Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Man of Bronze Is Back

Altus Press has just announced a series of new Doc Savage novels to begin in July.

For those who don’t know, Doc Savage was an adventure magazine published by Street and Smith in the golden age of pulps, the 30s and 40s.

In the 1960s, Bantam Books began reprinting the pulp novels, covered by striking paintings by James Bama. Eventually, Bantam reprinted the entire series, included an unpublished novel from the pulp era. Afterwards new Doc books appeared, first from science fiction legend and uber-Doc fan Philip Jose Farmer, then several books written by pulp historian Will Murray, based on unpublished work by primary Doc Savage writer Lester Dent.

Apparently, this new series by Murray, titled The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage (which makes me think Doc is teaming up with Austin Powers; Yeah, baby!), will also be based upon Dent’s unpublished notes, outlines and fragments.

As a Doc fan since my uncle gave me three of the paperbacks in the late 60s*, I am excited to have the chance to read new Doc novels and I hope the series is a massive success.

However, some of the Savage novels Murray wrote in the 1990s suffered from excessive length. Doc works best as a short, lightning fast adventure tale. Frankly, a couple of the 90s novels were a trudge through the mud. Whether the word count was imposed by the publisher or was the author’s choice, I hope the new series gets back to the sleek, rocket ride that made up the best of Dent’s pulp yarns.

I’ll definitely be there when the first one rolls off the press next month.

*For those completest out there, my first three Doc novels were Dust of Death, The Flaming Falcons and The Other World.

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