Doc’s pals

Long before there was the mop-topped Fab Four, there was the Amazing Five — Doc Savage’s five trustworthy pals in the fight against evil.

What better way to find out about them than to meet them as America did in March 1933? Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter of "The Man of Bronze," the first Doc Savage novel:

“The first of the five men was a giant who towered four inches over six feet. He weighed fully two-fifty. His face was severe, his mouth thin and grim, and compressed tightly, as though he had just finished a disapproving, ‘tsk! tsk!’ sound. His features had a most puritanical look.

“This was ‘Renny,’ or Colonel John Renwick. His arms were enormous, his fists bony monstrosities. His favorite act was to slam his great fists through the solid panel of a heavy door. He was known throughout the world for his engineering accomplishments, also.

Doc Savage and his Amazing Five

“Behind Renny came William Harper Littlejohn, very tall, very gaunt. Johnny wore glasses with a peculiarly thick lens over the left eye. He looked like a half-starved, studious scientist. He was probably one of the greatest living experts on geology and archaeology.

“Next was Major Thomas J. Roberts, dubbed ‘Long Tom.’ Long Tom was the physical weakling of the crowd, thin, not very tall, and with a none-too-healthy-appearing skin. He was a wizard with electricity.

“ ‘Ham’ trailed Long Tom. ‘Brigadier General Theodore Marley Brooks,’ Ham was designated on formal occasions. Slender, waspy, quick-moving, Ham looked what he was — a quick thinker and possibly the most astute lawyer Harvard ever turned out. He carried a plain black cane — never went anywhere without it. This was, among other things, a sword cane.

“Last came the most remarkable character of all. Only a few inches over five feet tall, he weighed better than two hundred and sixty pounds. He had the build of a gorilla, arms six inches longer than his legs, a chest thicker than it was wide. His eyes were so surrounded by gristle as to resemble pleasant little stars twinkling in pits. He grinned with a mouth so very big it looked like an accident.

“ ‘Monk!’ No other name could fit him!

“He was Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett Mayfair, but he heard the full name so seldom he had about forgotten was it sounded like.”