Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

Odyssey Publications’ Doc Savage booklets

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014 in Doc Savage, Fanzines, Lester Dent, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Doc Savage: Reflections in BronzeOdyssey Publications was a small publisher of materials for pulp fans that existed in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Most may be aware of them due to publishing the short-lived fanzine Duende or perhaps the excellent “Duende History of The Shadow Magazine.”

But on an annual basis, they were also publishing small booklets put together by pulp historian Will Murray on Doc Savage.

These booklets are:

  • “Doc Savage: Reflections in Bronze” (1978)
  • “Doc Savage Supreme Adventurer” (1980)
  • “Secrets of Doc Savage” (1981)
  • “The Incredible Radio Exploits of Doc Savage, Vol. 1” (1982)
  • “Invincible Doc Savage” (1983)
  • “The Doc Savage Files” (1984)

Some of this material has been reprinted elsewhere, but not all to my knowledge.

“Reflections in Bronze” was released at Pulpcon 7 in 1978. It contained three articles. The first two are articles by Will Murray that originally appeared in another fanzine, The Doc Savage Reader #2-3 and #4, and were revised for this printing.  They are reprinted in the Writings in Bronze Vol. 1 (Altus Press, 2011). The third article is “Second Thoughts on Pat Savage’s Phiz” by Frank Hamilton, and I’m not aware of any reprint of it.

Before Lester Dent wrote the first Doc Savage novel, Street and Smith editor John Nanovic wrote a short story that set down the basis for Doc. This true first Doc story, “Supreme Adventurer,” was thought lost, but was found and published for the first time in the next volume, which came out at the 1980 East Coast Pulp and Paperback Convention. It has since been reprinted in Doc Savage volume 15 from Sanctum Books.

“Secrets of Doc Savage” contains four articles by Murray.  These are based on research he did in 1978 and 80 in Dent’s papers and manuscripts.  “The Untold Adventures of Doc Savage” looks at various unused plot ideas from Dent.  “The Wax Sower” takes a look at Doc villain Jonas Sown from The Screaming Man.  “The Fortress of Solitude”  gives us information on the original idea of the Fortress.  “The Forgotten Doc Savage” provides information on Richard Henry Savage, an early inspiration for Doc. Unless they were incorporated into other works, I’m not aware of them being reprinted other then the “Untold Advventures” in Writings in Bronze.

Doc Savage actually had two radio shows. The first one was in 1935, and had scripts by Lester Dent. Odyssey reprinted 14 of the 26 scripts in “Volume 1” in 1982. (Supposedly they did a second one in 1990, but I am uncertain of that.) All the scripts of this show have since been reprinted by Moonstone Books. The second show was done in 1942-43 and was based on the mystic-ruby version of Doc from the comic books, and written by Ed Gruskin who was writing those comics. “Invincible Doc Savage” reprints three of those scripts. Sanctum Books has reprinted one of those and two others in three of their Doc Savage volumes.

The final volume, “The Doc Savage Files,” reprints materials taken from Lester Dent’s notebook. This includes character outlines of Doc and his aides, notes on Doc’s trilling sound, and what drew Doc and his aides together. I am also not aware of this work being reprinted elsewhere.

While hard to find, these works are still out there. I wish they all would be reprinted and made available to current Doc fans.