He said, “If you are planning to give yourself a buildup by letting
it be known that you're here because you planned it that way, save your breath.
I already knew it.”
Doc Savage closed his eyes. He said
bitterly, “That was a fine dirty trick—I root out an important suspect, and you
try to steal him from me!”
Ham said dryly, “Right after takeoff, the steward is probably pretty busy.”
“I suppose so ... But five minutes!” Doc said impatiently.
Jeez Doc, do we have to get the Air Marshall involved? Then there's Doc and guns, which he needs and wants, and Ham's flesh-annihilating machine pistol with its special berserker bullets. Plus, Doc's ineffectual attempts at stuff:
Doc had the gun now. He was on his feet. The
wiry dark man was on the floor, and began crawling. Doc clubbed him over the
head. It seemed to have no effect. The man kept crawling. Doc hit him
repeatedly, following beside him, trying to step on his legs and hold him,
trying to seize him and hold him, all the time striking blows with gun and fist
on head, neck, shoulders, back. The man made mewing sounds of hurt and fear,
Ham went forward. He had a machine pistol in his hand. A great deal smaller than a Thompson or a Reising gun, weighing hardly more than the Army Colt Automatic, the weapon could spray a startling amount of lead. It used a .22-calibre Hornet cartridge, a special mushrooming bullet, could tear a man to pieces in a moment.
There's a scene where Doc's tied to a chair and he figures out he can break free if he has to. When he "has to" the best he can manage is to fall sideways and almost gets his head blown off. At another point it takes many efforts to kick down a cheap row house front door. This next bit is weirdly comical:
Renny Renwick caught Monk Mayfair's eye and asked a question by wrinkling his forehead. The wrinkles asked: Why is Doc upset about Chapman not reporting to his chief for twelve hours before he was killed?...Monk pushed out his lips as if he had tasted something sour. This said: I'm damned if I know what Doc is upset about.
Someone's mad at Superman!:
Renny scratched his jaw thoughtfully. “There's bound to be some newspaper reporters around. Most of them are pretty decent guys. But that tabloid, the Planet, has some stinkers on it. The best way to get something advertised would be to tell them guys on the Planet you didn't want it published. They don't like us.
The inside filler art of the pulps often shows Doc and his crew wearing double-breasted suits and stylish hats. In the novels Dent doesn't deal with clothing unless necessary, and this is the first time I recall a mention of Doc wearing a hat like it's what he wears all the time with his double-breasted suits:
Doc Savage stepped back hastily, sank to a knee, and looked to see how much of a crack there was under the door. It was considerable of a crack. Nearly half an inch. Out of his pocket he took a flat case about the size and shape of a cigar case, which held, instead of cigars, glass phials about the size of cigars. He uncorked one of these, poured it so that the contents, as much as possible, would flow into the crack below the door. He fanned the tear gas rapidly with his hat to make more of it go under the door. Most of it did.
Terror And The Lonely Widow is crap, but I've already told you that.
If I Were A Tree What Kind Of Tree Would I Be? A Symmetry: Random ideas can come together to form a bigger something. Or nothing at all. It depends. Sometimes you (meaning me) type random things to fill space and then argue they somehow mean something bigger - much bigger, hoping they (meaning you) aren't paying attention or don't really care. This, and these, is and are, one of those times, and things. Strap in, it's going to be a bumpy ride to quota!
Start by watching this, which can be made for a number of films that didn't need to fail but did:
It all starts with how generally mystified I am by the creative process of putting together movies. Less mystified than perplexed at how the science of this art is Chaos Theory when in my mind there's no reason why studios can't at least not start production until creative, financial, and studio oversight decisions are locked down. Such as having a completed script before you start shooting. And then knowing beforehand the third act isn't so bad you'll have to re-shoot it and push back the release date - knee-capping a lot of people and wasting a lot of money. I get the impression films enter full production on little more than high concepts, star name attachments, and seasonal slate-fulfillment obligations. Movies get made not because of but in spite of the people involved in making them.
I've never made a film but Lloyd Kaufman's books are all about film as chaos, and in my long life I've read many books and countless articles on the subject. At one level I'm the childless loner who thinks he knows how kids should be raised, but I do know that people with relative free access to time, money, and talent can do a lot better re: due diligence. The low budget b-movie world of Kaufman, Roger Corman, Charles Band, et al. is ruled by Chaos Theory by design and default, but Sony, Fox, Paramount, et al. can be more like Apple and Toyota in measuring not once, not twice, but 437 times and then cutting once. Creatives and Management should arbitrate their own ISO 9000 guidelines. It's not like Hollywood lacks the brains, money, or time to do so. As the narrator in the video says, commit to a vision and stick to it. That's everyone's agreed vision from the Boardroom to Accounting to Talent and Production Staff. Yeah, you don't know what you have until you're elbow deep in it, but with so much on the line the operating theory from the gate shouldn't be "We'll worry about that later".
I Claim This Dead Pretty Lady According To The Maritime Law Of Finders Keepers
Looking up "Art is Chaos" lead to this quote: "Art is messy, art is chaos - so you need a system.", said by Andrew Stanton, the director of John Carter, which gets back 1,260 results on the words "Why did John Carter fail?" The same John Carter that made a new Doc Savage movie less likely to go forward.
I'm not going to get into the Freudian weirdness of film directors making the same film over and over again except to say the goal of a new Doc savage movie is to make a great Doc Savage film - not a great excuse for, per say, Shane Black to hit on his recurring themes of Christmas, kidnapping, and whatever else. Tell the story, don't editorialize your fetishes.
I just watched That Gal... Who Was In That Thing, a sequel to That Guy... Who Was In That Thing. Both are revelatory. For every time I commiserated with someone I also felt I was listening to a Harvard graduate complain about the smell when they've chosen to be the washroom attendant at the Hillcrest Country Club, where Hollywood's elite meet to eat and greet!
April 25, 2015 Update: Movie News Update! It's time once again to check in for the latest update from the Doc Savage Movie News Press Conference, still in progress!
Title: Walter Baumhofer - Personal Hero. Subtitle: Holy Batfart!: Notes in the Sanctum Books reprint #77 contain a short history on Baumhofer's involvement with Doc Savage, which lasted for the series' first forty-three covers and should be the only style guide to what Doc Savage looks like. Baumhofer was not a fan of James Bama's paperback covers, and is quoted as saying:
"Apparently they wanted more of a Science Fiction approach than the
adventure approach which I used - Hence Jim Bama's 85 year old Doc, with
a pointed head. James Bama was and is an excellent artist, but as I
hinted previously, I didn't like his portrayal of Doc, which was
probably dictated by Bantam."
Hmmm, Which One Would Make A Better Film Franchise Hero? Hmmm...
I love the "85 year old Doc" reference. There's a reason why I call Bama's Doc "Sgt. Mummy Widows-Peak, AARP"! Bama responded with:
"You can't compare them. It was a different time and a different approach. They were very good for what they were. People think of Doc Savage as a science fiction hero, which he was not. He was patterned more on Neil Hamilton, the Arrow Shirt man. That was the look in those days. The way Baumhofer conceived the covers was very different. They were so literal. They're not that strong on design, but pretty strong on the image of Doc Savage. I was someone who was trained to design."
I need more background information, but I've never heard of the Arrow Shirt Collar Man angle, and tank da lawd Baumhofer made his choices. The Arrow Shirt Collar Man was Neil Hamilton - Commissioner Gordon from the 1960s Batman show, a performance notable for its campy one-note stiffness. Baumhofer's Doc is aesthetically 12.5 times better than Bama's. Walter painted portraits while Bama cranked out template design illustrations with simple "Green Screen" juxtapositions. I feel like metaphysically groin-tapping someone's inner child when I read they prefer the Bama Doc because they get all moist remember buying the paperbacks in used books stores with the change they made selling Grit door-to-door, in the snow, uphill both ways, in Oklahoma.
It Was Either This Or Seeds
The Spook of Grandpa Eben:
This one starts off long-winded and repetitive but eventually settles into a decently spun tale of ghosts and science-gibberish force fields. The characters and their motivations are rendered well, turning a middling Doc Savage story into something better than I first thought it would be. I was attracted by the title, which doesn't sound Doc Savagey at all, bested only by the nonsense titles Se-Pah-Poo and Ost. My self-published Doc Savage novel is called "King Turd Midas", inspired by all the a-holes around me in Long Beach who I see turn everything they touch into excrement.
This December, 1943 tale is an odd duck of an idea that hints at both Halloween and Christmas - the latter in how there's an obvious Scrooge character who dies in short order instead of being shown the error of his ways. Doc, Monk, Ham, and the superbly superfluous pets are on hand to make sure the war effort isn't being sabotaged by Scrooge's greed. Along the way they learn to once again love, laugh, and embrace life's endless possibilities. Not really.
The story ends quickly but that was fine as it did everything it had to do to be worthwhile. I found one glaring mistake where Billy is knocked unconscious by Doc's anesthetic gas, which has a "slightly sweetish stinging in the nasal passages" effect. Like my farts! There's no reference to him coming too and he's normal again way too early based on past use of the gas.
Doc is a bit more personable. I found this line not to my liking as it made Doc seem fake and possibly socially insecure:
Doc Savage had been aware of a feeling of animosity which Ruth held against him in the beginning. It was not an open emotion; it seemed to be something she was hiding. So the bronze man was exercising his pleasant personality as much as possible to draw the young woman out, to loosen her flow of information.
David Letterman recently found himself in hot water for saying ''Treat a lady like a whore and a whore like a lady'', an ancient line from Wilson Minzer that's been widely quoted as meaningful beyond the surface insult. Times have changed. The most horrific line I can think of that can't be told today is from Rodney Dangerfield's 1980 album "No Respect". As I remember it the line went something like "I only meet girls because of my job - I'm a rapist!". Lest Dent would be similarly crucified for misogyny today:
Lucybelle was a mixture of cherub and slimness with enough curves to hint that in another ten years she would be needing fifteen-dollar girdles. Her blue-eyed, flaxen-haired looks were pretty rather than beautiful.
LUCYBELLE ran down the stairs, and when she was on the street, she kept running. She was panting, because she was already inclined to be fat, and she took no exercise. She was so scared that she had no breath anyway.
This stuff above I think all the time but try not to say out loud because I know as a man I'm a serial rapist just itching for the opportunity to not just rape but rape-rape. This next bit is pretty awesome, if by awesome you mean horrific, mean, cruel, and actionable:
Doc Savage picked up the unconscious guard. He told Ezra Strong, “We will have to get out of here. Bring Lucybelle!”
Ezra Strong muttered something under his breath, said, “Now cut out crying, Lucybelle. You're going to be all right. Just come on out of here with us.”
Lucybelle stopped her hysterical sobbing long enough to say, “I won't! Go away!” and went right on blubbering.
Ezra took her arm. “Please come, Lucybelle!”
Lucybelle screamed a scream which, if it didn't, should have lifted the roof a couple of inches.
Sounding distracted, Ezra said, “What'll I do, Mr. Savage? She won't come?”
“Can you knock a young woman unconscious in a gentlemanly way?”
Ezra thought about that for a moment. “I don't know about the gentlemanly part,” he said. “But I can do it with considerable enthusiasm.”
And there was a brief scuffle during which Lucybelle shrieked for him to keep away from her, after which she was silent. The blow had not been very loud.
“Most bubbling female I ever saw,” said Ezra disgustedly. He shouldered Lucybelle. “Lead on.”
“I take it the engagement is at an end?” Doc said.
“Put an exclamation point after that!” said Ezra.
Doc Savage. Advocating knocking women unconscious in a "gentlemanly" way since 1943.
Here's song lyrics to introduce this bit about sanctioned workplace gun violence: "I like guns and guns like me / I like guns, they made America free / I like guns, and guns are the way / I like guns / weapons Weapons WEAPONS!"
Most of the State National tellers kept revolvers in their cages. There was a pistol range in the basement, and bank rules required a certain amount of practice, so they were good marksmen. But none of them hit a spook, although all of them did plenty of shooting.
I'm excited there were two zoot suit references in The Spook Of Grandpa Eben, the first one containing the name of my next band:
For a heavy man, he gave an unusual impression of being muscular instead of fat, and he was very dapper, wearing a snappy tweed suit which was just a little on the zoot side, but not sufficiently zoot to be ridiculous. It was a good suit, and all the accessories were expensive. He was not much more than thirty, with blue eyes, fine white teeth, a taffy-colored mustache, blond hair. He gave the general impression of a slicker.
Next Week: Another review!
April 18, 2015 Update:
Bring Me The Head Of
Alfredo Garcia Clark Savage
This eBay seller offers heads of custom action figures at Crazy
Eddie (Insane!) prices. It reminded me of an old 60 Minutes piece that
concluded it would cost $125,000.00 to build a $20,000.00 car using only
retail parts. That's a 625% increase, so if this head came from the
GoHero toy it would cost about, oh, $174,892.12 to make a new Doc Savage
doll with his parts. I do though like the business model of a toy
Pick-Your-Part business. I hear OCDs can be quite profitable.
Two Thingz : 1) The hacked Sony e-mails are available on-line if you know where to look. I'm not going to link to them or get into specifics on their contents as that whole episode was a nasty piece of e-terrorism and everyone talks badly about everyone in the privacy of their own communications, so there but for the grace of God go I and let's all agree we're entitled to our thoughts and white lies - the latter the only thing keeping civil society together.
I read the e-mails and generally the take on Doc Savage is positive. There's one huge casting mistake floated and one I could live with if he was presented as taller via casting other actors. I don't like the villain on principle and I fear they might be adding a character under the assumption Doc and his five assistants aren't enough on the side of good and interesting. You may recall Captain Simon Wolf and Corporal Jack Sparks from Frank Darabont's Y2K-era Arnold Schwarzenegger script. If you can't make a Doc Savage movie with the given good guys you're not trying, at all. Everyone can be improved upon but the answers are not whole new characters. If you can't respect the source materials on that, a new Doc Savage movie should not be made, at all. On that note...
2) I'm assuming the success of the latest Fast & Furious movie (75% of the opening week American audience was non-white) sparked this thread on Flearun. My stance is that a new Doc Savage movie is an opportunity to present the best Doc Savage to the world as a pivotal archetype due respect and acknowledgement. It should not be changed to where what you have remaining from the source material are a few names and character clichés. You can add social and market engineering to Doc Savage casting, but don't make the main characters what they weren't. To accept anything less would be a sell-out, but I expect nothing less from the Doc Savage fan community, who, as I always say, are the worst thing to ever happen to Doc Savage.
Please spare me the "Doc was mixed race" speculations and affirmations, because that's what they are, and if they make you feel better because you were the only whatever in your school system, I'm sorry all you have are your victim ideology and revenge fantasies.
Dwayne Johnson is the King Of Hollywood and he's earned it, but I don't want him as Doc Savage because along with height and musculature I want the face of Doc Savage to look like someone you can picture toiling away at science projects. The Rock is a handsome wrestler. I don't see him wearing a lab coat and putzing with beakers any more than I do Arnold. Jason Momoa looks like a literal Barbarian and not just the one he played in a film. With every casting choice I ask if he looks first and foremost like the most intelligent man in the world.
The Three Wild Men:
1942's The Three Wild Men was pretty awesome. Everyone and everything is well defined and assured, which gives the novel a nicely confident tone. Doc's not Uberman but he's ahead of the game and is presented as perfectly controlled yet also conversational. Monk is allowed to be verbally intelligent and charming - a nice change from the usual editorial assurances he's not a classless lowlife in all areas outside of chemical research. Ham's there as an afterthought and the rest in name only. At least they're mentioned.
The character of Abba Cushing is wonderfully rendered, and Lester Dent did a nice job of fleshing her out to where you can see her thought process as the story progresses. Normally I feel like I'm just taking the narrator's word for it when it's stated what someone thinks or feels.
The action's good, the pacing tight, the scenes engaging, and the science acceptable. The interactions with the FBI are noteworthy for their subtle tenseness. Altogether a great Doc Savage novel.
The Kenneth Robeson authors periodically made a point of saying Doc Savage is more than a human robot, usually accompanied with a limp example or general assurance. I liked how Dent approaches it here:
WHEN Doc Savage did not do what he had told the
girl he would do, Monk and Ham were surprised. They had taken it for granted he
would live up to his word, because the bronze man never said he would do a
thing, either in fun or in earnest, without doing it. In that respect, he never
joked. At the best, he was not a man who was inclined to pull a joke. When he
did, it was to exhibit a subtle kind of humor that missed fire for most people,
or did not dawn on them until several days later. A little humor of the
slapstick kind, Monk and Ham often thought, would do Doc some good. He was not
exactly a sober-sides, but it seemed to them that he passed up a lot of fun.
“So I am experimenting on the wild men, eh?” Doc Savage said grimly.
Monk glanced sharply at Doc Savage. He saw that the bronze man was extremely disturbed. There was hardly a noticeable change in Docs voice, and his features were hidden under the bandages, but Monk knew him well enough to be sure that Doc was agitated. Understanding Doc's emotions was more a matter of sensing them than actually witnessing any change.
In later novels I detected the strong probability that stories were written generically and then adapted to Doc Savage. My recollection of these is that Doc is less detective than strong and smart guy along for the ride. The Three Wild Men has a subtle yet confident hard-boiled detective vibe as its base, and here Doc breaks convention and partakes in witty banter:
Doc Savage studied the man. Doc was no judge of women-he had no confidence whatever in his hunches and opinions in that direction-but he could tell something about a man's character. This man had plenty of character. He was strong. He was neither handsome nor a physical giant; he did not dress like a millionaire, neither was he shabby; he was not hard and he was not soft. But there was a dynamic quality about him that most men did not have.
“Any chance of your telling who hired you?” Doc asked.
“Not a chance,” said West. “Protection due a client, and that sort of thing.”
Doc said, “You sent a man to the hospital to get the man you thought was Hooten?”
“Sure! That was a pretty low trick you pulled, taking Hooten's place. Where is Hooten?”
Top West became as alert as a cat at a mouse hole. “You do it?”
“No. He chased a subway train. He caught
Monk and Ham sat on their log, guarded by the man with the silly-looking balloon on a stick.
They did not say or do anything, except to look idiotic.
Doc Savage sat up finally. That was after fully
He sat without moving in the chair for another five minutes.
Then Doc looked at Monk and Ham.
He said, “This foolishness has gone about far enough, do you not think?”
Monk and Ham began looking perfectly sane. They got off the log.
“I think it has,” Monk said. “And right now I'm the wildest man around here. I'm itching for action.”
These bits I found clever:
DOC SAVAGE caught the girl before she could
fall and carried her into a small apartment which was probably furnished with
her own furniture, because it was the kind of furniture a mouselike girl like
her would own. There was a studio couch. Doc put her on that.
“Once, I had trouble with my eyes, and was blind. I was blind for almost a year. Blind people get to notice such things as footsteps. But that is beside the point. There were four intruders, and they took me. One used a thing I think you call a blackjack. I remember wondering if it would hurt my eyes again as he hit me.”
Here's some sexism out of the blue:
Doc Savage was silent, but he was also appreciative of the talents of Miss Abba Cushing. The young woman had qualities he had not suspected. She had gotten information out of Genie Reaveman with much more skill, he strongly suspected, than he could have managed himself. Abba was a psychologist, which meant she had brains, though she was actually too pretty a thing to have those.
April 11, 2015 Update:
Elderly Doc Savage Toy Asks Why Elderly Men Want A Toy Of An Elderly Man
Who Was Never Elderly To Begin With
The Time Terror: Yer darn tootin' I read this one because of the cover, where even the threat of imminent death doesn't stand in the way of Doc Savage's two hours of daily personal grooming!
Cary Grant PLUS Thurston Howell, III PLUS SUSAN HAYWARD PLUS RUBBER TOY PLUS LINT ROLLER EQUALS The Time Terror
1943's The Time Terror was written the year before, in the midst of WWII (1939-1945), so there were no qualms about identifying the bad guys as Japanese soldiers serving the ends of their country's master race ideology. In the lead-up years to open hostilities I found Doc Savage's vagueness policy on foreign antagonists quite annoying - the worst political correctness being applied to genocidal maniacs. I get it that nobody at Street & Smith wanted Pearl Harbor to take place earlier because of a ten cent pulp magazine's specificity, but still... we're all Charlie Hebdo.
The "Lost-World" Doc Savage novels are an archetype and I assume in the hearts and minds of Doc Savage fans the ultimate Doc Savage tale takes place in a hidden valley where time has stood still for millions of years. This one reads well and is nicely paced. The weird science of halted evolution and master-race "vitamins" are not absurd for fiction and they're dealt with in a complete and adult way instead of a last-second Hail Mary of a resolution. There's two bits I didn't accept. The first was the ultra-primitive Sand Men falling in line so easily. It would have been better to include Ga's more advanced people either as a fighting force or as experts on how to manipulate the Sand Men. The second was the impossibility of bringing back a Pterodactyl as proof of the hidden valley. As if anyone involved could capture one and shove it in a plane. Anyhoo...
I wish Doc's trilling never existed and was replaced instead with something like him focusing intensely and making the thought-indicating "Hmmm" noise. Tropical birds, musical winds - I wonder if that was as dumb back in the 30s as it is today?
Johnny's alternating exclusive use of big or small words needed to be better defined, and in various pulps the other aids take turns knowing the meaning of each word or acting like they're hearing a lost language for the first time. And then there's poor Monk. On one hand he's one of the most intelligent chemists of his time, while on the other he's generally dumb and illiterate. Expedience trumps consistency every time in the world of Doc Savage.
Long before Google News allowed anyone to customize the electronic delivery of specified news item into the device of their choosing, the process was, to say the least, involved:
ONIE MORTON worked for Doc Savage. Onie was a news condenser, which was a term invented for his job. Doc Savage maintained an elaborate set-up of specialists whereby the news from all parts of the world, which came into his office on leased wire printers and by special telephone and cabled missives from special correspondents, was gathered and condensed each day.
The idea of gathering and condensing this news was so that it could be presented to Doc Savage in a form brief enough for his quick examination. Doc Savage was very busy. In addition to pursuing his rather strange profession—distinctly strange, in fact—of righting wrongs and punishing evildoers in the far corners of the earth, or of sticking his nose into other people's business, as his enemies referred to it, Doc Savage was a scientist and experimenter of note.
Doc Savage liked to look at the news in brief to keep in touch with things, and to pick out items which needed his specialized kind of attention. He could go over these items and smell trouble.
Here's a good line about Monk:
One look at Lieutenant Colonel Mayfair and you knew why people who had never seen him before automatically called him Monk. He also had a ridiculous small boy voice. Hearing him when he was mad was funnier than listening to Hitler speak with a Yiddish accent.
The Time Terror. Look for it by name. To do otherwise would be a monumental waste of time.
Sony's Version Of Due Diligence: For a few years I've had an infrequent visitor from Sony Pictures. Two months ago they found my pages looking for something Statcounter calls "Keywords Unavailable". On Wednesday they visited again and wound up on Page 2, containing material over a year old. They didn't bother hitting the link to the updated main page, so what the hell kind of (re)search is that?
A Great Looking Ad From Sellers Of Battery Acid For The Urinary Tract:
"Another kidney medicine, Cystex Pills, was promoted for controlling germs; however, as good, persuasive advertising copy for the time, it is also referred to as 'acid'. Specifically it was claimed that Cystex: 'Helps nature remove certain irritating non-specific germs in acid conditions. 2. Relieves Rheumatic Pains and tired, achy feeling due to colds. 3. By relieving and calming irritated Bladder tissues it helps reduce frequent or smarting passages day and night.' "
Recordings of the Doc Savage radio program are lost to history but Cystex still chugs along. Scripts exist as trade paperbacks and they read poorly, with Doc Savage having standard radio adventures while accompanied only by Monk so he has someone to be talking to instead of communicating with spirits and demons as do the verbalizing homeless.
April 4, 2015 Update: Every Doc Savage Novel Can Be An Audio Book As Read By Stephen Hawking: The end results fell short in a Uncanny Valley fashion but I found a way to turn Doc Savage novels into MP3s. I listen to episodes of The Shadow, Dragnet, and Johnny Dollar radio shows when I take long walks and I wondered if converting text to audio would be tolerable. It's not, but at least it gave me a few chuckles.
If you're a Doc Savage fan you're also most likely an old timer internet user and remember when all the books were available for free from Blackmask.com. What I did was cut and paste a html text file into Word, saved it as a Word file, and then used Zamar.com (free) to convert it into an audio file. Simple as that but the end result is annoying unless you slow it down with something like the VLC Media Player (free). The droning monotone goes from cute to not so much in a minute but it's worth doing for the experience. If you've seen a Xtranormal video you'll recognize the male voice:
Please Excuse My Need To Fill Space: A major figure in the Doc Savage fan world posted these pics at Flearun of sketch cards I assume he paid good money to have made. I'll spare everyone my usual rant on what Doc Savage should look like, but I'll do some visual math for you:
Ming The Merciless Plus Al Bundy Equals Ming Bundy Doc Savage
Eddie Half Head Equals Half Head Shadow
The left image is from Dead Alive, from Peter Jackson. It's the second best horror-comedy of all time, behind the film it was made to out-gross, Evil Dead 2. The Shadow card also looks like a half-head zombie or that's the worst overbite I've ever seen.
The Too-Wise Owl:
From 1942, this was a good one. I was hoping to find out how many licks it takes to get the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop, but coming up short on that I'm happy to report this is a better effort by Lester Dent from the post-Uberman Doc Savage mystery detective era. I honestly have no idea when Doc stopped being omnipotent but I do know that after an initial ascent from 6' strong man to 6' 7" (or so) almost supernatural being, Doc Savage consistency fell by the wayside with an optimal Doc Savage popping his head up here and there and maybe a few times in a row. The Too-Wise Owl strikes the best balance I can remember of all the Doc Savages Street & Smith allowed to appear in their pages. He's great without being mystical and human without being overly introspective.
I'm surprised Dent wrote this because I thought his enthusiasm had left the building by this point. The Too-Wise Owl is smart, eccentric, concise (Dent sure could stretch things out), and odd in a good way. The story opens strong with a single line:
TROUBLE comes to men in strange shapes. It came to Doc Savage in the form of an owl.
Dent's insights are more subtle and therefore more effective than the breathless hyperbole of earlier novels:
Monk had long ago discovered that his homeliest
grins worked best with femininity. There was something fascinating about his
complete homeliness. Ham claimed it was a type of snake-and-bird fascination,
but Monk did not agree. He claimed there was honesty in his countenance, or
something else of which women approved; he didn’t know what.
Lola Huttig’s past life had been for the most
part a poverty-stricken one. She had never held a job which paid a great deal of
money. She had personally secured her education with hard work and persistence,
and she had fallen into the habit of envying others their easy life and smooth
manners. The next natural step was to wonder if she didn’t lack something that
other more successful people had. Courage, perhaps. Or confidence, or whatever
Doc avoided the mental portion of his exercises. The regular routine was divided into a number of sections designed to cultivate the sense of hearing, sight, touch, taste, and so on, as well as straight muscular ability. The whole routine was too complex for the plane. Also, the bronze man had a definite purpose in what he was doing, and mental exercise was not what he needed at the moment. His mental machinery was in enough of a whirl as it was.
The physical exercise did what physical exercise will almost always do—gave his nervous system relaxation.
The others were convinced he was insane.
This one reads well at first but it makes Doc out to not care about people because he himself is a good person who cares about others. It can't be just human-computer programming:
Doc Savage did not follow his unorthodox profession for any impractically idealistic reasons. If there were an idealist, it had been his father, who had placed him in the hands of the world’s leading scientists in specialized lines for training. The idea had been to create a superb human machine for fighting the battles of the weak. The project had been a success.
Actually, no normal man is likely to be a professional Sir Galahad, unless he has good reasons. Doc Savage was normal in that respect. He had his reasons.
His reason was excitement. He liked it. The fire and crackle of danger in far places, the impact of the unexpected. He was one of those men—and they are few—who thrive on things that keep other men awake nights and give them gray hair.
He had gathered together a group of five associates—Monk Mayfair and Ham Brooks were two—who shared his liking for excitement.
Dent twice inserts an editorial comment that pretends what being read is an account of a real event:
(The exact formulae for chemical mixtures
employed by Doc Savage are purposefully deleted. In the possession of a
criminal, for instance, the one Doc Savage has just used would be a distinct
asset-to the crook.)
(It is the policy of Doc Savage never to reveal the nature of gases and other equipment familiar to him, for fear that in untrained hands these things might be harmful.)
Is there really a type of bullet that can't shoot through a bagel?:
Three more bullets hit the owl! They were well aimed, wonderfully aimed! The owl lost some of its shape, so evidently the bullets were high-velocity slugs which mushroomed. The type of bullet with shocking power to kill a grizzly, but which would not shoot through a loaf of bread.
The story's intricate and most things make sense in context. I still don't see anyone agreeing to pretend shoot someone six times because a stranger on the street asks them too, or Monk saying F-It and abandoning everyone to get smarter than he is, or the dumb formula not existing at all just to resolve a punchline. All that aside this is a great effort and well worth your time, which has no value if you're not working. Stop putting a price tag on the hours you spend on the couch.
Heil Hail Doc Savage!: Here's (a) proof the Doc
Savage comic books are a conspiracy against Doc Savage. A 11"X17"
production proof from a 1992 Millenium comic book is for sale on the
eBay. I did a mirror image of it to show you how bad art can also be
tasteless and ignorant. Gaze at the cat-cosplay villains driving their three-wheeled
bug-face scooter with a wiggly spiked tail. And there's Doc
saluting Der Fuhrer while swinging away on a rope I assume is attached to
the Hindenburg. ...Oy, see you again next time.
March 28, 2015
Anarchy Reprint Capitalism In The UK: Here's a
neat thing you might not know about. Starting in
1972, Marvel Comics
repackaged American men-in-tights funny books for the UK market. In 1975
they put out a series titled "The Super-Heroes" and threw in reprints
from the Curtis B&W Doc Savage magazines in issues 23-27.
The Doc Savage item I'm still waiting for, and I'm not even sure if it was ever made, is The Marabout Key Ring holding six miniature books. Ant Man approved!
In Let's Pretend Doc Savage Was A Real Person News: Ancient 'lost city' home to a vanished civilisation found deep in jungles of Honduras.
The Death Lady:
These days when I choose a Doc Savage book to read I look for titles to make fun of. Because I'm a Brooklyn Intellectual. I'm also more tolerant of the later books than I once was. I used to be literally offended these lazy efforts of Doc Savage not being Doc Savage existed in the first place. Now I have a better understanding of how these books were put together, the attention and creative spans involved, and the financial and industry imperatives that moved everything forward no matter what. I'm curious as to when the series first stopped caring about what was appearing in its pages and if anyone spoke up after that time about putting out a consistently good product with stories directly created for the title characters. And if there was even a practical need to do so. The unfilmed Arnold Schwarzenegger-as-Doc script wasn't a Doc Savage script at all, so it's not like endless time and millions of dollars means anything to an industry that may (sadly) know its audience all too well.
1947's The Death Lady was written by Bill Bogart in 1946 from an idea he first submitted to Lester Dent in 1940. There's no science mystery or strange goings on - just a basic detective-action-adventure with a resolution that's neither implausible nor simplistic, while also being neither original nor overly interesting. The memorable offering of the book is a character named Mary English, who exists to be a perfectly marriageable mate for Doc Savage so that everyone can talk about it like Doc should marry her just because. An attempt is made at bedroom farce but since there's no sex in the Doc Savage world beyond references to dates with store clerks and getting engaged to a relative stranger at the end of an adventure, all you have is Doc being flustered to death having to share connected rooms in a hotel suite.
Doc Savage in this book is The Man Of Exclamation Points, which is not really Doc Savage but Bogart's trying to have fun with Doc's befuddlement mit die ladies so cue the slide whistle and strap yourself in for some light flustering:
As she told Doc just before they went aboard, “I'm not the famous personality you are. Most of my work as an agency operative has been done quietly and undercover. Nothing really adventurous has ever happened to me. Do you wonder I'm so excited?”
Doc said, “I'd feel better if you were a homely woman with buck teeth.”
“I don't believe that.”
“Well . . .”
She held his arm. “Darling, it's time to go aboard. Hurry!” She gave him the smile of a thoughtful dutiful wife.
Doc grunted something.
Monk asked, “How's the missus?” Doc attempted a strained smile.
“She sure is a honey,” added Monk. “I wouldn't mind being married to something like her.”
Doc growled, “But nobody's married!”
“I'll bet she would marry you, though,” said Monk. “She'd jump at the chance.”
“I always said,” Monk said seriously, “Doc needed a wife around. Of course, you'll find him a little hard to manage at times . . .”
The book flew across the room and barely missed the homely chemist's head.
“Out with you!” Doc rapped. Ham shoved his partner toward the door. “You heard what the man said,” he ordered.
“Good!” said Long Tom. “The only other detail will be your posing as Mary English's husband.”
“What!” exploded Doc.
Doc's not really Doc, but that was common by 1947. Monk and Ham's relationship is less annoying in The Death Lady and more of a healthy friendship, at least in the beginning. Later on they revert to children but for a while I liked how they interacted. Long Tom is the other aide to appear, and he's a major player, but it's obvious the role was written for Johnny but not carried through because of his big word imperative, which only works in tiny doses as a character affectation. Long Tom is not tall and he has no reason to be involved with lost civilization explorations. They did the 1947 version of "Find and Replace" and switched the names, which isn't as bad as "You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn't you?", but then again, what is?
A hip drug reference in a Doc Savage novel alert!:
Ham stopped. “No, look,” he said sharply. “One thing at a time. You saw something a while ago that's made you act like a guy on a reefer jag. Out with it, pal! Just what . . .”
Doc's a gun man in this one, which always makes me think the story was written generically and then adapted for Doc Savage. Another clue is this weird bit:
Someone's elbow caught Ham in the face. It stung more than a fist. It jarred his teeth and sent pain shooting through his skull. Right then he started fighting like a demon.
He managed to hang onto one tall, lean fellow long enough to get him down on the ground. He had an idea that Doc didn't want anyone killed. Just shake them up a bit to let them know who was boss.
In 1947 Ham only had a vague understanding of Doc's No Kill policy? Really?... Really?
The Death Lady. Yup, it's a Doc Savage novel. You can read it if you want to, and you can dance if you want to.
What The World Needs Now:
For the love of all that's good and decent please someone make this a shirt for sale again. It's fantastic. As someone who sweats a lot I'd make this a Pit Stains Of Bronze shirt in no time, so I'll take one in black please.
March 21, 2015 Update: 2876 Doc Savage Dr. Langley, WA 98260 is for sale at just under half a million dollars. 3 BR, 2 1/2 Bath, and it might as well be the Fortress Of Solitude as it's in the dead center of absofugglutely nowhere!
Doc And The Five Valets Are Off On An Exciting Redbox and Twizzlers Adventure!!
Doc Buttaface's Nice Ass: A long time ago, current Doc Savage go-to artist Joe Devito designed a Doc Savage statue cast in both bronze and porcelain. A bronze statue didn't sell the first time around for $1,100.00 on eBay so we'll see if the seller tries again at a lower price. I've seen the porcelain version sell for at least $1,000.00 a few times, so who knows why.
I don't like the face as the chin at the right angles makes Doc look like a combination of Bing Crosby and Robert Z'Dar, and while I'm not a fan of Doc being emotional or enraged he does look like he's making a sandwich instead of fighting for his life.
This listing is the first time I've seen the back of the statue, and it's exponentially more impressive from that angle. I'm straight. Just ask the ladies, but seriously, nice ass Doc!
"People ask me if I am a leg man, a breast man or an ass man. I figure I must be an ass man because people are always yelling 'Hey, you're an ass, man !!' "
It's Funny Because It's True And Sad Because It's Sad: Found Here:
"While the general plotline was followed, due to the limitation of the comics at the time, things were really simplified. Only Monk appeared in this adaptation. One source claims Ham appears in the third part, but this is not true. Frankly, the artwork was so poor that it was sometimes hard to distinguish Doc and Monk in some of the panels. Usually the only difference might be hair color (which wasn’t correct for the two) or pants color."
I can see where one might confuse a 6'7" Adonis with a 5' tall by 5' wide human ape. Which segues into...
Altered States: Doc Savage:
Flearun members hate this but I didn't mind it so much as I saw it as a comic book written for ten year olds, and in that context it's a small story making small points and filling up a kid's time with colors and action and stuff. If this comic book was written for adults specifically then I feel bad for everyone involved in the creative process, but I still enjoyed this better than past efforts by Dynamite. There's bloody faces and mention of psychotropic drugs, but I have no idea what qualifies for what reading ages these days.
Justice, Inc. was impressive in effort and research but the story was grossly overcomplicated and tied up in historical name-dropping and working through long lists of character bullet points. Everything else calling itself Doc Savage from Dynamite has been Failure piled on top of Unreadable and sprinkled with Wrong. At one point they stopped telling a story and started a new one because the old one was that bad.
The artist scrunches facial features into the middle of faces and Doc is the same height as Ham. Long Tom's freaking me out man. Those haunted doll eyes! Is Johnny Clark Kent now? Is Ham a butler?
As I turn each page now all I can think of is "eh" and I feel no need to harp on anything except a general disgust with using John Sunlight as Doc's default nemesis. He's supposedly Doc's equal and he appeared in two pulps. Otherwise he's bland and not at all interesting. Using him is lazy and mundane.
Blind People Know What Doc Savage Looks Like Better Than The Sighted: [I hit these points all the time but I'm doing this as a refresher in view of what I wrote about above] I just spent time image searching various comic book characters and The Shadow, the only other pulp era character of visual volume note. I find a consistent iconic thread in everyone but Doc Savage. The #1 Rule of Branding is that is should be consistent. As a concept Doc Savage is easy to explain. Sadly, comic books don't know and even try to tell Doc Savage stories while even Doc Savage pulps forgot after a while to tell Doc Savage stories. Visually Doc Savage is as undefined as the human mind can imagine it.
Doc Deathlok With Mike Tyson Tattoo
I've been staring dumbfounded for the last full minute pondering this set of Doc Savage images that might be the worst thing I've ever imagined one could call Doc Savage. Read the notations and cringe. He's the same artist who came up with my longtime second worst Doc Savage image - the Lurch Savage statue standing over a blue egg yolk. The worst one might be lost on the internet so I can't share it here. It's one with Doc as a blonde D-Dag dancing a jig and flexing his guns like a date rapist while a floozy whore-dances on a piece of rocket debris.
In A Perfect World Walter Baumhofer's Doc Savage Would Be The
And We Could All Have Nice Things
James Bama's Work Was Iconic In The 1960s And Expedient As Paperback Covers, But Musculature Has Improved Greatly Since And Bama's Work Was Degraded By Others Into Sgt. Mummy Widow's Peak, AARP And Other Mutations
The Many Faces Of Doc Savage
Today's Favorite - Creature From The Black Lagoon Doc (Bottom Left)
March 15, 2015 Update: The closest thing to Doc Savage movie news is a IMDB bulletin board reference to a Shane Black interview in the September, 2014 issue of Total Film UK, where Black claims he'll get back to Doc Savage after The Nice Guys wraps. Do you honestly think he'll revisit a moribund script deemed too expensive instead of diving into the next Predator shlockbuster? Me neither.
Hi, I'm Skip Savage, But You Can Call Me Skippy: If Clark Savage Junior was most famous for his boating skills his nickname might be "Skip" Savage, or even "Skippy" to his pals. I've always wished they handled the "Doc" thing better in the pulps. Supposedly Doc wasn't a fan of it but his closet associates were allowed to call him Doc. "Clark" should have been used more frequently, especially in formal situations and newspaper references. If he's the most accomplished human alive he shouldn't have a default nickname that takes him less seriously. You didn't have the man behind the Theory Of Relativity called Brains Einstein instead of Albert, but it was fine to call Lindley Armstrong Jones "Spike" because it's a great showbiz name and who the hell names their kid "Lindley"? Doc calls himself "Doc" more often than he should in the name of not confusing the idiot readers. In a Doc Savage movie Clark should be used as often as Doc, and in the right settings.
Doc: "After All This Steroid Abuse? Not Little Doc, If You Catch My Drift!"
The Law Is A Whore: A Bob Ingersoll writes a web column on "The Law" as it can be applied to comic book plots - which might as well include dreams and drug hallucinations. For what it is I can go along with whimsical f--kery but one thing annoys me while another thing really annoys me. He uses as his base the recent Doc Savage comic books from Dynamite Entertainment - offering the validity and authority of a dream and drug hallucination.
As the lesser evil I'm not a fan of comic books focusing on Doc's use of brain surgery to reform criminals and the implications of it in retrospect as a means of painting Doc Savage as a Joseph Mengele hammering ice picks into people's brains through eyes and noses to create an army of lobotomized do-gooders. Lobotomies were considered largely successful, as is electric shock therapy even today. In Doc's day you might consider what he did utopian. It's standard comic book postmodern douchery to have a Doc Savage comic book focus on implying Doc Savage was as bad as the villains he fought. Write Doc Savage stories, not today's daily exercise in moral equivalence, moral indifference, and moral bankruptcy.
The larger evil is Ingersoll implying that stapled sheets of toilet paper with colorful excrement splashed on them changes and adds to the literary canon of what Lester Dent et al. created from 1933 to 1949. He writes:
"I don’t know how long Doc did this. His biography in the Doc Savage Wiki says that he did it in the 'early episodes.' But Doc Savage v1 #7 says he was still doing it in 1988."
Nothing written after 1949 adds to the Doc Savage timeline. New books are fan fiction and comic books are insults to the legacy of Doc Savage. Ingersoll is writing a law piece assuming Doc Savage was performing lobotomies in 1988 (at the age of 88) because it was in a horrifically bad comic book written by people who care about Doc Savage as much as rapists do foreplay.
The Laugh Of Death:
I read this so I could post the classic Monty Python skit "The Funniest Joke In The World":
1942's The Laugh Of Death is an odd read as it spends more time than usual away from Doc Savage and gets into his head to reveal a less than super man. It's like having Superman stories where he's not really that strong, and also burdened with introspective monologues of self-doubt and fear. It's not so bad in this book but later ones are Freudian nightmares of ineffectual mind noodlings and successes that might as well be dumb luck. If earlier Doc Savage stories were too Uberman for Dent and Doc's readers tastes the step back could have been toning it down without turning Doc into an everyputz with good qualities and abilities on the surface as a mostly effective front. I wonder if Dent resented Doc Savage in this era of being forced to write it.
Doc's five associates and his cousin Pat are in the book but all
are off-stage except for Monk, and even then not so much as the narration
often isolates Doc both physically and in his mind. Dent has Doc
talk to himself a few times, possibly to make Doc more chatty for
radio shows or to lessen the need for the omnipresent breathless
narration of earlier novels. The series could have used more
immediate and personal narration for sure but Doc Savage and what made
him great didn't need to be diminished at the same time. It's a better
narrative view of something you didn't want to see happen.
The story itself is average with much time focused on people you don't know talking to each other about whatever it is they're talking about. The Laugh Of Death is less Doc Savage driven and therefore boilerplate. Some fun things happen but it could have easily happened to pulp characters (I'm fabricating) like The Wincer, Mary Hardwiggle: Lady Detective, or Boy Mystery Solver.
I liked this bit of colorful insight:
"They climbed into the plane. The pilot had one arm and a distinctly evil appearance, which made him by far the most villainous-looking member of the group, whereas he was actually the least reprehensible."
On to odd bits I found: Doc's wealth is on display and he has no problem throwing around cash to purchase a hick town newspaper, buy access to a wire service, hire hunters to pretend something happened, and have a custom machine built to produce a loud noise for this pretend happening. For what it accomplished he could have just paid to have a fake newspaper story go out on the wire via the local paper. Later on Doc gets thrifty all of a sudden:
"Doc Savage gave the thin wires a yank and brought the phony cigarette package over the side. He caught it and stowed it carefully in its waterproof bag. The thing had cost a hundred and fifty dollars, and there were only a few men who knew how to make them. He went under the surface again and swam away. His “lung” device did not work so well; there was water in it or something."
Doc's gadgets and abilities fail him regularly in The Laugh Of Death. When his aqualung fails the explanation is less than scientific, "there was water in it or something". "Something" is another way of saying "I have no effing idea. Stop asking me". Bookend the quote above with:
"Then glass broke with the mushy noise that bottles make when they are full of liquid. The men ran away. Doc Savage let them go. He had several hideous moments while he got out his “lung” gadget, which doubled as a gas mask, and put it on. He was afraid the gas might be dichlorethyl sulphide or some other form of vesicant which would affect him through the skin pores. It wasn't, but it was not pleasant, either. It was ordinary diphenyl-chlorasine, or tear gas. Doc sank flat on the floor and worked frantically getting the transparent hood, which he carried for such emergencies, over his head. But somehow a hole had been ripped in the hood, and he had to hold the aperture shut while he worked out of the apartment and down to 204."
Doc is clearly not the man he used to be:
"Doc Savage suddenly wished he had done this a little differently. He wished he had grabbed all of them, or even one or two, and made them tell what the laughing was."
"He hit Mathis first, or tried to, because the man was the most dangerous. It was his brain behind all this. Doc tried to break his jaw with an uppercut. He missed completely."
"So Doc's current behavior was hardly in keeping.
He had knocked a toe out of joint in kicking the vault door in a rage. He had yanked out loose strong boxes and hurled them against the walls. He had yelled things into the telephone that connected the telephone in the vault with the exterior. He had threatened to buy the bank and fire everybody in it. He had threatened to kick certain parts of the pompous bank president's anatomy up around his ears.
None of which had gotten him out of the vault."
In this last scene Doc's either still under the effects of the Laughing Bomb or he's lost his composure big time. It's not addressed either way.
Here Doc's gun policy gets castrated:
“Help!” shrieked the girl in the street.
“Have you got a gun?” Doc asked Monk grimly. Doc never carried a gun. He wished he had one now.
“No,” Monk said. “Was the phone tapped?”
“If I had a gun I could stop this.” Doc withdrew from the window. “He's got Vivian—as a hostage, I guess. Yes, the phone was tapped, all right, and a henchman was sitting in to take any calls from here.”
Chapter 4: And Over There Is The Kitchen
Women in 1942 loved them some heavy drugs:
Doc Savage did not want a hysterically screaming young woman on his hands. He removed a metal case from his pockets, and examined the contents, selecting a capsule.
“Take this,” he directed.
She took the capsule suspiciously. “What is it?”
“A strong hypnotic,” he said. “It won't knock you out, but it will protect your mind against mental shock just as a general or local anaesthetic protects your body against the physical shock of an operation.”
“Oh!” She hesitated. Then she gulped the capsule.
I had a bunch more but this is running long. Silly things happen in this book, which editing could and should have caught. These were bright people. I believe they let little failures slip through because of time restraints, interest gaps, and odd assumptions on what constituted pulp literature and its audience.
March 8, 2015 Update: TITLE: Post-Doc-Savagism and the Ten Percent Rule. SUBTITLE: Why There Is No Such Thing As A Doc Savage Novel Spoiler: As I pondered reviewing another Doc Savage pulp the zeitgeist of Spoilers came to mind - soon replaced by the usual screaming voices that order me to, you know, do things. (see Subtitle above) because we live in a Post-Doc-Savage world and the Ten Percent Rule applies exponentially to genre literature. Before you go back to p0rn lobstering, pretend to read the following for a moment.
Postmodernism may be dead but the internet is Idiocracyism. My role is mostly "I come to bury Doc Savage, not to praise him." I do this because the Doc Savage world is a conspiracy against Doc Savage. It rejects the best of Doc Savage for what makes it childish, generic, and moot. While a new Doc Savage film burns, Neros fiddle with depictions of an elderly Doc Savage that never existed and make him a comic book action figure with none of the original appeal or reason to matter now. This happens because those who crank out Doc Savage items for a niche market either don't know or care while the end users either don't know or are grateful for literally anything. This is why we don't have nice things and can't have nice things.
The Great Leslie "Doc" Nielson, R.I,P.
The Ten Percent Rule Of Culture, patent pending Me, says that only ten percent of anything is of real and permanent value to those interested in said thing. The bottom ten percent is a crime against the humanities while the middle eighty is a hit-or-miss wasteland where money and leisure time go to live and die. Genre Culture is rejected by a larger number than Popular Culture and has its own Ten Percent Rule with the caveat that its appeal to fans is as influenced by inherent genre tropes as it is quality. Subgenre Culture is fetish fodder so quality isn't a factor as long as My Little Pony is giving it real good to Edward Cullen while Megatron watches while standing outside a window in a thunderstorm. Because traumatic childhood events.
Is Doc Savage genre or sub-genre literature? I don't know, I'm asking. I do know the best aspects of the Doc Savage world are incredible while the books themselves rise, fall, stumble around, forget where they are or what they're doing, and generally provide as much bewilderment as they do entertainment. To be honest with yourself and The World you have to approach them with a loving yet fair Post-Doc-Savagism, and to be honest there's nothing about a Doc Savage story you can't know about beforehand because that would spoil the experience for you. The experience is the experience itself.
Devil On The Moon:
1938's Devil On The Moon, according to Will Murray in the Sanctum Books reprint, was the first book to be returned to Lester Dent for serious revision. Editor and co-creator John L. Nanovic points out a few things I imagine were improved upon but the bit about Behemoth was, like how Woody Allen described his worst orgasm, right on the money:
"Story seemed poor to me. The feeling of the supernatural was not built up enough in the story until the end where Doc and his men are imprisoned in Greenland. Too--but maybe it's because I know plots so well--it seemed to me that the character of Behemoth was too obvious. It seemed easy to guess that he was Doc Savage, almost from the beginning. Also, Doc's method of escaping from his prison seemed poor."
The build-up and escape are fine. I didn't mention this in my review of The Vanisher but at one point Doc escapes by hypnotizing a bad guy with a series of facial contortions like he was trying to force a three foot tapeworm out of his body with muscles developed from two hours a day of Kegel exercises. Behemoth should have been revealed as Doc much earlier and the rest of his tenure in disguise adjusted accordingly in narration. I read this wondering if Lester Dent assumed his readers were idiots or mostly new to the characters. In disguise Doc asks so many questions I was waiting for him to get shot twice a page.
All the aides are involved but they're exceedingly secondary and I guess I understand people's belief they're not all needed for a Doc Savage movie. They are for a few reasons but each needs to be improved upon and together seamlessly bonded as a team. Doc Savage is not a complete personality and the story needs his assistants to create an attractive, interesting whole. Doc Savage was created with five assistants and you can't just dump three of them without diminishing and being disrespectful to the source material. Murray writes that Devil On The Moon is Pat Savage-centric but I didn't see it. Her involvement isn't any more involved than other stories I've read but here she's not whiny and stamping her foot like actresses did in old movies to show they were angry. While the assistants are bland she is in control of the situation - a nice change kicked in the kegels when she insists on doing the wrong thing and letting in the bad guys towards the end. And oh lord do I hate the pig and monkey.
According to this book science in 1938 didn't know if the moon had an atmosphere. I don't begrudge the pulp its sci-fi aspirations. It's kinda cool considering the year and it must have been exciting for the reader. I do know that if you shoot a rocket like a gun shoots a bullet everyone inside would splatter into a thin paste against the back wall, but hey, 1938!
Compare and contrast:
"Bob Thomas was impatient. 'This Doc Savage is a man who devotes his life to going about the world righting wrongs and punishing evildoers. It sounded kind of queer to me.'"
"Long Tom was usually a peaceful soul. And since he did not look
capable of licking a twelve-year-old boy,
his statement seemed slightly grotesque."
I didn't think this was a great story but the naive science aspects of it tickled me and the running around and stuff kept my interest. As storytelling it fell short for convenience large and small. Aldace K. O’Hannigan's appearance made no sense beyond being a false lead, and if Bob Thomas is the evil mastermind his every thought and action shouldn't be narrated as innocent and kind.
Doc Savage CSI: They Never Found Doc's Head!
Once again I learned that if a person gets killed off-page and the body never seen again - that's the mastermind. I also discovered that people in the 1930s got engaged after knowing each other for a few days because that's how you said I like you a whole lot and we should get to know each other better.
March 1, 2015 Update: More changes at Sony Pictures is the closest I could find to anything relevant to a new Doc Savage film, and I concur wholeheartedly with sole commenter "jimmy" when he stated the obvious with "hi".
This Variety article is as depressing as it is an opportunity for Doc Savage. The former in that today's yoot consumers combine a seemingly untoppable concentration of cultural ignorance, an infant's attention span, narcissism, non-digital helplessness and hopelessness, and a proud indifference to the restraints of common knowledge, ethics, and civility. Faith Popcorn is elbow-deep in corporate new-age feel-goodery as she must realize we've devolved into a post-technological society of Selfie Id Truman Shows, and all we can do is pretend it's more than it is - furry little animals hitting buttons repeatedly for digital pellets of synapse stimulation.
I also doubt anything not floating on the top and screaming will be made at Sony until the entire new management structure is in place and everyone knows their role for a sufficient amount of time for creatives to bring up ideas without fear of being escorted off the premises. On the plus side Doc Savage exists at Sony and at one time they made all the right noises about it. Doc Savage is in the DNA of modern action and adventure culture arguably more than any other fictional character. Batman, Superman, James Bond, The Fantastic Four, Sgt. Fury, Indiana Jones - they're all Doc Savage.
Doc Savage As The Dumb Jock Bully In High School Who Stole Your Lunch
Money Every Day.
Ex-Lax Jess Nevins!
Doc Savage is also a creative opportunity to develop a new subgenre of film (1930s pulp fiction action-adventure) in an industry in the midst of developing over forty comic book movies as I sit before you typing - fully clothed I assure you (wink). This would require a Doc Savage movie that's not a comic book movie - aaaaaand good luck with that. Someone at Sony has to decide to take a chance and make a real pulp film involving the best aspects of Doc Savage, completely removed from the world of comic books or Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicles squirted out by The Cannon Group. I'll wager twelve internet monies the script from Shane Black pals Anthony Bagarozzi and Chuck Mondry reads like a Golan-Globus production, and when assigned it by Shane Black they were handed printouts of the Doc Savage Wikipedia entry and a few paperbacks.
Why yes, I sometimes do think I'm Barton Fink and I've come to Hollywood (from the LBC on the 405) to make a Doc Savage-esque "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", and all I get are these quotes from a 1991 film:
"Look Bart, barring a preference we're going to put you on a wrestling picture, Wallace Beery. I say this because they tell me you know the poetry of the streets, so that would rule out westerns, pirate pictures, screwball, Bible, Roman... look, I'm not one of those guys who thinks poetic has got to be fruity. We're together on that aren't we? I mean I'm from New York myself, well, Minsk if you want to go all the way back. Which we won't, if you don't mind and I ain't asking. Now people are going to say to you, Wallace Beery, wrestling, it's a B picture. You tell them: BULLS--T! We do NOT make B pictures here at Capitol. Let's put a stop to that rumor RIGHT now!"
"Wallace Beery. Wrestling picture. What do you need, a roadmap?"
"We don't put Wallace Beery in some fruity movie about suffering - I thought we were together on that."
1947, When Women Were Women, Men Were Men, Sheep Were Afraid, And Doc Savage Books Were No Longer About Doc Savage:
This review of the 1947 Doc Savage story "Monkey Suit" comes with a soundtrack. I read this book because a favorite song of mine contains the random lyric "Monkey Suit". Good enough for government.
"Monkey Suit" was one of five Doc Savage stories written in the first person. You can read them all in the Bantam Omnibus #5 paperback or this one in #57 of the recent reprints. Will Murray says nothing about it except that it exists, but the volume includes two illustrations from legendary illustrator Edward Daniel Cartier and an intro by Lester Dent I didn't have in the electronic version I read. It's as if he's addressing me directly:
"Recently, after having written some one hundred and sixty-eight book-length Doc Savage novels in the conventional way, it came about that a different sort of story saw print: A first-person piece, told by a narrator who was there. The reason: It was a manuscript told by an on-the-spot character who, while his prose might set Shakespeare spinning in his crypt like one of Mr. Mahdi's dervishes, at least owned authenticity. Well, to bob the tail of what could be a long explanation and put it briefly - here is another Johnny-on-the-spot narrative.
In this case, Henry-on-the-spot would be more apt. You may not like Henry. I can well understand how you would find him personally insufferable, and yearn to lodge at least one firm kick in his slats.
Anyway, no apologies for this different sort of a Doc Savage yarn. Just a rather grim expression and - as Henry gets it in the neck from time to time - a not too repressed grin. For Henry is, frankly, best described as that unmentionable southern part of a northbound horse."
Was Dent forced by his editors to passive-aggressively apologize in this manner or did he realize on his own the only thing a reader would experience is a blind hatred for the narrator? Mr. Henry A. E. Jones, D. Sc., President, Jones Research Laboratory, is a nasty, sniveling, petty turd of a man who lends no authenticity to the story because all he references is his own loathsome qualities. Shouldn't the narrator represent the reader in a way, or at least not be someone you want to repeatedly kick in the groin yourself? There's no satisfaction when Henry gets his frequent comeuppances, both large and small. None. This is Dent's fault for focusing so hard on fleshing out Henry with obsessive thoroughness. Here's Henry at his worst:
"My mind is logical, accustomed to analysis and reason-grasping, so that it was clear to me that my growing disfavor in the lovely girl's eyes was not my fault, but due to the fantastic—and cheap, I felt—spectacularity with which this Doc Savage person and his stooge, Mayfair, were operating. They were not my type, and in comparison I suffered. In the long run, of course, Miss Farrar would certainly recognize my superior qualities. But the trouble was, I couldn't seem to compose myself for a long run. I was impatient. I wished to shine before the young lady, and shine now."
In a way Henry is the worst version of Ham Dent had in the back of his mind.
Doc Savage is shown to be awesome, which I like, even though he does equally half of everything off-page. Monk is the only aide, and if you could only have one he'd be your guy. "Monkey Suit", like "No Light To Die By", does present Monk in a more "authentic" manner, so at least there's that, and there's this neat bit which I've seen happen in real life:
"Miss Lila Farrar was waiting at a soda fountain, and a young gentleman had obviously been attempting to strike up an acquaintance with her. This fellow noticed me, and was not impressed, but then he saw Mr. Mayfair, and he literally fled."
The entirety of the story, even the title, is a MacGuffin. Dent wanted to flesh out a character he had in his head and "Monkey Suit" is the result. It's another interesting experiment and a WTF wrong choice played out to the end.
Why We Can't Have Nice Things #312:
The Worst Doc Savage Made Even Worse.
February 22, 2015 Update: If you Google "Doc Savage" this site comes up on Page 12, and I've been doing this on a regular basis since 2009. No wonder I'm not rich yet!
Another Book Considered:
I like this cover a lot but felt compelled to read "No Light To Die By" because it's not even the featured story in a magazine titled "Doc Savage". That honor belonged to an oddball character whose business cards read "No Address. No Phone. No Business. No Money. Retired". The other 1947 pulps led with Doc Savage adventures so this must have been an exception due to Gresham's fame the year before with "Nightmare Alley". According to Will Murray in the trade paperback, Lester Dent had taken another break from writing Doc Savage stories and penned this one in hopes of jumping on the gravy train of a movie serial being produced with Doc Savage as much less superman and much more "science detective". That never came to be.
Another slight to Doc is the first-person narration provided by one Sammy Wales, an average Joe drifter with hardboiled detective literary aspirations. Lester Dent is no Dashiell Hemmett or Raymond Chandler, so what comes out of Sammy Wales reads too much like desperation to always be cleverly gritty and honest. I did like lines like "The carpet nap against my face was thick and soft and did not smell of dust. It was the first carpet my face had been on that did not smell of dust." and "You had to like the homely baboon. He was uglier than a mud fence. A mud fence would have looked like a piece of silk ribbon beside him. But it was an amiable kind of homeliness—you felt the same way toward him that you feel toward St. Bernard dogs, who also have faces which don't take beauty prizes." Good lines pop up here and there but when others fall short they do so with a thud.
It's nice to get a different perspective on a Doc Savage adventure, one that's reliably objective and not written in narrative superlatives. The problem is that Sammy Wells is a bit of a douche and his prose is windy and scattershot. Cheese like this worked best with my main man Johnny Dollar, the two-fisted insurance investigator with the action-packed expense account!
Take a listen. It's comedy as much as it is action and adventure. If Dent made Sammy more likeable and employed some humor in his descriptions the story might have been a success. As is, "No Light To Die By" is less about Doc Savage than a putz who thinks he's Sam Spade and won't shut up about it. On the plus side Doc's in control of the goings on and he gets things done with wealth, connections, and police support. On the down side what Doc does seems to be off in the distance somewhere because this is Sammy's stream of consciousness typed on paper.
The science is au courant circa 1947 but altogether not that exciting. A
makes B happen but not when it was really intended to do C. The payoff
isn't even accorded its due from the build-up. I wonder if
the appeal for readers back then would be in line with 1931's film
adaptation of Frankenstein, where all you had to have was a
dog-and-pony show of electrical sparks, large machinery with dials
aplenty, and a Tesla arc:
Which leads to what "futuristic" technologies would appeal to audiences today in a new Doc Savage film. You don't need to be futuristic from today but futuristic from the 1930s, done cleverly and presented as awesome to those experiencing it then. One example could be a small screen that reads thumb prints and allows access to a room.
"No Light To Die By" is short and worth reading as a change of pace and an effort that had potential but fell short.
Who Wore It Better (Rubbery Limbs Edition):
Doc Savage Vs. Stretch Armstrong
Unrelated Joke Of The Day:
Morris Schwartz is on his deathbed, knows the end is near,
and is with his nurse, his wife, his daughter and 2 sons.
"So", he says to them:
"Bernie , I want you to take the Beverly Hills houses."
"Sybil, take the apartments over in Los Angeles Plaza."
"Hymie, I want you to take the offices over in City Center."
"Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings downtown."
The nurse is just blown away by all this, and as Morris slips away, she says,
"Mrs. Schwartz, your husband must have been such a hard-working man to have accumulated all this property."
Sarah replies, "Property? The asshole had a paper route!"
February 16, 2015 Update: The Doc Savage movie world is quiet. This page is either the greatest thing for Doc Savage fans or the worst thing that's ever happened to this guy's wife. Maybe both! It's genius. It turns into Art what I normally associate with sadness - sad little childish unfinished basement sadness.
Damn! The Images Are Protected
Here's Some Sad Little Childish Unfinished Basement Sadness Instead
Also genius is WinniGerhards' latest Doc Savage homage cover using Will Eisner art featured in the 1948 Spirit weekly "The Story of Gerhard Shnobble". While I enjoy Winni's take on Doc Savage as a rotund adult Charlie Brown, this one is what I think the kool kidz call "The Excrement":
A Book Considered: My latest Doc Savage read is "The Seven Agate Devils" from May, 1936. It's not a horrible book but it's a general mess, with a payoff that must have made no sense as it was first written, and which could have been improved before publication but wasn't.
The Will Murray historical summation in #41 of the Sanctum reprints paints this novel and Lester Dent's efforts to utilize ghost writers as frustrating failures. Norma Dent remembers her husband's experience as "I heard him say, many a time, that it would have been easier for him to have written them in the first place." Murray writes of Dent's attempt to breed a pond of ghost writing fish, "As near as we can piece the story together, Lester was attempting to pile up Doc Savage novels while looking at other opportunities." I imagine Dent's relationship with pulp fiction was akin to Stan Lee's view on comic books - in that they were embarrassed to work in literature's gutters. I do know the pace of a book a month is insane in itself so when I call a Doc Savage novel bad it's not like I could ever write one in a month (or 47).
"The Seven Agate Devils" features Monk more than anyone but the novel isn't about him. He's just being beaten up and running around a lot being at best marginally effective. Here's proof to those so inclined to believe the aides serve little purpose beyond getting in trouble and requiring rescue. Only Ham and Monk are in this one so I award six Lazy Points. Ham and Monk are the default aides but they're also in a way the most poorly defined, and Ham's a putz who fondles and unsheathes his sword cane to the same effect as Barney Fife reaching into his breast pocket for the bullet he's allowed to carry for an emergency. Every month Monk sustains a few concussions, so by the end of this novel you'd think he'd be gone by the next one due to Dementia Puglilistica. Radiation also plays a major part of the story, as do many others. I don't see how Doc made it past 1938 because of radiation poisoning.
Doc Savage himself is an Ubermensch (a good thing) but there's times he's also just going along to see where the ride takes him, and he expresses Average Joe reactions. Doc's both five chess moves ahead and not much so in the same space. The narration and action contradict themselves.
Pro Tip #9: When a guest star named something like Slappy Pappy Joe or Wentworth Fuzzlebottom III gets killed abruptly off-screen (book version) towards the end of a novel it means he's the leader of the bad guys.
Have you noticed there's rarely anything truly glamorous in Doc Savage books? The Empire State Building and large aircraft are stated to be impressive but the Doc Savage world is highly utilitarian and the places Doc and Co. wind up in are mostly dirty old splinter and tetanus traps. Dent gives no attention to clothing beyond how they highlight a woman's features or quickly help define someone's personality. Ham is a fop, Monk is a circus clown, and Johnny is an undertaker. Renny and Long Tom wear whatever's clean. You'd think Dent would give more attention to Doc's clothing but he obviously didn't give an excrement.
Uncle Morty Monk
The Worst Monk Of All Time
Pro Tip #312: When a large sedan is barreling towards a man tied to a pole you can save said individual by kicking the car's front tire with both feet.
The pig and monkey are annoying on every level and whenever I read a Doc Savage fan's input on how they have to be in a Doc Savage movie I ball up my widdle fists and shake them not at the warped ceiling above me but the universe beyond it. I skip through any scene involving Arnold Ziffel or Dunstan.
Yeah, the ending. The setup of bodies being ripped apart and a small red agate statue of a devil found at the scene is one of the better if not self-defining gimmicks, but the payoff didn't even make sense within its own context. They screwed up the method of propulsion to where even I laughed, and I'm a science idiot!
I do give the story credit for drawing me in so I always felt like I was standing there taking it all in. I spent a lot of that time pondering the tale's choices, but at least I wasn't bored to distraction.
[Updated 3/1/2015] You're Fired!: This "DOC SAVAGE TARGET FIRING SHOOTING RANGE GAME ARGENTINA SEALED RARE" was pricey at $72.99 shipped but it's by far the coolest of the 439 Doc Savage toys produced in Argentina in what I assume was 1975-ish.
I've been informed the images can't be more than six years old by a source who's both good and in desperate need to something better to do. If this is true I'm amazed Argentina's still cranking out product like this. Is Doc big in Argentina? If Ron Ely flew there would he be received like Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica?
February 7, 2015 Update: A Confluence Of Events: Big to-dos at Sony as Amy Pascal parachuted sideways to a production deal (on the same lot) in the wake of the still unresolved hacking assault and battery on the Culver City campus. This will lead to new leadership and a sweeping reevaluation of everything on Sony's to-do list. Doc Savage is there somewhere, possibly a key part of an ad-hoc monitor stand on an admin's desk. Lord, what I'd give to critique that inevitable stack of wrong that fell to the wayside as too expensive to produce (code for no thanks!).
It might have been a year ago that someone at Sony found my pages using the company's ISP. So says Statcounter. I got another hit on Wednesday. Maybe somebody remembered Doc Savage and Googled it for yuks. Maybe someone was asked to see how ablaze the internet is about Doc Savage. Maybe...
I hope whoever visited didn't also find this comment thread on Facebook's Flearun. If so Sony knows who not to ask for their expertise on Doc Savage, as Doc Savage fans, like my dry cleaner, colonic irrigationist, and favorite homeless guy Toothless Joe, might also have no idea what a Doc Savage is.
I belong to a d-bag fitness chain in Los Angeles. They build better facilities than the one open 24 hours, but from CEO to Salesman mine is run like a money laundering operation. No laws of God and Men are enforced. Most days I think I'm the strongest, smartest, and most considerate person at any location I visit. I'm going out on a limb here (on a matter of least importance) and say I'm the person who cares most about Doc Savage. I've written this site since 2009 to protect him. I don't want to change him into something he wasn't. My opinions aren't based on who I fantasize I am or what ideas popped into my head after playing for hours in my basement of Doctor Moreau's Graveyard Of Misfit Toys. A new Doc Savage movie doesn't have to be a bucket of excrement like the two films that inspired me to write this blog in the first place - The Punisher with Dolph Lundgren and 1975's Doc Savage starring Joe Namath. If it does get made (sure it will) I can't see at this junction how it won't stink.
If Reading One Book Made Me Enlightened, Having Read Two Must Make Me A God: I just finished the 1935 Doc Savage story "The Red Snow" and now I'm wondering if I've lost my taste for the novels. Probably just the lesser books, which I define as the ones where Doc isn't uber and the goings on aren't all Doc Savagey. I realize it got crazy to the other extreme where Doc's picking up an assistant under each arm and jumping from tree limb to tree limb like they're rag dolls, but high-achievement consistency is a darned good thing in a Doc Savage story.
If You Intended Yellow Snow Instead,
Consult Your Physician Right Away
I refer to the trade paperbacks for Will Murray's commentary, and for "The Red Snow" it appears this story came at a time when author Lester Dent experienced a nervous breakdown of some kind, requiring him to take a break and collect himself. The story was reworked a few times and used as training material for ghost writers. It shows. There's a lot of meandering from here to there and back again, mostly involving shrubbery, and Doc's as often doing regular guy things as he is being the inspiration for Superman and Batman. Making the requisite word count for submission might have been the motivating factor for the novel's wordiness. Only Ham and Monk are involved, which I will mostly now attribute to laziness, and Doc's treated with contempt by the police - which makes no sense to me at all. The Red Snow itself as science and terror are decent, along with the lead villain. The problem is mostly with the events stalling for time to the point of meaningless proximities of repetition.
Doc doesn't disguise himself in this one but that device generally hasn't aged well, and I'm not talking about political correctness. The bad guys here are supposedly Japanese (Dent loathed being direct on these things) but they disguise themselves with some good 'ol Al Jolson brand shoe polish. Yowza indeed. Even as a youth I rejected the pulp's efforts to have Doc disguised as people he could never be mistaken for, especially old women.
A+B = Al Sharpton Race Hustle For $$$!
The pulps started with Doc at 6 feet tall (and that was treated like it was impressive) to something around 6' 7". Dent's efforts to describe Doc as proportional to the point of appearing normal yet every muscle was a massive steel cable must sound mutually exclusive, because it is, but I've seen a great example of a proximity of that up close and personal. In the mid to late 80s I worked at a fancy hotel gym in Washington, DC. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a member for a week. One of most charming and personable people I've ever met. I talked to him when we both weren't wearing shoes. He was six feet tall or a fraction less. He was no wider than I am. He wasn't displacing a lot of water like Lou Ferrigno, but when Arnold bent down to touch his toes his biceps were cantaloupes. Each body part was massive on its own terms. Most professional bodybuilders are short, so Arnold at 6' made him in a way taller.
Doc Savage As A Black Woman
(Madea was also acceptable)
While I'm name-dropping: Jean-Claude Van Damme had a perfect athletic yet muscular build. He was nice but extremely self-aware and he knew he was good looking. Tim Curry had a teenager's body and a massive, massive head. Very friendly and laughed a lot. Robert Downey Jr. came in but didn't do much. He looked like a frat kid, seemed very unhappy, and wore a baseball cap. Scott Simon from NPR - I would have taken a bullet for him. The single nicest celebrity I've ever spoken to. Whoever the Secretary of the Treasury was at the time showed me a dollar bill with her signature on it and we shared a friendly laugh about it. Don't even get me started on all the musicians I met working security all around the DC area. Good memories for sure.
February 1, 2015 Update: And a gracious Sportsball Day to ye all. May the non-New England team win.
Exclusive First Look At Crap:
teases taunts us with a preview of the
already universally-despised Altered States: Doc Savage comic
book being afterbirthed in March by Dynamite Entertainment, whose motto
should be "Why? Because... I Guess." Dynamite's doing a series of
these: "Welcome to Altered States... Dynamite Entertainment's
parallel reality in the vein of DC's Elseworlds and Marvel's What If!"
So, instead of a What If where Doc Savage is a pulp fiction
character in the 1930s and not a generic, rationalized modern comic
book, Doc's a caveman. Cue the crickets and release the Kraken!
Haley Joel Osment As Johnny
Last Look At Crap: I wrote the title to be symmetrical. I wouldn't call Justice, Inc. #6 crap, but its overly-complex storyline and unrelenting focus on universal comic book themes make it a rich yet ultimately convoluted and diminished effort. I tried reading every page but gave up once I remembered how much I don't care about the Elseworld What If implications of its Everything But The Kitchen Sink - Now With Kitchen Sink approach to storytelling. In six issues every item on a long checklist of things you could possibly toss into the story was marked off emphatically. Every melodramatic hero-angst speech was pontificated towards three miles past the cheap seats. As far as Doc Savage is concerned, Justice, Inc. did everything but tell a Doc Savage story.
Sherlock and Elementary succeed as modern What Ifs because they tell legitimate Sherlock Holmes stories with informed and respectful renderings of Holmes. Sherlock adapts original Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries to the present while Elementary is rife with clever deductions both large and small. Doc Savage comic books are devoid of Doc Savage creativity and originality. They contain facts and aspects but treat them with creative indifference in the name of expedience. Michael Uslan has shown a deeper respect and understanding of Doc than others in the comic book world, but he's still first and foremost writing a comic book story with a comic book movie in mind. Being true to Doc Savage and writing a Doc Savage story is somewhere down the list because, come on, let's be real about how the entertainment world works today.
Exciting New Toys For
Girls And Boys Men Who
Constantly Get AARP Solicitations In The Mail:
Hero finally released their Doc Savage doll action
figure, complete with idiot ray guns and goofy machine guns and dumb
belt holsters and stupid penis-shaped ray guns and random German Lugers
- you know, all the things Doc Savage didn't carry with him by intrinsic
Sgt. Wrinkles Magoo!
John Effing Wick: I was blown away by a Keanu Reeves film! It helps that I like him to begin with, but John Wick was directed by two stuntmen, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, and in every good way it shows. Fun stuff.
January 22, 2015 Update: Chris Hemsworth is the cover boy on the latest issue of GQ Magazine, which I might subscribe to if they had a version for straight guys without trust funds. There is no mention of Doc Savage so I guess he's not aware he's the new Doc Savage. Remember how that started? Shane Black agreed that would be a neat thing when his pal mentioned it during a media presser. From his lips to God's rear.
The Math Of The Doc Savage Premium Medal:
Hey kids! Remember Me? Hypnotized Timmy!! Golly Jeepers And Gee-Whiz!
The holy grail of Doc Savage collecting has come up for sale twice recently, and you have three days left to bid on something you'd be proud be wear around your neck as you're lowered into your grave. There appears to be a magic number of "Ten" when it comes to this item, so I expect every new one on the market will be the magic tenth medal. I hope to one day find the eleventh, the One Medal to rule them all.
I'm Enlightened Because I Read A Book: The smug, self-congratulatory cult of Book Readers annoys me. Every time I read a troll comment that screams "Read a book!" my left eye twitches. I get it, only smart people who care a lot about super important things read books. The simple act of reading a book cleanses all sins. See Bill over there? He rapes, steals, and under-tips, but he reads books. He's a reader. Long live Bill, who reads.
Like everything else that calls itself entertainment, only 10% of all books are of any real value. The bottom 50% should be recycled back into pulp - for the earth! Cat poems - gone! Romance novels - buh bye! For Gaia.
Why is Ham larger than Doc Savage?
Anyhoo, I thought I'd announce that I read a book! The Vanisher, by Kenneth Robeson, published in December of 1936. I've read all the Doc Savage books once and many of them twice (those later day deadline squeaking afterthoughts are a chore). I thought I remembered liking this one. It's surprisingly pretty crappy all the way around. As I recall it when Doc's not in the good graces of the authorities the stories usually aren't great, and when Doc's doing things not Ubermensch Doc Savage at all times that's also a bad sign, like the writer's adapted another character's story idea to Doc Savage. Not to give the plot away too much but it's about a person who makes things vanish. Nobody knows if it's a man or a woman. I know this because it's brought up several times. The stock eccentric characters are annoying instead of fun. The two gangs element is tossed aside as irrelevant and the glass floor aspect of the device gets dropped completely for convenience. The music box = yeah, whatever. A lot about The Vanisher goes through the motions. Mind you, this is still better than the later Doc as meta-perspective putz novels, but Lester Dent must have had his attention divided when he cranked out The Vanisher.
I'm probably now qualified to make my own Doc Savage movie as I also just finished Make Your Own Damn Movie, by Troma's Lloyd Kaufman. All bow down to me - a certified book reader!
January 10, 2015 Update: The Rocketeer, Marvel's Agent Carter, Mob City, Newsies, And The Doc Savage Problem: Rehashing, as is my wont, The Doc Savage Problem has less to do with Doc Savage than with how so many people have given neither an excrement nor an intercourse about protecting Doc Savage from 1) his exploiters, and 2) his weak elements. Doc is recycled and regurgitated but not protected. Creating new Doc Savage "product" and putting together zines or websites keeps Doc's name alive, and at least there's that even if it runs from bland to horrible, but I don't see any organized effort to shield Doc from the childishness of comic books, the quaint intellectual inbreeding of the Wold Newton Family, the lack of a coherent visual style that should come from the pulps and not paperback covers, and an indifference to defining what made Doc Savage great to begin with and then sticking to and insisting on that.
I Weep For Doc Savage While Grown Men Play
If you want to take someone writing a Sherlock Holmes story seriously they'd better damn come up with a humdinger of a locked room mystery. If you want to do Doc Savage right you better come up with a great Lester Dent script from the mid-30s heyday of the character when Doc was peak human and everybody and everything ran on all cylinders in gritty, exciting adventures. Towards the end there was a series of poor Doc Savage books I imagine were sometimes hobbled together from discarded efforts for unrelated characters. Doc's a Freudian putz, toss in Monk as a sidekick for exposition, and Doc trips over an ottoman to victory. As I remember it even Lester Dent was indifferent to Doc Savage. Thankfully for a good run he cranked out excellent, cheap Ubermensch adventure fiction that exists as the legitimate basis for Doc Savage's importance and future potential. Which is not protected. Because nobody insists on quality control.
I recently Netflixed
Rocketeer and then watched as much of
Agent Carter as I could, which made me think of
and what the last two wanted to be if they could -
(made divine by the
Rocketeer was a fun comic book series starting in 1982 and a fun
kids movie from 1991. As we all know, Doc Savage, Monk, and Ham
appear in the comics and are handled quite well. In a few panels
Dave Stevens visually presents an optimal Doc Savage of great power,
intelligence, poise, speed, and deceptively large size. Ham is nicely
professional (in lieu of his capacity as prissy fussbucket), and while
Monk is clownish in an impotent "Why I oughta!" fashion, that's not far
from the truth and serves as comic relief in a comic book.
As a film The Rocketeer is a kids film in the same way George Lucas intended Star Wars to be for twelve year old boys and Indiana Jones probably the same. It's not even close to real 30s and 40s serial films (watch some here) and what little is left of my soul dies a little more when I read someone insist a Doc Savage movie should be like The Rocketeer. We already had that, but worse, in 1975, in a little film some dare call Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze, a title that gets more more confusing every year.
They might as well have used a slide whistle a dozen times during the club scene brawl. Jennifer Connelly and her chest are always worth seeing, and while her career never made it as far as we all hoped I'm glad she was able to make ends meet in 2000's Requiem For A Dream [If you get that joke I apologize]. Extra points for having a Rondo Hatton character and making Alan Arkin look like Geppetto. No, a Doc Savage movie should not look like The Rocketeer.
Marvel's Agent Carter suffers from stylized cuteness bordering on smug (Marvel defaults to smug), an unrelenting 20-something social activism in the script, sanitized backlot gangster-era facades, and working through checklists of clichés historical, visual, and linguistic. I picture a writer insisting someone yell out "23 Skidoo!" even though it was probably not used by Agent Carter's 1947. There's also a barely-contained effort to have a few male characters talk like Walter Winchell. No, Doc Savage should not get the Marvel treatment.
Frank Daramont was going to make an Arnold-as-Doc film around 2000. Thankfully he didn't as the script was lame and gave equal billing to a new character I assume was there to be young and handsome while Arnold was busy being middle-aged and first and foremost Arnold. Mob City lasted six episodes on TNT but it might as well have been on the WB with its pretty boy 20-something gangster leads being cute-smug on what could be the future sets of Marvel's Agent Carter. In the pilot so much effort was put into individual bullet-riddled puppet-on-a-string stuntman death hysterics it looked more like an effects reel than an actual story. Mr. Daramont, thank you for not making a new Doc Savage movie.
A Doc Savage film should hire the Production Designers from The Artist and have them create gritty and real visual concepts. The pulps are Ubermensch Sherlock Holmes meets Dick Tracy and Angels With Dirty Faces, and to be effective as pulp fiction that's how it needs to be presented.
In German, The Sexist Language Ever: Finally, something new and different on eBay! Doc Savage-friendly Fantompress is offering nine German paperbacks with titles like "Die Welt der Unterirdischen", "Die Todesspinne", and "Die Stadt in Meer". I don't know who any of these people are or why they have to die, but... that was a sad and easy joke.
January 1, 2015 Update: Sony CEO Michael Lynton announced today that a Doc Savage film franchise will be the studio's main focus in 2015, citing this summary from IMDB and its message board that last saw action in August:
A doctor named Jesty goes to the jungle and finds a lion who learns to love him, but as the lion
becomes more tame Jesty becomes more savage. Lion becomes human and human becomes Lion.
Mr. Lyton went on to say he didn't actually know who or what a Doc Savage is, but that if Doctor Jesty and his wife Pat are good enough for comic books, that's good enough for him. And everyone loves lions, amiright people?
Pat Savage, Cleavage Of Bronze: Are comic books literature? I guess so, if you're also the type that might consider Taco Bell to be food. The Atlantic posted an interesting piece titled "Cracking The Sitcom Code", child's play (maybe not) compared to Lester Dent's "Pulp Paper Master Master Fiction Plot", which should be used as a guide for creating a new Doc Savage movie that also works within the main parameters of modern film storytelling. Complicated, sure, but whoever can wed the two will open the door to a new/old genre of adventure storytelling for a world that's eventually going to get sick of forty-two upcoming comic book movies.
I'm assuming there's great stories to be found in funny books but from what I can gather they reside in indie titles like those found here. I've looked at a few new mainstream books so when I read about men in tights comics that are awesome I'm putting them in a genre category that runs parallel to professional wresting scripts and at the quality standards bar of an 8th Grade production of "Death Of A Salesman".
Doc Savage comic books are crap. Hooray for our boy Clark getting some attention from somebody, but the work leans heavily towards four-color excrement. The last Doc series from Dynamite displayed all the affection given a red headed stepchild once the honeymoon is over. The current Justice, Inc. puts admirable effort into whatever it's doing but the assumptions are as wrong as the plot is complicated. Less complicated maybe than I'm too turned off by wrong choices to care enough to invest myself in keeping up with it.
In this spirit Dynamite just put out a double-sized book called "Doc Savage Special" selling for $7.99 American and containing 45 story pages. I've read a few reviews (here's one), and they fall in line with other reviews I've seen where you wonder if the reviewers are illiterate man-children or the genre is simply accepted as shallow, rote, and just for showing up everyone gets a trophy ("atrophy" works just as well).
Dynamite is a B-Team company putting out B-Level product from B-Standard writers and story formulas. They milk the niche fans of certain properties with alternative covers and simply existing in the first place. The social engineering requirement of this book is met with the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the kisser, and did I mention there's ninjas? It's nice they opened up a history book, looked up what happened in the world in the 1930s, and chose one from the maybe-less-commonly-known column, and a family drama with a sci-fi twist is kewl, but they surround everything with comic book filler so it adds up to a comic book story that accomplishes nothing more than being a generic comic book story. There's nothing to remember once you finish reading.
Doc Savage's name is the freaking title but he's a secondary player added as an afterthought. He looks like he was into yoga his whole life instead of isometrics. In his shirt with a collar vastly bigger than his neck he even manages to look emaciated. Comic book, you had one job!
Here's my E-Z guide to creating a Doc Savage comic book - a medium below pulps as literature. Write a Doc Savage story about Doc Savage doing Doc Savage things while being Doc Savage.
Doc Savage FanFlip
Buster Crabbe: Someone mentioned he would have made a good Doc back in the day, and they're right!
Lester Dent Photo Scrapbook Memento: Neat and for sale.
December 24, 2014 Update: Merry Winter Holidaymas, which includes the one from 1965 that appropriated the Menorah and was started by a guy who tortured women with a curling iron; the secondary Jewish holiday that wouldn't be a big deal if it wasn't Christmas and Jewish kids don't want to feel left out; Festivus - the hipster holiday that fades each year as Seinfeld gets older in syndication; the Winter Solstice, celebrated by hippies who rub patchouli on their private parts in lieu of bathing (for the planet!); the daily Atheist Day Of Rage That Religion Exists; and whatever whatever the birth of Jesus Christ.
As seen here
I confess that every year I wonder what Doc, his aides (Doc has aides), his sister, the monkey, the pig, his accountant Murray - might be doing this year for X-Mas, and then I realize they're all fictional characters and I'm a f--king idiot for wasting my time making up stupid s--t like a Wold Newton Family intellectual giant.
Justice Inc. #5: There's a new one and I'm not going to read it because the comic book plot will be just that, just like the rest, and whatever in-jokes or researched pulp tidbits thrown in will only make me feel sad for Doc Savage and what's he's become in the eyes of Hollywoodland, Comic Book Town, the Doc Savage intelligentsia whose only line of defense is a length of toilet paper, and middle-aged fanboys grateful for anything and content with Bama Doc being a middle-aged military mummy because of paperback books from their youth.
At the store I glanced at each page to admire the layouts, coloring, and artwork, which together are very good as long as you don't stare directly at facial expressions, which are rarely flattering and in isolation make you wonder why they were chosen and what cartoon sound effect works best with each. There's a page in a public restroom that adds panels against the sink and on the floor in an engaging fashion, and on the next page there's a neat blurry image of The Shadow getting off three fast shots with a handgun. Shadows and black shading are put to good use, and for some reason Doc bleeds caramel syrup.
I can't wait to not read the next one!
Pat Savage, Cleavage Of Bronze: Here's what famous female film stars looked like in the 1930s and below is an image from the pulps from a series that captured best each character as described in the text and (I'm fairly sure) the original intentions of Street and Smith.
Yet, for some reason, today she's Boobs McRidingpants, and Dynamite recently put out a comic book to cash in on the fact that straight Doc Savage fans also like to masturbate to fictional cartoon characters.
In The 1930s Plastic Surgery Uniboobs Were All The Rage
She's Doc Savage as a feminine female with massive breasts and a ripped shirt exactly like a Doc Savage statue I own. Her shirt's not buttoned, at all. Wow. No wonder women think men are hopeless and are mostly correct. That fighting stance is a X-Mas gift to Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do fighters. Right hand lead triangle stance - grab middle of forearm - pull down and to the left while transferring wrist to left hand and stepping forward to the right - punch away until all the cows are home. Simultaneously stepping on the left foot is also an option.
Yeah, but bewbs...
(updated 12-13-14) December 12, 2014 Update: Friday Edition Out Of Boredom: Hey, Fleabaggers! Any of you have the mad skillz needed to find Doc Savage-related references in the Sony hacking imbroglio? I'd love to know what the uppity-ups had to say about Shane Black's in-house farmed-out script and the budget issues that took a new Doc Savage movie off the back burner and slopped it into an old piece of Tupperware.
Justice Inc. #4:
Further Thought (next day): I can't think of a lazier and less interesting adversary for Doc Savage than John Sunlight, the some-other-side-of-the-same-dice anti-Doc Savage. He appeared in two pulps a few months apart in 1938 and the big deal was he was possibly Doc's equal. That's snore-mazing. If he appeared in only one pulp would he matter more than every other bad guy Doc faced? Not really. That big Russian guy with the ring on a string he threw at people's heads was pretty cool. The best characters in Doc Savage pulps were the colorful henchmen and sweaty-fat day players who were universally guilty of something, followed by whatever monsters or weird science Lester Dent could come up with based on something he recently read.
Giving Ying (Doc) a Yang (Sunlight) villain is generic and easy, and should be given no points for being symmetrical. Doc's evil fraternal twin = literary narcolepsy.
Question #1: On the cover is Doc taking away a handgun from a henchman or is he using it to smash someone's face? Question #2: Does the "Our Story Thus Far..." on the inner cover make the story easier to understand, and is a story you want to understand? Question #3: Did you find the in-jokes gratuitous and less clever than they hoped to be?
On the plus side artist Giovanni Timpano took the advice of the internet and toned down Doc's facial expressions to something more Doc Savage than straight-up punchline-reactions. The panel layouts are fun and functional and once again colorist Marco Lesko does marvelous work. The plot by Michael Uslan is rich, layered, researched, comprehensive, and complicated as hell - all things being equal an impressive feat by Mr. Uslan.
For all I know, these days Doc Savage #4 might be award-winning comic book material. As I look towards and then back from my racks of eighteen long comic book boxes of paper from the 60s, 70s, and 80s I wonder if comic books simply don't appeal to me any more. I don't think they do. There's a lot of comics like The Metal Men and everything by Jack Kirby that pretty much sticks to telling a basic story with aplenty of punching and crashing and things blowing up. As pop-art escape it's a fun diversion that doesn't ask much. With the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man comics became angsty and teenage soap-opera, which at the time I enjoyed because I was an angsty teenager.
In my middle age I don't want tales of dysfunction, melancholy, soul-sharing, and desperate acts of connection. I want a good story, interesting characters, and plots I can mostly follow (and if not it's no big deal). I want to experience ideas and cleverness I couldn't come up with myself. For Doc Savage I want a good Doc Savage story and nothing else. I don't want acting workshop exercises that consist of taking turns topping each other about how you feel about things that are important to you as a human being. Comic book heroes should sooner rather than later rub dirt into it and walk it off. I suspect that line is now a lot longer to reach.
This unpublished kid's comic I like
Getting back to Doc Savage and Justice Inc #4, the shortcomings I see are not with Mr. Uslan's writing ability but his decision to make Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger comic book characters in the first place. In doing so he gave Doc a gun (with holster!) and Wonder-Woman bracelets - which I guess I can blame directly on Uslan. I realize this is a comic book so it tends to become a comic book, but the task should have been to express pulp fiction of the 30s and 40s into graphic novel form. Reading this comic did you get the feeling a random word generator was being put to good use?
If you want Doc Savage to be a movie you have to realize he fails as a comic book character every single time. He succeeds and is popular and important because he is a pulp novel archetype. With comic books you're taking a nice casino and turning it into a video poker machine with better than DOS graphics. Congratulations. The promise and potential of Doc Savage is pulp fiction and if you want it to differentiate itself and be something special and retro-innovative, stop making Doc Savage into a comic book character and don't present him to movie studios as a comic book movie. He can't compete as a comic book movie.
Doc Savage Comic Books From The 1940s - You're The Worst:
Doc Savage wore a blue hood with a magic ruby or something in it, and he could fly, and he had an inappropriately young sidekick named Supersnipe, whose parents must have died or have been opiate addicts or something.
November 30, 2014 Update: Early Edition Out Of Boredom: I'm getting more hits lately probably from when I junked my images and reloaded my pages. Search bots attacked and more people seeking Doc Savage are finding this. Welcome to a blog about nothing happening and most likely nothing will ever happen with a new Doc Savage film. Enjoy your (on average) fifteen second visit.
For those who are new or simply don't know, the (1) Shane Black Doc Savage movie starring (2) Chris Hemsworth exists as a (1) rejected script and (2) a rumor that gets regurgitated as article filler. The entry point for the world of Doc Savage fandom is Flearun, an ongoing anthropological survey of Doc Savage and Doc Savage fans. RadioArchives has been reprinting the original pulps as trade paperbacks and every so often a company manufactures something Doc Savage for fans to play with and then regret they tampered with the original packaging.
This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
I, as a way of keeping my mind from freezing up entirely, agitate for a Doc Savage movie that doesn't reek of failure, and try to make myself laugh along the way. There's four more pages of rambling randomness that continues here and my original argument for what would make for a decent Doc Savage film can be found here. As images were removed it's all a big mess but I don't know how bored or interested in Doc Savage you might be. Enjoy!?
The Haunting Of Doc Savage: I fear the Doc Savage world has its own version of Robert The Haunted Doll. This monstrosity I've just named "Doc Derp" has been on sale for a while and it was rightly mocked on Flearun, which must make it really horrible since those guys fawn over the worst crap imaginable. It should have been painted on velvet.
Robert, Clark, Clark, Robert
eBay And When I Become King Of The F--king World: eBay is great but it's also a junk store that tosses in new stuff in the middle of all the old stuff and then shuffles it around so you have to shovel through crap every time you go there. There's nothing I can think of that I want or need a la Doc Savage but I look anyway just in case and also to wonder what the hell people are thinking. Case A is this generic tin case with a Doc Savage image on it. It's a tampon case - or you can store condoms in it. Do you think a guy carrying a Doc Savage condom tin is going to get laid in the first place? And how sad is it there's a tampon case with Doc Savage on it? It's win-win for losers no matter how you slice it. Case B is a Spin Ashtray with Doc Savage on it. How white trash awesome is that?
Change the listing order to highest prices first and marvel at how deluded and predatory sellers are that an idiot will come along, or that idiots even have the money to follow through on being ripped off. Right matthew42383, polwort, charm-city-comics, and especially DTA Collectibles, whose every buyer interaction must be a nasty act of taking advantage of the desperation of obsessive personalities?
I hope one day eBay changes their SOP with listings to make the site less cluttered and better all-around for buyers. Require sellers to lower prices after a set amount of time and charge listing fees that don't allow something to sit there for years. In other words, encourage lowering prices to facilitate sales and price listings so sellers are motivated to sell. eBay should be an active marketplace - not a graveyard for overpriced items nobody seems to want.
Doc Savage's Station Car: Growing up on Long Island we had what my father called his "Station Car". He drove every weekday morning to the Oceanside train station and parked in their lot. You didn't want a fancy car to sit there day just like here where I live in Bumtown you don't want to draw attention to yourself to anyone walking around who could sure use some of your money or personal belongings.
700 Horsepower Strong
One of my favorite Doc Savage things were the clunkers he kept around for stealth. They looked like junkers but were designed and built to be speedy, bullet-proof rolling tanks. Enjoy this article from Yahoo, won't you?
Doc Savage In The
Snooze Newz!: The closest
thing to a reference to a new Doc Savage movie has been a perfunctory
mention in a
Chris Hemsworth article. I can't imagine there's anyone anywhere
still working on a new Doc Savage movie. The script was rejected and
everyone's moved on.
Except for Michael Uslan. Has anyone on Flearun worked up the guts to ask him the status of the project? I know it would be a rude question to someone high up in the Hollywood genre film food chain slumming in the Facebook trenches to drum up interest in his comic book project, but still.
Lester, You're A Card. Literally.
Since I started this in 2009 I've been monitoring visitors with StatCounter. That's how I know most people end up here either by porn search accident or porn search desperation. For a while I thought my repeat visitor from Malibu might be Shane Black, but through Google sleuthing I figured out the IP address was for a corporation, so it's a bored employee. Not all IP addresses identify themselves by name (it's companies and never individuals), but in all this time the only solid visit regarding Doc Savage was from the William Morris Agency searching "Doc Savage Casting?", oddly phrased as a question.
Last night I was at a tamale party in Watts (you can't make that up) and was yapping with a Doctor Who fan about this season's story arc. There was something that made no sense and his response was it referenced a major theme from the time of the Second Doctor. We're talking 1966 through 1969! That's how hardcore Doctor Who is in its dedication to history and mythology. He was completely bewildered by me telling him Doc Savage fans as a group not only don't know, agree on, or care what Doc Savage looks like, they cheer every effort to bastardize him into oblivion!
The Doc Lurch Debacle
Guardians Of The Galaxy Meets Doc Savage: I enjoyed this one very much even if I did skim through the last battle scene. In my old age I've decided even action and excitement should give it a rest once its point is made. I'm elated for Director James Gunn, a veteran of the Troma farm system. I've come to loathe Joss Whedon's smug sexy-geek one liners, and Gunn provides another creative avenue for comic book movies I think works better.
If someone at Sony wants to revive the Doc Savage idea they should look directly at Guardians for inspiration and proof it can work. It had five "unknown" main hero characters to flesh out quickly and thoroughly, and the film did so spectacularly by giving each opportunities to shine alone and in pairings. The same can be done for Doc Savage and his assistants, each of the latter in need of character strengthening for sure while Doc has to be rescued from everyone's attempts to make him a quip-spewing steroid abuser.
If Doc Savage has to be formatted as a comic book character by the dictate of Hollywood metrics than James Gunn is the perfect person for the job. Pulp fiction deserves its own universe outside of funny book considerations but metrics doesn't care. Metrics is a douche.
A Doc Savage Code To Live By:
"Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and
better, to the best of my ability,
that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend all my assistance to those who need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man."
And in the words of Robin Williams. "Joke-em if they can't take a f--k"
November 09, 2014 Update: The transition to free web hosting went smoothly so there's no reason to stop doing this until a new Doc Savage movie is officially dumped from development hell into the Valhalla of Sony's off-site storage in El Segundo. Or until the Doc Savage world becomes completely unworthy of comment. I have no clue how many graphics I can post before the site goes dead on a regular basis. I'll play it by (r)ear (toot!).
Recent Purchase: This patch from the last Doc Con ran me $7.00 postpaid. It's larger than I thought it would be at 4" X 3". In it goes into a box along with other Doc Savage items I own for some vague reason.
The "Concept" Of Doc Savage: One David Logsdon started a thread on Flearun that reads:
"I devoured the Doc Savage paperbacks when I was a youngster. But now that I am in my 6th decade, I REALLY struggle with completing any of them. Does anyone else want to confess to the same thing?"
The answers covered the globe but there was a trend towards this response:
"I find I like the idea of pulp heroes more than the stories."
This is completely legitimate and also a reflection on the status of Doc Savage fandom, which on the high end has offered too many chases after the butterflies of artistic fabrication. At the proletariat level I detect a core group of collectors who know Doc Savage (a qualified) fairly well, at least in comparison to the pool below them who seemingly operate off a vague memory of liking something called Doc Savage enough to join a Facebook group and collect some stuff.
Getting back to liking the "idea" of pulp stories more than the stories themselves, Doc Savage books are not much different in form and function than romance novels or serial films. Doc pulps were written for kids and working class men whose vocabularies weren't spectacular. Repetition and familiarities were both necessary and demanded. The whole point was cheap escapist entertainment. Mission accomplished. The pulps offered neither continuity nor consistency, and creative checks written in the first chapters too often bounced hard. I imagine nobody cared along the entire food chain from producer to consumer. All there was were deadlines and sales numbers.
If you want to read Doc Savage and not get bogged down in their fundamentals I'd recommend one per month, olde skool! What's great about Doc Savage are the things that make Doc Savage great. My list of what makes Doc Savage great is different than others, but at least mine doesn't reek of built-in failures like a 55 year old man's windows peak and Doc spouting one-liners and contorting his face.
It's not about the best ten pulps or even the best story ever written. It's the characters, ideas, context, inventions, style, pacing, and everything else that works best and presents the best of Doc Savage. Sadly there's no consensus on who or what Doc Savage is, and the collective fandom cares as little now as Street & Smith did when they didn't assign a concrete visual style guide to the pulp run.
I hope the Doc Savage fan community gets around to creating a database of all things Doc Savage so the vagueness of memory about Doc Savage can be replaced by facts and substance. I assigned hard-core Doc fans qualified expertise mostly because the books are too many, too contradictory, and too packed with tidbits to be known very well. Will Murray is the acknowledged expert on Doc Savage so seek out his articles.
Pat Savage And The Childish, Creepy Sexual Shortcomings Of Men: BleedingCool.com sums it up nicely in the title of this article: "I Fell In Love With Pat Savage When I Was About 10 Years Old". I find the recurring interest in this secondary character to be juvenile pandering to the geeky sexual fantasies of creepy old men with beards caked in dried soup and sprinkled with cracker crumbs.
October 26, 2014 Update: About once a year a representative of the criminal element charges something on my card and I have get a new one. I think this time I'll no longer renew my web hosting that runs $120 a year. It's not the money as much as I've been paying for a music site since 1997 I stopped writing two years ago, and this Doc Savage project since 2009 sits like the 99-cent coverless Doc Savage comic book on eBay that won't die. Even if the development hell Doc Savage finds himself in spits him up to heaven there's no longer a need to comment on these pages. IMDB's discussion boards would work just as well. By word count I've written a 750 page book on the subject of Doc Savage in relation to a new movie. You're welcome. These pages will lose most images and pop-ups will most likely take their place. For that I apologize, but not really, because once again, you're welcome.
Justice Inc. #3: I read most of this comic book but chose not to continue as the story is unrelentingly complicated and modified by artistic license to where I barely recognize the characters and I don't want to do the hours of research and tabs of LSD needed to figure it out. At issue #3 there's still a lot of information being held back, and this pushed me away instead of pulling me in deeper. Writer Michael Uslan goes elbow deep into the lore of these characters (Bleeding Cool) and what's he's created, while commendable as genre esoterica, must be impenetrable to the casual reader. If I was your average studio exec at Sony and I read these last three funny books to gauge where the creative team is heading with the stalled Doc Savage script, I'd break my pinky reaching for the phone so quickly to drop the thing and swallow the write-off. I've already used the word but Justice, Inc. #3 is impenetrable.
The appeal and importance of Doc Savage comes from the best elements of the best pulps where Doc is peak human and only speaks when he has something to say. The oeuvre needs updating and modification but you can't remove the core of what made Doc Savage great in the first place. The paperback covers and comic books almost equally neutered Doc Savage as a viable property. The comic book half of the equation is obvious but don't count short how the beloved James Bama covers turned the most handsome 33 year old man walking around into Sgt. Leather Mummy Widows Peak, AARP, backed by a blue screen of inexpensive visual exposition.
The layout and line work of artist Giovanni Timpano is impressive but he renders faces like it's a tribute to the Commedia dell'arte of his native Italy. Three of the most stoic characters in pulp fiction are given facial contortions usually reserved for making crying babies smile. Colorist Marco Lesko does an incredible job and it's worth looking through the book just to admire his choices.
And In Summation (For Now): The only way I see a new Doc Savage film being made is if someone high enough on the Sony food chain decides to tear it down and build it up again correctly in a whole new direction. Save The Cat is Hollywood's creative straightjacket while studio executives enforce the random dictates of superiors they whisper to each other as incompetent (and they could do better). Doc Savage done right represents a worthy experiment in creating a new, reasonably priced genre of film that captures the essence and opportunities of pulp fiction on its own terms. The comic book approach fails and invalidates pulp.
Hand the project over to the staff of Sony Picture Classics, who hopefully burn Save The Cat for heat. Give the film the same attention to detail as The Artist (but not the pacing!). Define everything correctly, write a great script, and then move on to production. Don't consult with anyone involved with Doc Savage who adheres to the Wold Newton Universe, which is slash fiction-quality fan fiction that should never leave the paneled basements from whence it comes.
I'm always available to hop on the 405 from Long Beach to Culver City once sigalert.com tells me it's safe. All I ask for the insight of my 750 pages of random troll-quality input into Doc Savage is San Pellegrino Mineral Water, fluoride-free round ice cubes, and a silver tray of gluten-free crackers. Yeah, and a pen that reads "Sony" on the side. Michael (Layton) and Amy (Pascal), call me!!!!! Me work on spec long time!
You Can Almost SMELL The Incestuous Inbreeding Behind This Idea
October 12, 2014 Update: Nothin' From Nothin' Leaves Nothin' / You Gotta Have Somethin' If You Wanna Doc Savage Movie: Nothing to report on the Doc Savage movie front. Ad nauseous....
Someone is joining the cast of Shane Black's The Nice Guys, so that's nice for that person.
Batcavetoys makes fake Mego boxes for Mego figures that were never produced. This is the second one I've seen.
This is a great thing that didn't see the light of day. The art is nice. You know who should write scripts for a series like this? Tim Byrd, author of the best modern Doc Savage book, titled Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom
Would someone please buy this worthless comic book already so it won't appear on eBay any more? And then line a bird cage with it because even with a cover it's worthless? Thanks...
September 28, 2014 Update: Site Basically Still On Hold: People still visit on a regular basis so I feel I should do something if I have something to offer. Nothing anywhere about the new Doc Savage film. I wish they'd just kill it officially already instead of pretending it doesn't exist until it doesn't exist any more.
Spectator.org came out of nowhere recently with an article on Doc Savage and WWI. It has a decent comment section. Link Here.
In 2004 an artist named Brad Rader was paid to sketch Doc Savage at a comic book convention (I guess). It's on sale starting at $20.00. Either Rader knew about the 1940s comic book series where Doc wore a mystic ruby on his forehead or he just made s--t up for whatever lunch money he was getting for this sketch. It's twelve shades of wrong. Not as horrific as the first pic below though. That's my negative-favorite. Here's a page of Doc Savage Comics covers from that error.
Justice Inc. #2: Look at this cover below. Doc is one of the otherwise delightful The Metal Men, whose other members included Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Platinum, and Tin. Lead and Mercury inadvertently killed Dr. Will Magnus as he had created them as sex toys who also fight crime.
Issue 2 of 6 is out and it's the scripted work of Michael E. Uslan, one of the new Doc Savage film's producers. The art is streets ahead of past Doc Savage comics but the story is abso-fugg-lutely nonsensical and complicated by confusing and incomplete details. I'm assuming it all comes together by the end, but for now I have no idea what I'm reading or looking at. Do I like not having a clue what's going on? Not especially.
Doc gives this archaic gesture to J. Edgar Hoover, so, ummm, Doc has the social skills of a twelve year old. My slow golf clap signals approval to humanizing him this way:
The name dropping Wold Newton Family nonsense continues apace. Mr. Uslan is most likely the only person who cares about Doc Savage at this point and he's selling out to every comic book convention. A few in-jokes and "smart" concepts are all he's adding to the legacy of failed Doc Savage comic books. He knows comic books and he knows the Hollywood Sausage Factory System, so from this series so far I glean that a real pulp fiction Doc Savage movie that takes Lester Dent's creations seriously will never see the light of day. The potential of the characters are through the roof while the laziness and indifference of those who would make a new Doc Savage film crashes through the floor. I know Mr. Uslan is trying very hard to make something happen by slumming in the off-label comic book trenches. For that he earns my respect, but if Doc can only be a childish comic book character I'd rather there be no movie than another film of shame with a 2016 date attached it instead of 1975.
September 13, 2014 Update: Site Being Placed Into A Cryogenic State, Part IV: If history is a guide, within two weeks of me announcing I'm pausing this site, something will break re: a new Doc Savage film and I'll have to start up again. After this load I have nothing else to add. Sure, there's five more issues of Justice Inc. coming up, so after work on Sept. 17th skip down to your local store and drop $3.99 on a copy of issue #2 plus bag/board/tax.
As far as I can tell the Doc Savage movie exists as a script on the bottom of a pile of projects deemed unworkable. When I read it's about the budget I interpret it as being in the studio's mind not being worth the budget. Shane Black has moved on. Producer Neal H. Moritz has eight items on his plate of commerce over art either way my checks clear so I don't care you're wasting my time. I've even perused the obituaries to see what might have become of Producer Ori Marmur.
Producer Michael E. Uslan seems to care. He's behind Justice Inc. and he leaves comments on Flearun. The fanboy is strong with this one. He knows the status of a new Doc Savage movie. Ask him. I find his need for a new comic book series a sign he has to pitch a whole new idea and these will be his storyboards for said meeting. He's constantly bombarded by crazed Batman fans pitching insane movie ideas involving shameful personal failings, so I will no longer mail my crayon scrawlings to him Attn: New Jersey Postmaster General. But, Michael, yes I know it's you who visits my site from Camden, NJ (best slogan since "Charm City"). Let's do late breakfast but not exactly brunch the next time you fly into LGB on Jet Blue. You still owe the collective "Me" big-time for The Spirit. Playhouse 90 would have nailed it perfectly.
Hey Kids! Remember THIS One?: I've finished sorting through my comic book collection and it's down to twelve long boxes instead of seventeen. Then there's a load of related magazines, toys, books, and other floating jetsam. In total I've donated 23 stacked feet of 25-cent box books to various comic book stores and sold four boxes of slightly better material to the day manager at a wonderful place called Geoffrey's in Gardena, CA. My experience at area comic book stores was a mixed bag. I walked into one place to buy comic bags. I asked the guy at the register, who had a body exactly like Milhouse, "How much do you get for 100 bags?". He looked at me like I just sneezed into his mouth and said "How much do I get?!" He spat out the price but he wanted to say he doesn't get anything from selling me the bags. I calmly told him I was sorry if my question was phrased oddly to him, but in my mind I was hurting him in ways that would make him cry and scream at the same time.
Megaton Man was cool in its day. It had bright primary colors out the wazoo. They're all worthless now. 1988's The Return Of Megaton Man #2 contains a short parody of our boyo Doc - here Megaton Man's grandpop "Doc Megaton". I kept the images below human size so here's some funny:
"And who can forget his five fabulous assistants -- The Quintessential Quintet..? I can only remember two of them: Percy Hollybrooks, The Learning Annex's most brilliant lawyer, and Gorilla Gamble, who used to do something or other... And, well, I forget the other three..."
"The only thing those two loved more than fighting alongside ol' Doc was chasing skirts..! Of course, it was all a cover..."
"Actually, Percy was a self-loathing closet gay -- while Gorilla was a really ugly woman..."
Until Next Time I Leave You With Links:
Can YOU Find the Five Reasons Why This Article Angers Hulk (me)?
Doctor Stephen H. Savage, The Man Of Grant Proposals!:
Background On Hollywood #1: 7 Directors Who Stole Their Biggest Hits (From Themselves)
Personal Collection Ahoy!
Background On Hollywood #2: 5 Important Lessons Hollywood Won't Learn From Their Failure
The Scam Of CGC Grading Made (Bronze) Flesh: Will This BS Be The Final Nail In Comic Book Collecting's Coffin?
Background On Hollywood #3: Telekinetic Buddhist Cab Ride: Revisiting The Shadow, 1994's Most Stylish Flop
Still No Cover featuring Doc With My Little Pony: Doc Fantasy Covers
Background On Hollywood #4: Apply To Movies
September 7, 2014 Update: Doc Savage Movie Dead Zone: Nuthin' this week anywhere about a new Doc Savage movie. Or anything else Shane Black. Keep checking back for most likely more about nuthin'...
Random Doc Savage Stuff: I found this paperback in my collection, its cover boasting "More Action Than Doc Savage!" I doubt they meant it as there's only one exclamation point. I tossed it back unread because I remember it long ago radiated averageness, and, to quote Street Trash, "I read like old people f--k".
I have this thin trade paperback from 1987, which never sells for a lot of money. It's 58 pages and serves as a basic reference to things Doc Savage, written by (not that) John Peel with personal memories thrown in. There's a list of novels in original publication order and a few random sections on things like the George Pal film and things that didn't make it from the original script. It's kind of just there.
I have an extra copy of Omnibus 13. If you live near Long Beach, CA let me know how much it's worth to you.
On Flearun this UK comic book magazine is mentioned as containing a Doc Savage article:
I read it here and there, and I'm blown away by how well it walks the line between lite entertainment and deep consideration of the craft of comic books and comic book movies - be it major label or underground, current or historical. The layouts and choices of illustrations are masterful. The Doc Savage history in comic books article is five pages long with many graphics. It's well written but I of course don't think the Dynamite series has value. Very well done all around, and what you see inside makes the Doc Savage comics look that much more like toilet wipings.
Winfried Gerhards from Germany is cranking out cute faux Doc Savage covers:
Doc's a hapless, rotund Charlie Brown everyman putz, but the covers are cute and clever, so the thumb that's not up my nose at the present moment is up as approval.
Last Thought: On the football TV I just caught an ad for the final season of Boardwalk Empire. If HBO can get the 1920s right then Holly-effing-Wood can make a convincing Doc Savage film circa 1935. Word to your computer.
August 31, 2014 Update: Neither A Comic Book Hero Nor A Comic Book Movie Nor A Superhero: It's a tiny point I keep beating on but I rolled my eyes reading something about Sony not knowing how to make "superhero" movies. Yeah, he fits this definition but that term is so closely tied to comic books that DC and Marvel share the trademark on it. Doc Savage should never have been a part of the comic book world. He is from pulp fiction, which should be seen as a whole other thing the same way Mono should not be called Stereo just because they both come out of speakers. Pulps are novels. Comic books are pictures with words drawn into them.
The "greatness" of comic books are low-level accomplishments distinguished more by cleverness applied to the format's limitations than to validity on its own. In other words, take a great comic book and novelize it. War And Peace it ain't.
The market for comic book movies is saturated. Don't think for a second the studios don't know the demand for these films will die off long before the last cape-and-tights movie has shot past its 150 million dollar budget. It's similar to baseball's leaps into horrible contracts. You chase after trends, money, and talent but the future is unknown if not unknowable. Sony's biggest franchise is James Bond, who owes a debt of some kind to Doc Savage. Sony also has Spiderman but they're possibly blowing that one.
1980s Comic Book Doc Savage and His Son Opie, With Gap In Tooth
My August 1st update contains this line from Nikki Finke about a recent Sony big secret meeting:
"So budgets on franchises would no longer be gigantic and P&A [prints and advertising]expenditures should be approximately 10% less going forward. Also discussed was that the studio needed to build more franchises and have more sequels and develop more brands, and these should be the key to the slate going forward."
Doc Savage can be Sony's next James Bond-ish franchise. 007 is not a superhero and neither is Doc Savage (or Indiana Jones for that matter). The best way for a Doc Savage movie to be made is to develop it as a non-comic book action-adventure with drama, dark humor, and a perfectly understood interpretation of real pulp fiction from a long time ago. Done well it could become its own genre of films and maybe one day pulp films will take over once comic book movies are passé.
I Blame Stan Lee Personally: Not really. I find him endearing and I give him all the credit in the world for steering comic books into the modern age of 1961. I'm reading and enjoying Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book. Lee put in the time, displayed the talent, and paid his dues. What I find most interesting about him is his immunity to psychopathology. He seems to be aware of his corny hucksterism but I can't find an ounce of guile in him. When Stan Lee Media blew up in dot.com fashion Stan said he had no idea - and nobody thought he could have been in on it. Stan has sweet, harmless, and oblivious aspects to his nature and the adoration he receives couldn't go to a nicer guy.
On that note, if you want to know why Marvel comic books, and now all comic book movies, have a specific tone to them, there's this passage from the book:
"Lee was not a skilled superhero writer, but he was an engaging scripter of character-driven romances and an effective plotter of outrageous monster books. He was also accomplished at presenting humor through dialogue. So instead of rehashing earlier superhero efforts, Lee applied what skills he had to a blank page. The resulting blend of genres under the superhero umbrella changed the industry's perception of what could be done with such stories, and provided much of what was interesting and remarkable about those first Marvel superhero comic books."
Doc Savage fails in this formula and should not have it applied to him.
Sorting Through My Crap:, I found a few more Doc Savage things. First up is The Shadow/Doc Savage Quest #16, from a Mr. William Laidlaw, in 1984. Doc experts Will Murray and Rick Lai contribute. In awesome zine fashion the first page lists everyone whose last issue was returned by the post office. A feature you won't find today are the addresses listed for everyone writing in. The thing's a mixed bag of randomness and restating the obvious but there's a few things of note. Someone fabricated TV Guide listings for three seasons of an imaginary Doc Savage show. At times it's clever by name-dropping ("A young cowboy-businessman (John Ritter) tells Doc that someone is willing to kill to stop his Dam project in Arizona.")
The best part is a piece about Mr. Laidlaw establishing a non-profit called "The Clark Savage Foundation". The second paragraph states:
"The first order of business is to finish the building that will be used to house the ever-growing library of nostalgia materials (1930s newspapers, pulp magazine, old paperbacks, fan magazines, research books, etc.) which will be available for the research use of all visitors. The estimate of construction costs is almost $10,000. So far only $1,000 has come in..."
It seems to still exist. As a religious organization. Ya think the "building" is now more a "shed" in his backyard? I like that fans from all over contributed to the effort with articles and money never knowing if the next issue would ever see the light of day. Hobbies are swell and keep you from otherwise committing horrible crimes against man and beast.
Links, You Dinks, Finks, and Shminks:
You'll like this one since Doc's in the title: to answer his point of : "...when there was a particular cultural attitude towards exploration and science and gunplay and sex and politics and race...", you simply don't emphasize or show these things. A Doc Savage movie doesn't have to get into the Crime College and the horrible implications of forced lobotomies. It's not the elephant in the room that has to be addressed.
5 Superhero Movies You Won't Believe Almost Got Made
August 24, 2014 Update: Another Nail In My Heart: The soundtrack for today's news is brought to you by Squeeze:
According to Deadline Hollywood, Shane Black is now set to direct a new Remo Williams movie with the working title "The Destroyer". So, he's got the new Predator juggernaut, his pet project "The Nice Guys", this new Doc Savage-esque rip-off, and oh yeah, Doc Savage, which appears farther away in the rear-view mirror the faster and longer you drive. Hopefully Sony, for poops and giggles, assigns Doc Savage to someone who knows how to handle it correctly. I'm guessing one day I'll be able to buy Black's unused script from that source we're never supposed to mention (winkity wink).
Obi-Wan Uslan. You're Our Only Hope: Comic book maven Michael E. Uslan is listed as Co-Producer on a new Doc Savage film and he must be chomping at the bit to get it done because he's launched a series of six comic books through alternate cover-mill Dynamite Entertainment, featuring The Shnoz, Sgt. Widow's Peak, and Clay Face. This is an effort to build up interest from the bottom of the nerd trenches. As they say in Uslan's hometown of Bayonne, NJ, "Good luck wit dat!"
I will now read issue #1. Done, thanks to the same wormhole Doc creates in Justice Inc. #1, available now. For a comic book it's decent if not good to more than good. I also believe comic books don't qualify as literature and the exceptions to the rule are still weighed down by genre demands of wish fulfillment and escape from low self-esteem, crappy existences, fear, hopelessness, and shortcomings both physically and socially. My low-rent qualifications for saying this are my useless college degree in English Literature and my collection of comic books I've whittled down so far to twenty long boxes and eight magazine boxes. I've donated 25 feet of comic books to local dealers for their 25-cent boxes, so to quote Jack Palance to most comic book collectors:
Michael Uslan donated 30,000 comic books to Indiana University so he craps bigger than I do, but he apparently believes comic books are legitimate literature of some kind, and while he gave us 12.5 times better than the last hhhhhhorrible Doc Savage comics from Dynamite, it's still not the Doc Savage from the pulps and it's not a presentation I'd care to see in a film. Uslan most likely sees Doc Savage as a comic book character or working as such. I see it getting everything pretty much wrong about Doc Savage and turning him into generic action guy #47 with five articulated points of character individuality which are secondary at the end of the day. Do you want to see a Doc Savage movie that translates the best of the pulps onto the screen in a classic and timeless fashion, or will you pop a pop culture woody for anything calling itself Doc Savage? It's about quality, quality control, and not letting this chance at bringing Doc the full respect he deserves in American cultural history slip away because, oh, just to be random, Dolf Lundgren as The Punisher, or specifically Ron Ely as Doc Savage. I love you Ron, but 1975's version of muscle, action, and production values didn't cut it.
I won't get too spoilery but as a set-up Uslan does a nice job introducing the plot and major characters involved. The best thing the book does is show Doc as intelligent by actually being intelligent in a natural and comfortable flow, a nice break from the usual Doc is smart because he's smart and everybody knows it, so let's get back to him being violent and looking insane with anger. There's too much historical name-dropping and Wold Newton family self-congratulatory in-breeding going on, but it's a comic book and that's what passes for weight. There's also a small portion of ponderous ethics hand-wringing and social engineering, which I blame Stan Lee for personally. Again, comic books demand this like puppets need strings or hands up their asses.
Pulps were more B&W about ethics and good vs. evil and while a Doc Savage movie doesn't have to be devoid of grey of any kind it should by design shun angst about it. If Doc's fighting Hitler it should be about stopping Hitler and not discovering what made Hitler Hitler so we can better understand his milieu and then write a thesis paper on it that makes no statements of judgment.
The story starts off in the present day. Why. Notice that's not a question. It's a statement. Why. What effing purpose does it serve beyond the demands of Hollywood execs who only have their jobs because they're either bean counters who don't know and care about the properties they're making sausage out of, or they're aggressive psychopaths who rise in the industry for who knows what reasons really. Watch this video and picture Jon Peters in your mind while holding up your hands like you're framing a movie scene:
There's one piece of impossible physics on display that's pure comic book in that it's hysterically wrong. Someone also says something they would have no idea of knowing. Buy yourself a taco on my tab if you figure it out.
For a comic book the 1st issue of Justice, Inc. is worth buying, reading, and keeping forever in a board and bag. As inspiration for a new Doc Savage movie it gives enough examples of how comic book tropes negate pulp fiction tropes in ways that can only harm Doc Savage.
Did You Know: Where's Waldo (Doc Savage) on this cover:
August 17, 2014 Update: You know and I know the new Doc Savage movie is moribund, so humor me as I act as if my life is somehow fascinating. And thanks for asking about my trip to NY-DC-PA, I said to nobody. Middle Age Guy Travel Pro Tip Of The Day: Make sure your friend didn't pass away from a heart attack before you make the drive from DC to Penn State to visit. Write that down.
Doc Savage appears in this comic book from Argentina. I count seven sexual fetishes at work. Eight if you're into that sort of thing.
I shipped my pallet of comic books/movie posters/magazines/Misc. to myself for pick up on Tuesday. Door To Door Storage was by far the cheapest option. Someone mentioned USPS Media Mail but comic book boxes are by far NOT shipping boxes and I wasn't going to try my luck with pulling up in a van at the local post office. I'll post Misc. items of interest as I sort through things.
On the Doc Savage mindset front, I was stuck watching insufferable cable TV for a few days on my brother's 60" Samsung television, suffering a terminal case of "Soap Opera Effect", or "Motion Interpolation". 100 million dollar productions and awesome tv shows looked like cheap video cams filmed by the 3rd Assistant Director on cardboard sets. There's no Hollywood Magic at all, and I got the feeling post-production turns the mundane into the epic by literal magic. Even if not especially the acting is improved ten-fold by richer visuals.
Flearun member David Gustafson found this nice pic and wrote:
"A rare photo of Doc Savage, working undercover as a pilot
for Northwest Airlines,
in an adventure for which the world is not yet ready.
(Seriously...this is the tallest pilot I ever saw. How did he fit in the cockpit?)"
Amelie came on and by the sheer creative power of Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's visual style the film didn't look bad at all. "The City Of Lost Children" and "Delicatessen" are idiosyncratic masterpieces, equaled by Terry Gilliam's best work. I wouldn't want either to direct a Doc Savage film for the same reasons I wouldn't want Tim Burton or Wes Anderson too either, but I'd love to see Jeunet hired as Director Of Photography.
I've been long irked by comments on the IMDB that a new Doc Savage movie should get the Sky Captain or Sin City treatment. Both films are one-note experiments that feature the process as much if not more than the story itself. Sin City pushed through to the finish line via pacing, brutality, and star power, while Sky Captain worked as a short but faded away as a feature film:
I bring this up because the commercial for Sin City 2 looks like the entire film consists of five second cuts filmed hours apart and then visually processed in twelve layers. Phony and self-aware indeed:
For To Read: A fellow by the name of Cory Copeland drew the short straw at his comic book blog and wound up reviewing "The Silver Pyramid", DC's trade paperback collection of their 1987 attempt at Doc Savage through the eyes of creatives who didn't know and didn't care enough about Doc Savage to make something worthwhile. Cory kindly tears it a third a-hole. On the other hand Rip Jagger thoroughly enjoyed it, so as Seymour Krelborn said to Audrey Jr. in "The Little Shop Of Horrors" as he fed body parts into the plant, "I guess there's no accounting for people's tastes."
August 3, 2014 Update: My web host has been crapping out so I apologize if this site doesn't appear. Which means you can't be reading this. Because Metaphysics. I'll be out of town for ten days so if there's big Doc Savage news you won't be reading about it here.
"Our Long National Nightmare Is Over": Gerald Ford's quote
applies to the Dynamite Entertainment Doc Savage comic book series that
began with great promise as far as interviews went with writer Chris
all most-of-us know how it worked out in
the end - and by end I mean we took it a little in the behind whenever
we bent over to pay for these eight funny books that, as with most
similar efforts before it, weakened Doc Savage as a brand. In the
process the series
also murdered and skinned an old-growth tree named Timmy.
Jesus (the Mexican Forest Ranger) wept.
The 23 pages of issue #7 were relatively and therefore surprisingly coherent. Little happens but at least it makes sense in a way that tells me Roberson didn't just grunt loose ideas into a recorder while working through a massive dump. Did I want to read another post-modern chin-scratcher that puts Doc Savage on the defensive as zero-sum at best? No. I'm not looking to destroy Doc Savage and "The College" doesn't need to be addressed ad nauseam in order to move forward to telling actual Doc Savage stories, which like Barbie and math class, must be tough! Does anyone want to read entire stories of The Spirit that deal with Ebony White being a pint-sized Stepin Fetchit? Yes if victim ideology is your entire world, but no if not. Maybe I'm just grateful this issue didn't remind me exactly of this:
Spoiler Alert! I award a two-minute golf clap to having Doc's stupid moronic asinine trilling the cue for everyone to lose their mind.
Issue #8. As a Random Snark Generator I was afraid the series would end on a high note and crow would be on tonight's menu. In that regard Dynamite both let me down and didn't let me down. Because Metaphysics! The entire issue was as suspenseful as asking on the cover "1+1 Equals....?" and then at the end of the story there's a footnote that reads, "Oh yeah. 1+1 equals 2". I won't spoil the resolution for you. It's Dynacraptastic!
What did we learn in Doc Savage 1-8? Doc's 113 years old but doesn't look a day over fifty. Pat looks both 65 and like Bea Arthur. The story is narrated by someone named "Samantha", just another Cabbage Patch doll-looking extra in a series that dumps the Forgotten Five almost immediately. But mostly we learned, once again, that Doc Savage is not a comic book character and he dies a little more every time the zeitgeist of four-color, tights & cape soap opera with punching is applied to him.
I made this point last time and I'll type it out again. If Hollywood is looking for a new paradigm (20 cents!) to explore and exploit it exists in pulp fiction, but not as an extension of comic books. Sherlock would be the benchmark given to story and character development, not Scooby Doo. I found the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film admirable in setting and costuming but also too cute, whimsical, and self-aware. There's a world of potential with pulp characters like the Shadow and Doc Savage, both as works of fiction and thrilling adventures. Make Doc Savage the best Doc Savage of the 1930s. Don't address what doesn't need to be addressed. Improve what needs to be improved without destroying What makes Doc Savage Doc Savage. Don't make your point that these characters are human because they're also horrible and wrong. Tell pulp fiction stories using all the talent major motion pictures are supposed to attract. Etc. etc. ad nauseam.
August 1, 2014 Update: The restraining order of my exceeded bandwidth is over and I'm back, as creepy and stalky as ever! Did you miss me? Did you know I was here in the first place and only arrived because you did a Google search for something illegal in your home country and hit the link anyway because you're that desperate? Either way, welcome... pantless friends.
The Latest Is...: The new Doc Savage movie either lies dormant, is being worked on quietly, or is dead without a notice in the obituary column of the Hollywood Reporter. The latest mention of anything Shane Black-related is a Predator blurb on this site about an article to appear in this magazine. Is there any reason to believe anyone in the creative loop cares any more about Sgt. Pointy Peak and the Five Stooges? Based on things I've read I'd say no, both specifically with Sony Pictures and with Hollywood generally and specifically with "comic book" movies, which are big again now if you scratch the right niches. Doc Savage is barely a niche and it's not a comic book, so it's something you would normally scratch off your schedule. For this I blame pretty much everyone but myself. Seriously. No, not seriously, but, yeah, maybe seriously.
Nikki Finke's new site is the go-to place for movie and TV insider snark, and Sony seems to be in her sights a lot lately. Two relevant quotes, the first negative on its surface but the second actually encouraging to Doc Savage fans if the property is handled correctly:
"The greenlight criteria was to become more stringent: that the numbers would drive everything, but also that there had to be a passionate belief in the project's success from multiple execs, and that they must know the audience they're targeting before they commit. Plus the studio now intended to view the North American market as a territory and make pictures aimed at the international audiences."
"So budgets on franchises would no longer be gigantic and P&A [prints and advertising] expenditures should be approximately 10% less going forward. Also discussed was that the studio needed to build more franchises and have more sequels and develop more brands, and these should be the key to the slate going forward."
I'm Glad You Asked: 1) I finished the book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, in which cornball Stan Lee comes away as the most empathetic character just through stick-to-itiveness and positivity. Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko had reasons to be disgruntled, but so did everyone, including Stan Lee, who didn't openly wallow in bitterness and accusations that insiders often found iffy. What struck me most was how most everyone on the creative side moved on after feeling slighted, cheated, ignored, etc. but came back either quickly or soon enough down the road, a cycle that kept on repeating. Between Marvel, DC, and the few independents there was a revolving door and when the rent was due you went to or back to whoever was paying or hiring. With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story is a nice follow-up to the book.
As it relates to Doc Savage the desire to branch out if not escape entirely from the funny book business struck Stan Lee and his bosses early on, and projects came and went like truckers at the porno store booths off Interstate 44. Read this book and you'll realize how little it means for a film to be in any level of production. Doc Savage is and isn't a comic book character. The world of publishing and the standards-free desperation of Doc Savage fans & gatekeepers reimagined Doc Savage as a generic comic book putz, but he's a pulp fiction cornerstone and should be accorded more reverence and seriousness. Is it a strike against him he's not a household comic book name (and that the comic books with him in it are hhhhhhhorible)? Definitely, but it's the wrong context to begin with.
2) On Netflix streaming I found the three-part PBS series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, which overcomes clunky intros by Liev Schreiber to be a nice overview of the comic book slash film industry that proves history is written by sociology majors. They directly link The Shadow to Batman but Doc gets nary a mention when it comes to what they say fostered the creation of Superman. And just like the drawing below, that's why we can't have nice things:
3) I also streamed a piece of BBC promotional excellence titled Unlocking Sherlock, and I recommend you see it because it drives home my point that a new Doc Savage film deserves the Sherlock treatment to be both respectful to the source material and successful as a major motion picture franchise. This is a chance to raise up the entire pulp genre into something viable and worthy, opening doors to a world of characters relegated to something equal to if not lower than comic books. Lower if you factor in the fan base for pulp is a fraction of the comic book community, itself a fraction of what it used to be. And also lower because of the inherent and deliberate camp nostalgia factors.
The 1975 Doc Savage Film Of Shame crapped out for the usual reasons found in 1975 generally, but it also reeked of a throwback to the campy Batman TV series from 1966 to 1968. Batman was a great shot in the arm to DC comics but it rendered the characters cute and limp. Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns happily obliterated the Adam West era and brought Batman back to his 1939 roots.
Doc Savage deserves both the Sherlock and Dark Knight treatments. Do it right the first time and you can legitimately revive The Shadow, Dick Tracy, The Spirit, and who the hell knows what else. And the big difference between pulp and comic book movies should be pulps' avoidance of comic book outsider teenage melodramatic socio-political angst.
I leave by restating that Doc Savage has to take place in the mid 1930s. What Sherlock (and Elementary) do is an indulgence granted a well-known character. If Doc Savage ever becomes a household name only then can you branch out into the modern day or traveling sock puppet shows or whatever.
July 20, 2014 Update: Back To Nothing: Nothing's happened this week so the only legitimate item to bring up is why did Sony/Shane Black/Satan unleash the news that Chris Hemsworth might have been asked to play Doc Savage? It must have been set by then that Shane Black would be doing both "The Nice Guys" and the next Predator movie, so why come out of nowhere with this? To help market the package to a different director? That wouldn't bother me as long as the script is legitimate and the director has the correct vision. Without knowing poop from shinola, just from the script stalling over budget, I'd guess Black's take was heavy on comic book pomp and CGI nonsense, which the characters "as is" (as far as cultural awareness goes) do not warrant without nullifying what made the Doc Savage world great in the first place.
Defending the Indefensible For The Eminently Likeable Ron Ely: The Fresno Bee was bored enough to print a press release for this thing starring Ron Ely as "Elder Miller". You'll laugh, you'll cry, your testicles will retract a little, when you read things like "maybe 'Doc Savage' was ahead of its time" and "there was no budget for extra special effects or sufficient editing".
Doc Savage Teaches "Beautiful Springtime" In The Florida Panhandle:
Sifu Doc Savage teaches traditional Wing Chun in Fort Walton Beach, FL, where "Sticky Hands" isn't what you might think it is. Pervert. I studied Wing Shun. It's deep math theory applied to martial arts. You don't see it in MMA because, like a teacher once told me, "Bong Sau cannot stop a motorcycle".
You Tell 'Em, Noir-Male!: Link
July 12, 2014 Update: Variety Is Not Just The Spice Of Life, It's A Trade Publication: Variety reported on the 10th that Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are officially signed for Shane Black's pet project "The Nice Guys". According to the IMDB it's now in pre-production. Black will also direct. He's also writing and unofficially directing the Predator reboot. A rumor exists that Gus Van Sant will take over Death Note, the film Black wasn't doing much about while he also wasn't doing much with Doc Savage.
The only question now is if Doc Savage will go forward at all and who will take the reins. Maybe Michael Uslan still cares, and cares enough to not want another "The Spirit" on his hands. A nice thing is happening with the box office and critical success of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. T'wood appear you can make a film both exciting and intelligent, with fully developed and explored characters. Huh. Michael, call me, we'll do lunch in Hollywood. I took the Ghetto Blue Line from Long Beach yesterday and boy are my hopes for humanity tired.
July 6, 2014 Update: My Evil Plot Revealed: I started this blog almost seven years ago. A blog (Year 2000 how I miss you so) about the possibility of a new Doc Savage movie coming into existence - maybe. At first I did it to impress der chix, because nothing screams virility and desirability like obsessing on the internet about a piece of cultural trivia so obtuse even its own devoted fans have seemingly no f--king idea what it is.
My visitor traffic has picked up to major numbers, and by major I mean imperceptibly, but search engines have ranked me higher recently because of the Chris Hemsworth and Shane Black associations with the name Doc Savage, filtered through the algorithms of Spiders, Bingbots, and Whizzdiddlers. Today, now, is the time to reveal my true plan:
Amway! Amway! For The Love Of God Buy Amway From Me!!
I'm Up To My Ear's Assholes In Amway!!!
Nothing Much Else Going On: Shane Black will write and will most likely direct the Predator sequel so there's that for you. Doc's going waaaay up on the top shelf. Issue #7 of the horrible Dynamite Entertainment Doc Savage comic book is out, so I'll leaf through a copy at a retailer to experience a new definition of "effortless" as "completely lacking in effort". There's a self-described rare poster on sale by whoever did Millennium Comics, who before Dynamite held the title of worst Doc Savage comic book caretaker.
As you can see, Doc's pulling a Cleavon Little by pointing an upside down gun directly at his own Adam's Apple.
June 29, 2014 Update: Even When I Lose I'm a Weiner: I won this item, but was I really a "winner"?:
W.C. Fields Gives Me The Finger While The Guillotined Head Of Elderly Doc Savage Does His Best Charles Nelson Reilly Impression. Doc Flex In The Foreground Visualizes A Mirror Into Existence. Little Doc Just Stands There Clenching His Widdle Fists To Compensate For His Impotence And Father Issues .
The thing repulsed me in a way because of the steroid-enriched bicep flex, megaphone ray gun and piss-yellow hair and brow combo, but it cost painted about what it would not and the artiste secured it to a "Value French Corner Plaque" and glued on both the Doc Savage Creed and this thing I find all over the internet:
WHO IS DOC
To the world at large, Doc Savage is a strange, mysterious figure of glistening bronze skin and golden eyes. To his amazing co-adventurers - the five greatest brains ever assembled in one group - he is a man of superhuman strength and protean genius, whose life is dedicated to the destruction of evil-doers. To his fans he is one of the greatest adventure heroes of all time, whose fantastic exploits are unequalled for hair-raising thrills, breathtaking escapes and bloodcurdling excitement.
The statue is 7"s tall and in person the hair is less bright yellow. The rest of the coloring is quite decent. I vow to paint the hair a darker bronze and remove the red and green lines off the blaster Doc never would have carried even under the threat of death.
Nail Two In The Coffin: Shane Black's come out of hibernation in a big way with three announcements. He wants Chris Hemsworth for Doc Savage, he's prepping his beloved script "The Nice Guys" for Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, and now he's writing and possibly can be persuaded to direct the next "Predator" movie. His Doc Savage script is stalled by budget-bloat. Do you think he'll start over on Doc Savage when the world is lining to kiss his ring for a movie franchise he acted in back in 1987? Or a script everyone loves ("The Nice Guys")?
Yeah, do the math. If the Doc Savage script was great the status of the film wouldn't be described as "grappling with budget issues", which means Sony frisbee'd it back and said NO. At this stage what I'm hoping for is Black stepping back to Executive Producer and letting another director and writer make a worthy 1930s pulp film crawling with intelligence, action, incidental humor, and a reason to be in the first place. Better no new Doc Savage film than something that winds up on a list of Failed Comic Book Movies, the cruel joke being Doc Savage is not a comic book character and the comics made with him in it are horrid. Just hhhhhhhhorrid.
The illustration above illustrates the style-guide problem Doc Savage has dealt with since 1933, which opened the door to speculation and wish-fulfillment that has poisoned Doc Savage to where nobody even knows what he effing looks like. I think they do, but those Bama covers are so coooooool. Walter Baumhofer did the best work and presented the most handsome and viable Doc Savage. The rest did whatever until Doc stopped appearing on covers altogether, and the inside drawings had Doc as literally Clark Gable or Gary Cooper or even Abe Lincoln. It's fascinating in a sad, self-destructive way.
June 25, 2014 Update: Shane Black Wants Chris Hemsworth to Play Doc Savage: He would be an excellent choice all things considered. It's also good the film is getting mentioned again in something approximating moving forward. I've often stated it would be best not to go for a gargantuan budget and then be bound to it with huge sets and CGI up the ying-yang. The idea is to make an excellent Doc Savage movie, not a hugely-budgeted film about a guy named Doc Savage.
I liked the line "Basically, he was the original Most Interesting Man in the World."
Here's a better article from Screen Rant. The answer to budget is to focus less on grandeur and more on story - starting by even having one and being sure it's a great and correct Doc Savage story.
June 22, 2014 Update: Never Ceases To Amaze Me: Today's accompanying video is Split Enz's "Never Ceases To Amaze Me":
Last week I posted that Shane Black is looking to direct his script "The Nice Guys" starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. This would be a major blow to the chances of a Doc Savage film being made. Black's been in hiding for nine months after spewing odd statements about Doc Savage being Jimmy Stewart as a stone cold killer, and looking for his debilitating back-story. I was hoping Black would make a great Doc Savage movie but instead he's framing it in terms of a type of story he likes to write and then figuring out how he can plug in Doc Savage as a shell. "The Nice Guys" is a finished labor-of-love awaiting a green light. What do you think will happen?
A week in there's been no mention of this on the Doc Savage internet, which as far as being active is the Facebook page Flearun. They're still imagining Doc Savage as the paperback book cover guy even older to match their own ages and posting Photoshop what-if pairings. Don't get me started on the action figure Frankenstein Monsters grown men hobble together in their unfinished basements. You realize in the public eye that's three steps above tucking it in and dancing around to "Goodbye Horses".
If there's been an organized Doc Savage front to guide and encourage a new Doc Savage movie, I sure haven't seen signs of it. If I were a Sony executive looking at the status of Doc Savage fandom I'd come away underwhelmed. Also, based on enthusiasm and organization I wouldn't find the Doc Savage fan base capable of pushing a new Doc Savage film towards success. They barely even bring up the new film amongst themselves!
Based on Doc Savage fandom Doc Savage is a psychotic 60 year old with steroid muscles and rage to match, wearing Dumbo-ear riding pants and a ripped shirt while he sprays a machine gun with clenched teeth. How and why did the Doc Savage of 1935 become this insanity that destroys Doc Savage in the process? Doc Savage fans need to ask themselves this instead of signing off on anything calling itself Doc Savage, the more piffling the better. After the comic book industry, Doc Savage intellectuals and fans are in effect the worst things to ever happen to Doc Savage. If a new film doesn't get made they will happily go back to singing "Goodbye Horses" while carving widow's peaks into the heads of G.I. Joe dolls.
What's The Plan, Michael Uslan?: Batman go-to Executive Producer Micheal Uslan must have time-enough-to-lean, time-enough-to-clean as he's writing a comic book series for variant cover puppy mill Dynamite Entertainment, featuring The Shadow, Doc Savage, and lesser Doc Savage follow-up guy The Avenger. Here he's interviewed by Bleeding Cool. The relevant Doc Savage quote is thus:
"When Siegel and Shuster borrowed so heavily from Doc Savage in their
creation of Superman, they also wound up with the challenge of how do
you keep audiences interested in a character so all-powerful. Jerry
Siegel would fall into the same potential trap in his creation of The
Spectre. For Doc Savage, the answer is easier. He may be a human
operating at the highest level a human physically and mentally can in
real life, but he was still a human. He could still err, could still
rush to judgment, could still have human foibles and socialization
issues. Being the strongest and smartest doesn’t mean you know how to
ask out a woman or behave in social situations. And Superman never had
the 'brothers'- the companionship and support system Doc developed."
This is all well and good but keep in mind Chris Roberson talked the same talk before devoting more effort to his grocery list than his Doc Savage comic book scripts. I see Doc Savage on the cover is still the cartoon version of the character, so I won't bet cash money on the chances of this ending well either. Doc Savage is not and will always fail as a comic hook hero. It's the wrong choice, the wrong question to ask, the wrong answer to the wrong question, and the definition of creative insanity. But hey, good luck!
Read This And Apply It To Doc Savage
A Ray Gun. And Steroids. And A Bulbous Nose. And A Ripped Shirt But No Damaged Skin.
And A Left Forearm Thicker Than The Bicep. I Do Like How The Right Hand Is Drawn.
June 14, 2014 Update: Shane Black Is Making A New Movie Called "The Nice Guys". Read about it here.
"Black is the veteran blockbuster screenwriter who most recently wrote and directed 'Iron Man 3,' which grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide. He has been developing a 'Doc Savage' movie at Sony."
June 8, 2014 Update: Still not working on this blog too hard until something new breaks but I did read Dynamite's Doc Savage #6 and it's once again a four-color failure. It's the Springtime For Hitler of comic books. There, I've triggered Godwin's Law. Ya happy? Happy is a character in this fiasco. Not the same Happy from Marvel comics. I think.
June 1, 2014 Update: This blog is henceforth going on hiatus until something legitimately happens with a Doc Savage movie. I've been tap dancing my feet, windmilling my arms, and Tourette Scatting my keyboard for several months now and I'm as tired of me as you are. Write to oldpunkwebzine at yahoo if there's anything I should share with the other children.
[Game Over. Thanks For Playing!] Free To The First
Caller E-Mailer: As an
exercise in completist anxiety I've been buying the
RadioArchives Doc Savage reprints. 74 volumes have been printed so
far and word has it the insanity will end with #85. For a decent
discount check out
Atomic Empire. From a bulk eBay purchase I had a Bama cover for #33,
which did not stand because 1) I'm not a fan of the paperbacks
and, B) my collection must conform to logic and reason. The original is
also my favorite Baumhofer cover:
I'll send my Bama cover copy FREE to the first person in the US who contacts me for it. Why? Because my parole officer is wrong about me.
Review Of Dynamite Entertainment's Doc Savage Annual, Along With Defining Doc Savage In General:
Variant cover shysters Dynamite Entertainment mercifully cut short their run of Doc Savage comic books because even they realized the jig was up on their four-color ponzi scheme. As a possible act of attrition they put out an Annual with a different creative team behind it. Potential country singer Shannon Denton wrote the script and if I didn't know or care about Doc Savage I'd probably have enjoyed this comic book. At least it tries to be about something relevant and work through a complete storytelling arc. The backbone of the tale is derived from the first few pulps when Doc killed enemies and the lesser novels of the 1940s where Doc doubts and ponders in ways that work to invalidate what made Doc Savage great in the first place. Not my choices at all but if you want to make this story the Annual does a decent job sorting through it.
Doc Savage is a very particular thing and to do a valid Doc Savage project of any kind requires conceptual and factual research, the ability to come up with a valid science mystery, clever inventions and crime-fighting procedures, and an understanding of the six major characters and how they work individually and as a group. This doesn't fit the comic book world because comic books are also a very particular thing. Just like professional wrestling and 1970's stag films are very particular things. Comic books tend to be thematically comic book high concept. Nowadays heroes can't just be heroes any more. That's naive. Heroes are anti-heroes when they're not straight-up sociopaths. Comic books now spend most of their time proving everything you thought comic books were about is wrong.
In this comic Doc addresses the false charge of being "Perfect" by hobbling himself with angst and soft self-loathing. In voiceover narration Doc says "I'm trying to keep it together", "I don't believe in much of anything", and "So many expect me to be perfect. To not make mistakes. No such person exists." These are all unnecessary and wrong choices for Doc Savage. Doc Savage should be about Doc Savage - and by that I mean the best Doc Savage elements derived from the best of the original pulp run. The individual pulps themselves are fairly irrelevant and incidental to what makes Doc Savage great and what a great new Doc Savage movie should be about. Be honest, do you find the pulps worthy of being individually remembered in detail, or is Doc Savage an accumulation of things you remember from them either specifically or generally? Do you think filming "Brand Of The Werewolf" is the best way to go, or do you want something that covers everything great about Doc Savage in a story that warrants the time and budget of a 100 million dollar major motion picture? That is of course a rhetorical question on my part. As rough outlines you can take X number of pulps and make them into a TV series, but if you want the world to fall in love with Doc Savage you better expect Shane Black to internalize what Doc Savage is, what makes it great, and then write a great Doc Savage story and not a treatise on ubermensch relativism.
I don't care what Doc Savage did in the first pulp novel or how introspective he was in a garbage throwaway deadline maker from 1945. Doc Savage is focused and stoic, 6'7", peak human, non-steroidal, not chatty, always intelligent, has a human haircut, and is well mannered. Everything else invalidates him.
In the Annual Doc bangs a chick, loves himself a machine gun, and jumps 25 feet in the air. I'm a little sad his horrible, deformed widow's peak didn't point to the very edge of a mutant unibrow because why have one stupid thing when you can have two, making it an awesome third thing? The art is better here than it was in the series.
A Random Person's Random Fan Casting: I've had this in storage for ever. There's no Monk (from a notation I didn't include I think he wanted Jackie Earle Haley as Monk. Yikes.) or Doc. Based on this list for Doc I'll assume he wanted either of the two leads from Supernatural.
James Marsden (5'10") as Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks
Scott Adkins (5'10") as John "Renny" Renwick
Walton Goggins (5'10") as Thomas J. "Long Tom" Roberts
Karl Urban (6'1") as William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn
Doc Savage On The Radio:
Tennessee counties Murfreesboro and Rutherford were recently treated to a WGNS radio commentary on Doc Savage. See here for details.
May 25, 2014 Update: The e-mail swore me to secrecy but I know from past experience this super-duper-secret Doc Savage item will be sold on Ebay soon enough by the party who first swore me to secrecy. When that happens I will write about said item directly. Contact the usual suspect if you know who that is.
To offset that cryptic line I'll let you know that on January 6, 2014 someone visited my site from The William Morris Agency seeking "Doc Savage Wanted". Isn't that exciting? No, not really? Uh, ok.
Say, What Form Of Douchery IS This?!: Dynamite Entertainment's variant cover scam is even more craptastic than I first realized. They issue, in essence, blank comic book covers that in Doc Savage's case look exactly like this:
The Ebay ad trumpets "Use this blank cover edition to get your favorite artist to do a custom cover for you!" A variation for another book phrases it as "The Blank Authentix Cover features the same great story, but a blank cover that you can get your favorite artist to draw! Blank Authentix Cover only available for issue #1!"
You're paying extra for the lack of art on a comic book cover. Some of these comics even come with a certificate of authenticity. My hands are trembling because I can finally draw my own Doc Savage fantasy cover with Doc dressed like Marilyn Monroe standing over the air grate, and they'll authenticate it so from now on the Wold Newton Family must acknowledge Doc Savage was a cross-dresser. Fiction becomes fact and I'm empowered through the liberation of creativity! Time for another large sausage pizza because I'm no longer of this world!
Damaged Goods, I'll Pay $1,825.00: A coveted Doc Savage medal from the early middle of the last century sold for the aforementioned amount. The poor kid's face was smeared with poop. I wonder if you can correct that without lessening the value even more.
Random Link Dump (Unrelated, Non-Poop Joke):
Back Of Beyond Times
The 11 Defining Features Of The Summer Blockbuster (I'm against a Doc Savage movie being made as a summer blockbuster because it's the wrong high concept approach)
5 Types Of Movie Adaptations That Must Be Stopped
May 18, 2014 Update:
"Mr. Black?... it's Chet again, from the Sony Studios mail room? We spoke a few weeks ago?... My Outlook reminded me to ask again about that script for Doctor Savage... What day is it today?... Sunday... Where are you?... I have no idea Mr. Black... No Sir, I don't know why you're dressed like a sexy rabbit... About that script, do you think there's a chance you could finish... That's right, Chet, from Sony... Yes, I'll tell them you need more carrots, and by carrots you mean Columbian Sinus Powder... Yes Sir, very clever for being locked in a windowless basement dressed like a sexy bunny... Mr. Black, that fire alarm I just pulled means I have to go... Please try to work on that Savage Doctor script... Oh, that's right, Doc Savage, The Man Of Bronze... so he's a robot?... No, he has a tan?... Hell, I'm going to be demoted again, aren't I..."
Damaged Goods, Send It Back:
Some Angry Post-Punk Muzak To Set The Tone
Reading over a recent link to a board discussion on Doc Savage, one "Don Zomberg" wrote "Shane Black loves writing traumatized characters--Tony Stark's PTS in IM3, Mel Gibson in LETHAL WEAPON, Bruce Willis in that idiotic football flick, Geena Davis in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT". This reminded me of Shane Black's
words from eight months back that went exactly like: “So we kept it in the 30s, we beefed up the sort of rationale behind what it would take to be a perfect person and to be trained as such from childhood and how that would scar someone. And what it would take to be a parent who is capable of inflicting that on your kid. But beyond that we’ve also tried to be true to the series, give him the helpers and it’s also reinvigorating it but introducing a whole new brand of people to this is a challenge. It’s been around, it’s been 75 years”
Recurring themes are a staple of successful film directors, often ridiculously so. You can wind up in a coma playing drinking games involving Alfred Hitchcock and Tim Burton's predilections. As with bands you like it's not always a bad thing if most songs sound alike, or if every two years or so, like clockwork, the new film by Christopher Nolan is going to check off a laundry list of psychological imperatives that in lesser hands expresses itself as random obsessive-compulsive disorders.
The Angry Doc Savage Meme Must Die
In this Doc Savage case, I don't want Shane Black to find (or invent) a traumatized, ticking-time-bomb in Doc Savage so he can once again present his arguments on the Existential Crisis to an uncaring universe. I want him to make a great Doc Savage movie, and a non-apology in advance to Doc Savage fans who think Doc Savage is damaged or in need of deconstruction, it's better to have no new film at all than to make him less than how he was in the best books from the 1930s. Doc Savage will never be made better by making him worse or who he never was in the first place (also see: Doc Savage Holds Gun And Looks Insane).
In the same article Black back-hands:“Obviously in the books there’s an element of ‘goody goody’ that we like. Doc Savage was the basis essentially for Superman because his name is Clark, he has a fortress of solitude, and ‘oh Superman has the same thing, that’s odd.’ But that kind of perfect hero who never makes mistakes him great to a point and that type of adventure and the pulp it represents has been so imitated. Raiders of the Lost Ark is essentially a child of Doc Savage. But we needed something more."
The Doc Savage pulps were gritty and dirty, with Doc and the Fictional Five sometimes tortured but definitely beaten up on a regular basis. Doc is flesh and blood. His skill, strength, intelligence, and contingency planning make him difficult to capture or kill, but he gets captured and tied up - a lot. The issue of perfect doesn't come up because he has to pull victories from the ass of defeat once a month, and as a human being things like relationships, happiness, satisfaction, relaxation, and the like as not in his cards. It's a full time job being Doc Savage and that's what Doc Savage does for a living.
Hollywood is run by Type-A Psychopaths who spend their days herding psychopathic cats knows as "Creatives". You know for damn sure the studios know the profiles (i.e. Criminal Minds) of the directors they hire. You can't just give Director A a film without understanding the lead character loves sweaters, fears unripened fruit, will be urinated on by a bad guy (or gal!), and that Chiropractic is a hit squad serving Freemasonry. It's factored in.
I would like Shane Black to not use Doc Savage as another opportunity to exorcise his inner demons. If David Lynch can make The Straight Story Mr. Black can make a great Doc Savage movie based entirely on Doc Savage and what made the pulps great in the first place.
The Horror Of Disco And The 1975 Film Of Shame Remembered: From Bruce Hennigan:
"In 1975, two tragedies occurred. First, disco took over my world of rock and roll music. And, the movie adaptation of Doc Savage starring Ron Ely premiered. I stood in line at the Strand Theater in downtown Shreveport. Fans of Doc Savage stretched down and around the block. I was stunned. I had no idea anyone knew who Doc Savage was. But, those fans were just as dismayed and disappointed with the movie as I was. It was horrible; campy; downright stupid; and an insult to anyone who loved the pulpy thriller stories of Doc Savage."
May 11, 2014 Update: Breaking!... Doc Savage Movie News Press Conference... In Progress!
More Like Dyna-Dud! Amirite People?: Like your
girlfriend/wife/mistress/co-worker who's volatile enough as it is, another cycle brings us another Doc Savage
comic book from Dynamite Entertainment to make us roll our eyes, grit
our teeth, and pray for
menopause cancellation. That
will come July 30th with issue #8. A tree named Timmy will have been
guillotined, skinned, and pulped for the sins of the fanboys.
Issue #5 is a threadbare whisper of a story with Doc doing absofugglutely nothing Doc Savage, and not much of anything else for that matter. Pat and Doc are the only original characters and they haven't aged a day in a half century. The haircut and mustache of a single passerby suggests 1980 (Oh, I see below it's supposed to be 1988. O-tay). There's no effort to depict action so the hook is Nazi lore, pot-smoking sci-fi cultists, and a CGC 9.8 graded pacifist resolution. The Tension Meter never twitched and neither did the Reason-To-Care Seismograph.
Here's how Dynamite lays out the plot. They literally gave it all away in the summation:
"When a group of cultists takes control of an abandoned orbital weapon in 1988, threatening to burn whole cities unless their demands are met, the whole world is in a state of panic. Fortunately, Doc Savage and his aides are already in orbit repairing a communications satellite, and are the only ones who have a chance of averting disaster. But it's a slim chance..."
Issue #5 does have one redeeming quality in that it doesn't deconstruct a populist conspiracy theory or imply that heroes and Doc Savage stink and are worthless. That nice change wasn't replaced by an existential threat or a present danger you think might add up to something. The structure was A leads to B and ends with C. And... goodnight.
Page samples can be found here. Notice that most faces look like the same person. I wonder why these comic books exist. As a quid pro quo was Dynamite asked to put this out by Sony to have something on the market that says Doc Savage on the cover? Does it serve a purpose like the unreleased 1994 film The Fantastic Four where the goal was to retain rights to the characters? That's the cliffhanger my friends. These comics might be an experiment in how little effort it takes to put together a comic book. Possibly by the same Cornell researchers who concluded "Chicken on the bone makes kids aggressive"?
An Existential Mumblethon On Doc Savage And Most Other Comic Books In General: Start with this discussion board titled "Those Comics In Your Basement? Probably Worthless". If you're smart and lucky you might make money collecting and selling comic books. Most people don't. This leads to a debate on why you should collect comic books in the first place. Wikipedia says "Comics are collected for several possible reasons, including appreciation, nostalgia, financial profit, and completion of the collection." They don't delve into the two biggest reasons - it fills up your waking hours and it feeds obsessive behavior in a way similar to compulsive gambling. The comic book industry prays on impulses and compulsions as much as it does wish fulfillment and revenge fantasies.
A comic book price guide is a comic dealer industry consensus of what a dealer thinks you should pay for comic books. If comic books were awesome and valuable then comic book stores would not go out of business and there would be a line out the door of each one. Most dealers don't take consignments for "valuable" comic books because 1) They're not actually valuable, and 2) Nobody is looking to buy them.
This relates to Doc Savage directly in all possible ways. To begin with, Doc Savage comic books are for the most part excrement, and even collectors must recognize that. By having the mental capacity to have the money to buy them in the first place qualifies you to know they're toilet droppings. They're neither rare nor in demand. Dynamite Entertainment's recent Doc Savage variant covers are a cynical exploitation on people's impulses and compulsions, made even worse by the relentless lack of effort found between each issue's covers.
Aiding and abetting price guide shenanigans is the CGC (Certified Collectibles Group), which serves a legitimate purpose for high-end books sought by people with too much time and money on their hands (See Nicolas Cage). On the low end the CGC lends fake credibility to a seller's attempt to sell nothing for something and something for a whole lot. Doc Savage Example A is this book:
According to the Comics Price Guide it's worth $3.00 American. The CGC hard plastic tomb it's encased in says it's graded a 9.8 out of 10. No wonder the seller's asking $100.00. It's .2 away from a 10! The low-end CGC scam works against both the perspective buyer and the person offering the book for sale. CGC grading costs a minimum of $18 per book (excluding other fees and costs), so our seller paid that amount to hopefully sell a $3.00 book for $100.00. Ebay listings cost money too. As a sociopath I see this as a win-win all around.
I've detailed before the antiquated trend of taking magazines and
turning them into hardbound books to feel at home in your oak-paneled
library of first editions and etchings. Like Batman had at stately Wayne
Manor. I'm surprised someone actually bought
this for what had to have been a lot less than the asking price of
$900.00. They stacked pulps on top of each other, cut them to the same
exact size in an industrial paper cutter, slapped glue on one side and
slipped it into a generic hardcover with generic bronze letters stamped
onto the spine. If that doesn't scream smoking jacket and ascot,
nothing does. They took things worth something and transformed them
into something worth nothing. Science!
Kinda Neat And Kinda Meta:
This is one of the better looking fantasy pairings from an ongoing meme I know little about. Dr. Fate eventually became a medical doctor because he tired of telling everyone he's not that kind of a doctor, and Doc is an actual doctor rarely referred to as Doctor Savage.
May 4, 2014 Update: May the fourth be with you. I'm sorry too that I wrote that. Below is me meandering.
Why No New News Might Not Necessarily Mean Bad News: Shane Black
smile but he prefers this face,
and I'm glad he does:
The in-development Death Note and Doc Savage pages on IMDB have two things in common. Fans interested enough to post comments do so infrequently and in small numbers. I'm sure the studios love that! They also both lament the dearth of information from the vaunted Hollywood hype machine about their films, which means either Black's locked himself in his apartment in East Rancho Dominguez and is on level 56 of World Of Warcraft or he's not interested in playing the Hollywood game while he sorts through all his obligations as Writer, Director, and newly-rediscovered industry go-to man.
What I read into his Have A Day face is that he's not about forced smiles. Either he has a real one to give or he doesn't even try. I like that, and it potentially says a lot about him as a person. Maybe he won't take the easy way out with his scripts and direction, and for the many reasons I yak on about here Doc Savage is a complicated property. Not complicated on its own but in how to present it properly as a Hollywood film. The lazy, wrong, meaningless, and dumb choices made by many parties who claim to support Doc Savage can be flushed down the toilet of irrelevance if a decent Doc Savage movie is made based on the best features of the original works smartly modified to fit modern standards. The scale of Doc Savage fandom is tiny bordering on microscopic, and that's good in this case since they've let Doc Savage become anything, everything, and nothing.
I'm not a member but I enjoy reading Flearun, where they recently lamented, debated, and sometimes denied the piss-poor quality of the Dynamite Doc Savage comic books. Everyone agrees the limited-edition covers are great but the rest would be universally seen as horrible if not for a fanboy's helpless feeling that anything Doc Savage is better than nothing Doc Savage, and maybe if we all spend $4 a month for a few months maybe someone else will come along and either give us something better or kick us in the crotch again - but at least it's a poorly written and drawn Doc Savage boot assaulting our privates.
Shane Black needs to do and understand two things, and I think he's smart enough to figure these out on his own:
1) Determine what made Doc Savage great to begin with and synthesize that into one coherent, realistically idealized whole, and
2) Find a way to overlay Lester Dent's pulp fiction writer's guide to the three-act, 60 minute-in turning point structure of modern filmmaking.
I bitch and moan about #1 all the time but #2 is potentially groundbreaking. If pulps of the 1930s were Swing Music and today's films hopefully not the Disney Radio For Date Rapists I hear at my gym but something better like The Arcade Fire or The Killers, there has to exist a creatively acceptable Moneyball algorithm to combine both in a fashion that retains the appeals of the original but presents it in a pattern and rhythm consciously and unconsciously agreeable to modern audiences. It's not like mixing two forms of music that have little to do with each other and creating garbage. It's about timing, and structuring the story to seamlessly fit that timing. It's not about seeing Doc Savage invent and ride a skateboard but in presenting futuristic 1930s technologies in a way modern audiences can recognize as awesome in the context of that era. The dealio with #2 can also apply to Doc Savage comic books.
This is a cheap opportunity to share my favorite comic strip from The Perry Bible Fellowship, but when I first read about Shane Black being recruited to be a Hollywood script doctor I feared (and still do) he would sell out for fast bucks for quick quips. Hopefully Mr. Black can find guidance from the life of Alec Lourmier:
Jazz Hands Ain't Got Nuthin' On Renny Hands:
If A New Doc Savage Film Ever Gets Made And His Heart Doesn't Explode First
This Morbidly Sad Man Will One Day Smash His Flimsy Table With Renny Hands
The voices in my head stopped screaming at each other for a while this morning so I entertained myself with ideas for the new Doc Savage toy lines sure to clog retail outlets next year or the year after that. Renny Hands came to mind, using the same mold as Hulk Hands. Imagine a commercial where kids yell "Holy Cow!" and punch through fake door panels:
To The Left - Hulk Hand. Renny Hand To The Right
I know there's no way my hands fit through this suit but work with me! Please!!
Caviar Empty: I haven't bought anything Doc-related lately since at this point I own most everything I want. I look anyway. Sometimes I find things that make me shake my head, like the person trying to sell paperbacks with covers laminated in what appears to be clear reptile skin. This person gave up on their insane pricing for French Doc Savage books and is now hoping to just rip someone off.
Trixiecat3 is trying to get at least $199.999999999999 for this variant cover and screams "CGC 9.8!!! Only Graded Copy!!" First of all the stupid thing came out three months ago, Secondly, anyone can get any comic book graded. It means NOTHING!!! Every copy of this variant comic book is a 9.8 grade unless a beverage was spilled on it.
Then there's this book:
You can buy it new for $12.95 plus shipping from the publisher or you can pay $79.86 for a used copy with free shipping. Choose wisely.
I Like This Because I Agree With It: Here someone of high moral character takes on the post-modern nonsense that Doc Savage has to be portrayed as a flailing failure. Others seem to agree. I know I do. And so should you if you know what's good for Doc Savage and you yourself if I ever find out where you swim. Consider that pool pissed in, and I don't skimp on the riboflavin!
April 27, 2014 Update: These Pages Have Expanded Yet Remain The Same As Ever, Guaranteed!: When the main page gets too long I push it onto it's own new page. By word count it all equates to a 350 page book, which as anyone even remotely familiar with the internet knows is a meaningless boast. Many search requests now hide their search terms but from past experience I safely assume anyone visiting from a tiny and/or repressive country winds up here by porn-searching accident.
Life Copies Doc Savage. In Reverse. I Think: 95 floors in 43 seconds. China is building a 111 floor office tower with an express elevator traveling 45 miles per hour. The physics of it looks something like Graft + Skimming + Deadline + Cheap Materials + Indifference = the elevator car has a 76.8% chance of shooting through the roof and not gracefully floating around as seen in Willy Wonka.
Doc had a similar elevator built into the Empire State Building - which he helped design and might have secretly owned. I know it dropped quickly but I assume it rose up just as fast. I defer to Doc Savage fans with better memories than I (not hard) on the ascent speed thing.
Writer's Room Writer Calls Doc Savage A Vigilante:
Sundance TV airs a wonky show called The Writer's Room, and Season 1, Episode 3 covers Dexter, a show filmed largely where I live in Long Beach, CA.
Later seasons Dexter Executive Producer Manny Coto (Manicotti to his friends) says "I'm a huge fan of comics and pulps, and I came to it from a bit of a shallower perspective to Dexter, but I saw Dexter as the latter day pulp hero. Pulp heroes from the 30s from the Shadow and Doc Savage on were vigilantes outside the law. Well Dexter looked to me like the 21st century version of those characters. He has a secret identity... he has super powers... his serial killing ability is a super (power)..."
He's tailspinning there at the end. Doc Savage wasn't a vigilante even though this definition is on its surface accurate, "A member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate." Doc wasn't allowed to enlist in WWII because he was too important to the war effort and the world in general by being Doc Freakin' Savage doing freakin' Doc Savage things. He was sometimes viewed suspiciously but it seemed contradictory with how the Doc Savage timeline established his standing with both government and law enforcement. It never made sense outside of being contradictory to see where it lead or to assume a more paranoid take on the Doc Savage world.
Doc Savage tackled dangers the "legal agencies" knew damn well they were ill-equipped to deal with, and they thanked their lucky stars Doc Savage was around to take care of things. Was Mighty Mouse a vigilante? Scooby Doo? Hell no, and neither was Doc Savage.
Exciting News About The New Doc Savage Film!: Just kidding. Crickets and tumbleweed. Here's a neat page about "Movies In Pre-Production". "Bollywood Superstar Monkey" and "Boy Scouts vs. Zombies" look promising.
April 20, 2014 Update: Respite From The Doc Savage Juggernaut -- Report From Wondercon 2014!: I walked around for an hour yesterday at the Wondercon show in Anaheim, CA, floating next to Disneyland in The Forbidden Parking Zone. I browsed the sales floor and chatted up a few nice people in Artist's Alley. I bought a painted set of Misfits "Punk's Not Dead" nesting dolls, a $3 comic book that didn't even attempt a story, and a $40 print I'll give away as a gift some day. The dolls I wanted, the comic book lady had the same last name of a summer camp I went to on Long Island, and the print lady supplied me my fondest wish of a few minutes of pleasant conversation. I feel parentally bad for some of these people if I feel they've mortgaged their 2012 Camry to rent a table, buy a banner, and print up stuff to have nobody stop by because the hall is jammed with similar material.
Did you ever want to give someone selling artistic "things" a few bucks just as a friendly contribution to defray costs? If I knew this wouldn't be looked on as uncomfortable and weird I'd do it whenever I felt like supporting someone's effort. I don't see how a Support The Arts tip jar can't be win-win for everybody. Another great game-changing, paradigm-shifting idea I have that will never catch on because my blinding brilliance is too in-your-face and real.
"Boys, boys, I'm up here, not where I've squished my fatty udders into an ovalesque,
open-rack display for attention
I'm trying to think of something more mildly annoying than the cosplay kids who clog up the walkways at conventions. That's easy - the premature ejaculators who snap pictures of women who don't care how contrived it is to strike the same pose, on demand, 847 times a day. I said out loud "I like attention too" and "Yeah, yeah, sex is sexy" as I standing-sideways-limbo-danced my way around and through clots of nerd organisms putting on a peep show. Maybe it's harmless fun and I'm just the hardcore alcoholic making fun of the O'Douls drinkers, but at least get the F out of everyone's effing way.
I'm also trying to think of something more mildly sad and desperate than
autograph tables for the sporadically remembered. Eric Millegan from Bones sat
at a folding table looking deflated like he just lost his only
meth pipe friend.
Renfro was there to sign autographs. She was the body double for
Janet Leigh in Psycho. That and a "showgirl". Nearby was Larry Thomas,
The Soup Nazi, appearing today on Hitler's birthday, so hooray for
confluence. A solid fifth of the entire ad budget for the generic horror film
Ones was spent on a large booth and hiring many young people to wear
matching promo t-shirts.
Everywhere you looked there were Funko toys. They're genius. Cute, affordable impulse items for your Ikea bookcase or a friend's rented room windowsill. One day there will be a Doc Savage Funko toy. I neither expected nor found a single Doc Savage thing at Wondercon. One day, you'll see, you'll ALL see! Doc Savage everywhere.
It's Not Much, But It's Something, I Guess: New Doc Savage movie
Michael Uslan is writing at least the first issue of Dynamite
Justice Inc #1, which will
bastardize make even
Avenger by directly involving his fathers The Shadow and Doc Savage.
Mr. Uslan must be itching to get the Doc Savage juggernaut rolling so
we'll see if he has a decent vision on what a Doc Savage is or if he
sees Doc as another high-concept roll of the creative dice that helps
fail upwards. Uslan's last writing credit is
o I Guess Deconstructive Comic Book Douchery Has A Name: Mark Millar.
Who Most Likely Has Two Thumbs And Is Calling Himself Doc Savage These Days?: This guy, and he has over 5,000 followers.
Who Is Volunteering To Play Doc Savage These Days?: Ivan "Doc" Holiday, soon-to-be star of the reality TV show Roadhouse Rehab, coming this Spring! According to his comment on Screenrant, "I’d like a shot at the Doc Savage lead. 5’8..225. I look like him..talk like him…& i have a Mensa IQ of 144." Not capitalizing "I" kept Mr. Holiday from scoring 145 Mensa points, and Doc Savage should be the age of how many years Mr. Holiday has worked as a scum-bar bouncer, but you can tell him these things. I'm walkin' that way.
All Things To All People Who Love Rehashed Ideas Mixed Together In No Particular Order: I read many movie synopses for this blog and my Netflix account. Most new movies interest me not in the least, partly because of films like Death Do Us Part. The answer to "Can you be any less original?" is most likely "No".
"Kennedy Jamieson, a wealthy socialite, has waited her whole life to have the perfect wedding. Engaged to the charming Ryan Harris, the young couple is just a week away from the big day but hasn’t had a chance to celebrate their respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. Ryan’s best man Chet books a remote cabin in the woods to throw them a ‘Jack and Jill’ stag that they’ll never forget. Out in the middle of nowhere, things take a horrifying turn as members of the group are brutally picked off one by one. What started out as a celebration quickly descends into a bloody nightmare. Friendships are ripped apart and accusations fly in this blood filled psychological horror with a whodunit twist."
Continue Reading This Exciting Doc Savage Blog Adventure!