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  Doc Savage Volume 14 James Bama cover [Pulp Reprint] #5039



 
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Doc Savage
Volume 14, James Bama cover

The Man of Bronze's origin story is revealed in the classic Lester Dent novels that launched the superhero genre, in an extra-length volume commemorating the 75th anniversary of Doc Savage's pulp debut. First, in "The Man of Bronze", the mysterious death of his father leads Doc to the Central American republic of Hidalgo where they discover a lost Mayan empire in the mythical Valley of the Vanished. Can Doc defeat the Feathered Serpent and the Red Death and free King Chaac and the beautiful Princess Monja? Then, in "The Land of Terror", Doc Savage trails the murderous master villain Kar, who controls the deadly Smoke of Eternity, to prehistoric Thunder Island where Doc and his men fight for their very survival against terrifying dinosaurs. In honor of the Man of Bronze's 75th anniversary, this special commemorative edition features the classic color pulp covers by Walter Baumhofer, interior illustrations by Paul Orban, a never-before-published foreword and autobiographical essay by Lester Dent, and commentary by popular culture historian Will Murray.



Art Sippo Reviews "The Man of Bronze"
Review written and copyrighted by Dr. Art Sippo; used with permission

On a dark rainy night, a tattooed assassin perches on the top of a partially finished skyscraper searching for his victim through a telescopic sight. He spies what looks like a bronze statue in the office windows in another skyscraper several blocks away. But it is no statue. It is Dr. Clark Savage Jr. known to the world as Doc Savage, who just returned from his Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic. Doc Savage was a physical and mental marvel raised from infancy by scientists, educators and other experts to be a superman, a righter of wrongs, and the archenemy of evil. But while Doc was away, his father, Clark Savage Sr., had died of a mysterious disease that left bright red blotches around his neck. Now his team of five friends from the Great War - Monk, the ape like chemist, Ham the dapper Harvard lawyer, Long Tom the pale electrical wizard, Johnny the sesquipedalian archaeologist/geologist, and Renny the big fist ed engineer- came to console him and help him investigate his father's mysterious death. As Doc set up an ultraviolet lamp to reveal a hidden message his father left for him on a window pane a massive bullet shatters the glass! Doc and his men dive for cover. The adventure begins.
 
The Man Of Bronze, the first Doc Savage story, was published in March 1933. It started a long running series that has captured the imagination of adventure fans for almost 80 years. The series ranged from exotic adventures, to mysteries, to weird science, and even into the mystical. Originally conceived by John Nanovic and Henry W. Ralston, it was the writing skills of Lester Dent that brought Doc and his five aides to life. Several other authors would contribute to the Savage Sagas but always under Lester Dent's careful guidance. The stories all carried the byline of 'Kenneth Robeson' (except for "The Derelict of Skull Shoal", in the March 1944 issue that was attributed to Lester Dent). The characters Dent imagined have not only thrilled fans for eight decades, but inspired other writers in the adventure genre.
 
Doc and his aides go in search of a mysterious legacy hidden in the mountains of Central America that Clark Sr. bequeathed to his son. A lost tribe of Mayan Indians guards a fabulous secret in the Valley of the Vanished. But sinister forces led by the Son of Kulkulkan, the Feathered Serpent will go to any lengths to erase all trace of this legacy and make sure that neither Doc nor his aides remain alive to find it. A coalition of bandits, revolutionaries, and rebellious Mayan warriors stand against Doc and his five men. The villains are willing to use a plague known as the Red Death the same plague that killed Doc's father to eliminate anyone who stands in their way, even if they have to wipe out every man woman and child in the valley. Can even Doc Savage stop them?



Art Sippo Reviews "The Land of Terror"
Review written and copyrighted by Dr. Art Sippo; used with permission

Doc Savage's old chemistry tutor, Jerome Coffern, asked him to dinner to seek his help. While waiting for Doc to arrive, Dr. Coffern is assaulted and struck dead by a heavy led pipe. His attackers use an air pistol to fire a hollow metal capsule onto the body and a strange reaction ensues. The body along with the lead pipe and part of the sidewalk disintegrate into a vile cloud of gray ash. All that is left is Coffern's left hand and the wrist watch that Doc Savage gave him. When Doc arrives mere moments later, he finds this and he immediately sets out to avenge his teacher.

The evil mastermind Kar discovered an irresistible weapon: the Smoke of Eternity. It is a universal solvent that can destroy flesh, metal, even stone. Jerome Coffern knew the secret of this new weapon and was going to reveal it to Doc but he was brutally assassinated before he could. Now Doc and Kar begin a life and death struggle. They will battle to a standstill in New York and the body count rises as the stakes get higher.

Doc traces the secret of the Smoke of Eternity to a recent expedition to the Indian Ocean in which Jerome Coffern and another chemist, Gabe Yuder, were joined by adventurer Oliver Wording Bittman. Bittman was a friend of Doc's father who saved Clark Sr.'s life by killing an African lion on safari. The three men found a strange volcanic land they called Thunder Island studded with minerals unknown elsewhere on earth and harboring all manner of extinct monsters including dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and enormous mammals. This is the most foreboding place on Earth. Doc saved Bittman from Kar's henchmen and allowed him to join in the expedition back to Thunder Island. Gabe Yuder is the only one of the three that is unaccounted for and it seems that he is the villain Kar. Doc and his men travel to Thunder Island and confront danger on all sides, including a battle with a Tyrannosaurus Rex!

This is the second Doc Savage story in the original print order and it hit the newsstands in March 1933. It remains one of the best. Doc has not developed his code against killing at this point and he takes out several villains spectacularly. It should be noted that this story was on the newsstands the month before the movie King Kong which opened on 7 April 1933.


Art Sippo discovered Doc Savage in 1965 from the Bantam reprint of "The Land of Terror" given to him by his Aunt Helen who read them as a nurse during World War II. He was hooked and continued to collect the reprints until Bantam completed the series in 1990. Doc Savage became the inspiration for Art's career in medicine and he earned his Masters In Public Health from Johns Hopkins specifically because that was Doc's alma mater. Art is board certified in Aerospace medicine and Occupational Medicine. He served for 36 years in uniform including 14 years in the reserves, 12 years as a flight surgeon and medical researcher on active duty in the US Army, and 10 years in the Ohio Army National Guard as a hospital commander and assistant state surgeon. He currently works as a Emergency Room Physician and Medical Consultant in southern Illinois. Art has written several short stories and articles on Doc Savage that have been published in magazines and books. His lovely wife Kathy is his muse and his editor.


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