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Capt. Hazzard, overlooked Doc Savage clone

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, January 13, 2014 in Ace, Comics, Doc Savage, Hero Pulps, New Pulp, Pastiche, Pulps, Secret Agent X
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Capt. Hazzard, overlooked Doc Savage clone

Capt. HazzardAmong original pulp heroes, Capt. Hazzard is sadly a one-hit wonder, and is one of the most blatant Doc Savage clones.

Published by Ace Magazines, he got only one issue of his own magazine in 1938. With a novel titled “Python Men of the Lost City,” it even sounds like a typical Doc story.

A second story was written, but with the magazine canceled, Paul Chadwick, the author, revamped it and turned it into a Secret Agent X story. This story, “Curse of the Crimson Horde,” didn’t seem like a typical Secret Agent X story. And now we know why.

So, who is Capt. Hazzard? He is an adventurer, with dark hair and blue-gray eyes. Blinded as a youth when his parents were murdered, his eyesight is restored by a new surgical procedure. But he has a scar over his left eye.

While blind, he had developed a mild form of ESP.

Operating out of Hazzard Labs in Long Island, he assembled a group of people to work with him, which include Dr. Martin Tracy, surgeon; Professor Washington MacGowen, physicist; Tyler Randell, inventor and pilot; and Jake Cole, cowboy. They were joined by William Crawley, reporter.

Despite lasting only one issue, other authors have reused him. Lin Carter has him make cameo appearances in his Prince Zarkon series, indicating he had married Pat Savage. Wayne Reinagel used him briefly in his Pulp Heroes series, indicating he’s a love interest for his Pat Savage pastiche, Pam Titan, but that he retired from crime fighting after being hurt in a bomb attack that killed some of his associates.

And more importantly, Ron Fortier of Airship 27 revised and revamped the character, putting out revised versions of his two original novels, and adding new novels as well. He has made some changes, such as giving Hazzard a full name of Kevin Douglas Hazzard and a pencil-thin mustache. The problems he found was in part due to Chadwick, who was better at writing detective stories (like Wade Hammond and Secret Agent X), trying to do an adventure story and failing.

Airship 27’s first volume is a revamp of the first story, “Python Men of the Lost City.” Like most Doc stories, they are approached by a girl looking for her lost father. Fortier fixed this story by filling in plot holes and adding chapters to make it work better.

The next volume, by Fortier and Martin Powell, is “Citadel of Fear.” An original story, it has Hazzard and company go up against a criminal mastermind called the Green Dragon, who has a hidden fortress in the Rockies.

Capt. Hazzard: Cavemen of New YorkFor the third volume, Fortier turned the second Capt. Hazzard novel, which had been turned into a Secret Agent X story, back into a Capt. Hazzard story. Retitled “Curse of the Red Maggot,” Hazzard and associates are in the South Seas dealing with a threat caused by a heart-shaped, red pearl. A possible female associate is introduced.

Fortier then came out with another new story, “Cavemen of New York.” New York is threatened by freezing snow and cavemen, which Hazzard and friends must put a stop to.

I keep hoping a fifth volume will come out, but have not heard.

Now, if you want to read the original first story, it is available out there in reprints. I believe an issue of Adventure House‘s “High Adventure” reprinted it, and “The Adventurers” from Black Dog Books reprints it along with stories of other Doc clones.

Comic Books

There has been some work with Capt. Hazzard in comics. Ace Comics actually adapted the published Capt. Hazzard story to comics. In Sure-Fire Comics #1, the first story of Flash Lightning is based on that first Capt. Hazzard story. Which is funny, because there is no relationship between the two characters.

I do recall hearing talk of a Capt. Hazzard comic around 1993 or 1994, but nothing came of it.

Ron Fortier has also spoken of doing a Capt. Hazzard comic. As he’s been doing pulp comics through Red Bud Studios (All Pulp Comics #1 and 2), I figured something would happen, but not yet.

So there you have it. Another interesting Doc Savage clone. Check him out, as the character is pretty interesting.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the great write – up. Wanted to mention that there is an audio book version of our first Hazzard book, PYTHON MEN OF THE LOST CITY with the second CITADEL OF FEAR, currently being recorded.

    • Totally forgot about the audio book versions.

  2. Ron always makes everything that much better!