Clark Savage Jr., aka The Man of Bronze, was a hero of the pulps and one of the inspirations for Superman. Created by Lester Dent, his adventures were published under the alias Kenneth Robeson. Doc was skilled in almost every human endeavor, possessed fabulous wealth, and roamed the world with his five companions fighting evil with an array of super-scientific devices. George Pal directed a movie titled Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze starring Ron Ely.

Hero of a series of pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. Lester Dent, using the house name Kenneth Robeson, created the series and wrote most of the 180+ novels. He mixed mystery, fantasy, and humor into the monthly adventures, which set the standard for most pulp adventure fiction that followed it. "Doc Savage" magazine was first published in 1933 and introduced the "Man of Bronze" and his aides.

Doc's full name was Clark Savage, Jr. -- known to many as the "Man of Bronze" for his bronze-colored skin, hair, and eyes -- and there was pretty much nothing he couldn't do. His father and a group of scientists had basically raised him as an experiment, training his mind and body to absolute perfection. He had astonishing strength and a photographic memory. He was a master martial artist and expert with almost every weapon on the planet. He was also a master of disguise and even highly skilled at imitating other people's voices. He was a skilled physician, scientist, detective, and inventor, creating "mercy bullets" that put people to sleep and performing brain operations on bad guys to cure them of their criminal tendencies.

From his headquarters on the 86th floor of a famous New York City skyscraper (as well as his secret Hudson River hangar, stocked full of vehicles of all kinds, and his Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic), Doc kept an eye out for crime around the world. ably assisted by his amazing aides: 

  • Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett "Monk" Mayfair. A short, apelike brute, Monk was an industrial chemist who constantly feuded with...
  • Brigadier General Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks. A sharp-dressed attorney, Ham carried a swordcane coated in an anesthetic chemical.
  • Colonel John "Renny" Renwick. A construction engineer with a constant hangdog expression, Renny was a towering powerhouse with notably large, bony fists.
  • Major Thomas J. "Long Tom" Roberts. Tom was an electrical engineer who always looked a great deal sicker than he really was. 
  • William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn. An archaeologist and geologist, Johnny loved to show off his ridiculously overblown vocabulary. 
  • Patricia "Pat" Savage. Pat was Doc's cousin. She shared his coloration and some of his skills, and her love of adventure had her occasionally tagging along, though Doc tried to discourage her.

Doc fought a wide variety of characters, some mundane crooks, some world-conquering maniacs, but his arch-nemesis was John Sunlight, a powerful genius who sought to end the world's problems by taking over the planet entirely.

One of the great surprises you learn when you read these novels is how much fun they are. Really, a lot of pulp fiction was not very good or interesting. Lester Dent had adventure fiction figured down to a very precise formula, and that formula very rarely failed him. Doc Savage books are grand, thrilling adventures, and they're quick reads, too. 

One of the other big surprises? It turns out Doc Savage is really kind of a dull character. He doesn't talk very much, his quirks are really weird (when he's thinking really hard, for example, he emits a high-pitched trilling noise), and he doesn't seem to have much of a personality. This was probably a conscious decision on Dent's part -- Doc is a blank slate to allow the reader to imagine himself as the lead character of the stories. Besides, you didn't really need Doc displaying a lot of personality when you had Monk and Ham humorously sniping at each other in almost every story. 

If you can find some of the novels -- Amazon has several on the Kindle, and it isn't too difficult to find them in used bookstores -- pick a couple up and give 'em a try. 

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