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Dare Devlin, a new Doc Savage pastiche

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2017 in Doc Savage, Fu Manchu, New Pulp, Pastiche, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Dare Devlin, a new Doc Savage pastiche

'Dare Devlin: Supreme Adventurer'A new (kind of) Doc Savage pastiche is Dare Devlin: Supreme Adventurer by Dafydd Neal Dyar. His first appearance is in a new book from PULPlications, both hardback and paperback, along with a limited edition hardback with an extra story.

I say he is “kind of” new, as he’s based on Dyar’s prior pastiche work. Many years back he wrote a Doc pastiche who he named “Doc Wildman” (1978), using the “real” name of Doc as per Philip José Farmer. When he later did stories of this character, both in print and online, he decided to rename him “Doc Hazzard” (1988), based on the name of the obscure Doc pastiche Captain Hazzard. Now he has revamped his pastiche (and I believe reusing some of the original stories) as Dare Devlin. Not having read these earlier stories, I am not sure how the characters compare to each other.

As we see from this first work, Dare is clearly a match up with Doc, with certain various elements being changed, but the basic framework the same. Dare, or Darius Dungannon “Dare” Devlin, is the result of an extensive training program of his father, or more precisely, the organization his father heads, which was developed to produce peak human performance. This organization has been around for several centuries, and the existence of splinter groups lays the ground for potential enemies.

Devlin is over 6 foot, well developed physically, with copper (not red) hair, green eyes, and well-tanned skin. He is an expert in all fields, including medicine (yes, he’s a doctor and surgeon, but is not “Doc Devlin”). Unlike Doc, he has a different personality, being more outgoing and engaging. And he has a Van Dyke beard. There are some other differences between Doc and Devlin, but I’ll let you find them out.  I do get the feeling that some of the things in Devlin are meant to “fix” or maybe better explain some of the things seen in Doc, which I guess we should expect from a super Doc fan like Dyer.

He is aided by five associates, all of whom match up with Doc’s aides, though they differ in physical form and in ethnicity with some. Ham is now “Egg,” a rotund lawyer who is still a natty dresser. Monk is now “Pug,” a top chemist, and still a scrapper. Both have pets, but Pug has a macaw, and Egg has a English bulldog. As a flip, these two have naval ranks, though equivalent to Ham and Monk.

Rounding out the rest are “Tiny” instead of Renny, a giant Sikh electrical engineer. “Big Tom” instead of Long Tom, who is an aeronautical and structural engineer and Siamese. Unlike Doc’s aides, these two are former Marines instead of Army. And “Whitey” replaces Johnny, and is an albino. They all met during WWI, but in different circumstances. Devlin is a Naval Reserve captain, so maybe they all met in some naval operation?

Dare has a cousin, Cat Devlin, who has similar coloration of hair and color, who runs her own high-end salon. And, yes, carries a six shooter and wants to get in on the action.

Dare’s headquarters are located in the top floors of the Chrysler Building. Not a strange location, as some have claimed Doc was really located there and hints of being in the Empire State Building were but a red herring. There is a match with the Hildalgo Trading Company, and it’s connected to the Chrysler Building with an equivalent to the Flearun. In addition, on the opposite side of Manhattan, there is a large laboratory building, the Devil’s Workshop. There is a “crime college” equivalent in upstate New York, but no mention of an arctic fortress, though.

There is no “lost Mayan village” and its source of gold. Devlin has another source for his wealth. And we have a Dare Devlin Magazine in this “universe,” and we get hints that the stories it publishes are not totally accurate.

So far we have two stories of Dare Devlin. “Brain Wreck” is set during World War II. When soldiers are rounding up Japanese-Americans for internment, something happens to the soldiers that causes many to go crazy and kill one another. During this, two of the internees disappear: an elderly man and his daughter. The daughter shows up at Devlin’s office with a gift, asking for a debt to be paid. Turns out the old man was one of Devlin’s teachers, and he sets out to solve the mystery. Of course, his associates (except for Tiny and Big Tom) and cousin tag along and we find behind it all a certain Asian mastermind: the insidious Dr. Wu-Hanshu, with the Japanese military as another threat.

For those who got the limited edition hardcover, the bonus story is “Mechanized Death.” This one is set in the 1930s.

For more information about Devlin, check out DND’s article in Bronze Gazette #76, which gives a lot more background information on the character, as well as information that sets up possible future works. Hopefully we’ll see more.  Even if he converts his older stories, there is enough for several more volumes.