Do you like Doc Savage?

I sure do! Just search my blog for the Doc
Savage tag. In fact, I’ll spare you the trouble of a search and show you the
coolest thing I ever found: 

It’s a Super-8 “home movie” made by some kids in 1967 who entirely acted out the Doc Savage novel “Fear Cay.”

In fact, here’s a
heresy: I think the Will Murray Doc Savage revival novels are the best the
character has ever been, because back in the 1930s, Street & Smith always
hobbled the series with rules like no returning antagonists, no continuing
stories, no crossovers or worldbuilding references, no reference to current
events or politics, and so on. The Murray series has returning enemies,
continuing stories, call outs to events (for instance, it tells where Doc and
the rest were during the destruction of Pearl Harbor), references and crossovers
(there is one where Doc goes to King Kong’s Skull Island and another where he
meets the Shadow), and they’re even doing daring things like writing a solo
novel with each of Doc’s sidekicks. The solo novel about Doc’s cousin Pat is
dynamite, incidentally. The Will Murray New Adventures of Doc Savage reminds me
of the excellent new Netflix Voltron series: this is what it should have
been the first time

The thing that I like best about Doc Savage
stories is that they have a weird horror element. A bizarre gas eats people’s
eyes; spectral, nightmarish men in silver cloaks threaten business owners; a
musical note suddenly buzzes over every radio in town before one person is
mysteriously driven permanently insane. The best part is that in the end, the
mysterious happening or cause of death is revealed to be something totally
explicable and ordinary. There is no “real” supernatural in the world of
Doc Savage, so it’s like Batman mixed with Scooby-Doo. And almost always,
Doc did some minor thing one third of the way through the story that by the end
you’ve almost forgotten about, which turns out to crack the case. Combine that with a heaping helping of James Bond gadgets (like how Doc’s shirt buttons are made of thermite paste).

The best part about
Doc is the fact that the audience doesn’t have access to his thoughts at all
times. He’s slightly superhuman and kind of remote. He has extreme emotional
control. The only moments he shows stong emotion or has very human
moments of panic is when he has to perform or speak in front of crowds (like at
the start of Resurrection Day), his very real awkwardness around women (being raised entirely
by men to be a superman) or when one of his friends, his “brothers,” are
in danger.  I like stories, like the Shawshank Redemption, that are all
about the friendship, brotherhood, and camaraderie among men.