hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
This Yuletide, I wrote three stories! Each is well over a thousand words. Comments are screened; if you can tell me a story I wrote, I'll write something just for you. (One of the three I think should be rather obvious, and there are people on my flist who will read it and suspect me immediately.)

My author went above and beyond, folks: not only did I receive Doc Savage fic, not only did I receive Doc Savage Christmas fic, but I received TWELVE THOUSAND WORDS of Doc Savage Christmas CASEFIC, with Monk, Ham, and Pat helping Doc Savage save Christmas from Krampus, all of it in pulp-style short chapters! Thank you muchly, anonymous, for "The Shadow in the Snow!" I am well-pleased and delighted. And more people should read it!
hradzka: (doc savage bust)
Doc Savage is a 1930s pulp adventure character. I've been meaning to pimp his adventures more, but y'know, life happens, and now that Yuletide has rolled around I wish I hadn't been so remiss. Because Doc is my Yuletide perennial: my other Yuletide requests rotate, but I ask for Doc every year. It's not like I wish there were a big, active Doc Savage fandom; I just think it'd be neat to see a Doc fic once in a while.

You can read a quick precis of him here. In a very remarkable coincidence of which I am totally ignorant, someone has put a few of the 1930s pulp novels up online for what I feel certain must be a very brief time that probably coincides with Yuletide. The novels are being republished officially and under license, originally by Nostalgia Ventures and now by Sanctum Books, and you can buy the reprints here.

I am aware, however, that fandom likes things different from the things I like. So these are some things that might motivate fandom to write Doc.

Read more... )
hradzka: Cassidy, from Garth Ennis's PREACHER. (Default)
From Jess Nevins, who gave an interesting presentation on similar stuff more recently (lecture on physical culture and its expression in literature; MP3, well worth the time -- I'm a huge Doc Savage fan, but had no idea that Eugen Sandow, the father of bodybuilding, had inspired dime novels), an old but fascinating glimpse at crossovers and at RPF for pay, back in the day.

Crossovers involving the use of fictionalized versions of real people became common in the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century. Celebrities have often been used by authors in their stories, but before the growth of the news media in the 19th century these men and women were the products of folklore rather than reality. Dick Turpin appeared in William Ainsworth's Gothic novel Rookwood (1834) and in penny dreadfuls, but the Turpin used in those works was a heavily romanticized version which bore little relation to the real Dick Turpin. The growth of the newspaper in the 19th century allowed individuals other than heads of state to become internationally known, and allowed them to be used by authors as supporting characters in serial fiction. Thomas Byrnes (1842-1910) was appointed Detective Bureau Chief of the New York City Police Department in 1880, and over the next fifteen years Byrnes turned the N.Y.P.D. into a modern, professional police force, one widely admired for its efficiency. Byrnes became a celebrity during these years and was seen as the personification of modern policing. He was incorporated into at least eight different dime novel detective serials in the 1890s as "Superintendent Byrnes" or "Inspector Byrnes," the "Head of the New York City Police Department" and the man responsible for giving Nick Carter or Broadway Billy or Dave Dotson or Gideon Gault their orders. Theodore Roosevelt, during the years of his presidency, was almost as popular a subject for appearances in the dime novels, as was the internationally renowned strongman Eugen Sandow (1867-1925). A fictionalized version of the Russian terrorist Evno Azef (1869-1918) fought the mystic Sâr Dubnotal in the French pulp Sâr Dubnotal and Sexton Blake in the British story paper Union Jack, both in 1909. A fictionalized version of the Japanese spy Oka-Yuma appeared as the enemy of Nat Pinkerton in the German heldroman (dime novel) Nat Pinkerton, der König der Detectivs in 1910, as the villainous lead in a serial, "Oka-Yuma, Japanese Spy" in a Russian newspaper in 1911-1912, and as the enemy of Lukas Hull in the German heldroman Lukas Hull, Detektiv Abenteuer in 1921.
hradzka: (doc savage bust)
Warner Brothers is going in for a "long tail" project: they're setting up DVDs on Demand for obscure or less popular titles. There's not enough interest, probably, for a big release, but if you want it they'll make it and ship it to you. They've put up an initial selection of 150 films.

Among them: the 1975 George Pal film of DOC SAVAGE: THE MAN OF BRONZE.

You are doubtless saying, "Wow! I bet David ordered that instantly!" That is because you do not know anything about the movie. Lemme put it this way: in terms of doing right by its source material, George Pal's DOC SAVAGE: THE MAN OF BRONZE makes Joel Schumacher's BATMAN AND ROBIN look like Christopher Nolan's THE DARK KNIGHT. It was supposed to come out in '74, but got pushed to '75 because it was a *horrifying* stinker, and the studio wasn't interested in going bankrupt right away, thanks. The pieces were in place for it to be good: Ron Ely, who'd played Tarzan on TV, was a terrific choice for Doc, and the aides were well-cast, as I recall. (The guy who played Monk actually *looked* like Monk was supposed to look, and that's remarkable considering Monk looks like an ape that's been dressed and strategically shaved.) The filmmakers and studio, however, decided to camp it up. And -- there is good camp, and there is bad camp. Good camp would be the 60s BATMAN series. Bad camp would be Joel Shumacher, or the 1980s FLASH GORDON (Alex Ross's favorite movie in the world). DOC SAVAGE: THE MAN OF BRONZE is not good camp. Nor is it bad camp. It actually falls into the category of "worse camp." It's one of the most terrible movie adaptations ever, and the heartbreak it caused fans is legendary. No internet then, of course, so next to nobody ever heard anything about advance screenings. There were no warnings, just an eager purchase of a ticket followed by the crushing of all fannish hopes and dreams. Played out over, and over, and over again, in theaters across the country.

...yes, I ordered it anyway.
hradzka: (doc savage bust)
Photobucket


ON the lowermost floor of a skyscraper many blocks distant, the crimson-fingered man focused his glasses. He started counting stories upward. )
hradzka: (doc savage)
I was bumming around the web, as I do, when I saw possibly the single most awesome collectible I have ever seen. Maybe not for you, but for me, for my fandoms, this is my new Holy Grail. I did not even know it existed until today.

It is a bronze statue by Joe Devito of Doc Savage fighting a python.

This is it.

It seems to me to be based on one of the Bama covers -- THE THOUSAND-HEADED MAN, maybe? But HOLY CRAP is that gorgeous. Graphitti Designs put it out as a limited-as-hell edition in the 1990s, which was before I was plugged into or even cognizant of the collectibles market. And it is, I think, the single most beautiful collectible sculpture I have ever seen. For anything of which I have ever been a fan. I used to think that the Randy Bowen bust of Doc Savage -- also Graphitti; there was an actual bronze run that I could not even remotely afford at the time -- was my number-one Doc Savage want. NO MORE. THIS IS NOW THE HEAD OF THE LINE.

The killer: I immediately started trying to find one, to see how many organs I would have to sell whether I could sell Girl Scouts into slavery for one any were out there, and I found out that somebody had managed to buy one last year. At MegaCon. In Orlando.

Which I seriously considered going to, but then said, "Nah."

AUGH. I would have pounced on that thing IN A HEARTBEAT.

Great score for the guy who got it, though. Here are some pictures of his. AND IF I EVER FIND OUT WHERE HIS HOUSE IS --

Um. Excuse me, I have to go roll around in fannish jealousy for a while.

(Last Dragon*Con, however, I did get Andy Runton to draw me Owly as Doc Savage. With Wormy and Scruffy as Ham and Monk, respectively. This is good for the soul.)

ETA: Oh, God. No sooner do I say the Randy Bowen Doc bronze is no longer my holy grail, then one shows up on Ebay.

Folks, excuse me, I'll be over here looking at my budget and whimpering.

Also ETA: I called Graphitti Designs and asked 'em about the piece -- I knew they didn't have any, but I was curious about its history and numbers. Turns out it's not actually a bronze; it's coldcast porcelain with a very good faux bronze finish. They sold out quickly, because Graphitti only made 295 of them fifteen years ago. Which means I am never, ever, *ever* going to find one. Because I can't imagine any Doc Savage fan in his right mind giving one up. Sigh.
hradzka: (doc savage)
Looking through Doc novels for Pat's appearances, I refound a sweet bit in THE BLACK, BLACK WITCH. Doc's adventuress/entrepreneur cousin Pat Savage and his aides Monk, Ham, and Johnny have been captured by the bad guys, and the following conversation ensues.

Monk looked at Pat and said, “They're going to kill us.”

Pat nodded. “They'll figure,” she said, “that getting rid of us will put out the fire.”

“But it won't,” Monk said.

“Not the fire in their consciences anyway,” Monk muttered. “But that's not going to stop them.”

Pat stared at the floor, her face tight with emotion. Her lips worked. She cleared her throat. “It was my stupidity that got me here,” she said. “But I'm not sorry.”

Monk frowned. “What are you talking about?”

Pat looked at the floor again and had some trouble getting the words to come. She finally stared at Monk, Ham and Johnny. “I don't think I could take it if you three were murdered,” she said. “So I'm glad I'm here.”

“You're crazy,” Monk said quietly. “But it's a nice speech, anyway.”


Awwwww. (This is the story where it's revealed that one of Doc's aides secretly taught Pat ancient Mayan, which is the language they use to communicate secretly among themselves. Nobody ever fesses up, but my bet is on Monk.)
hradzka: (doc savage)
More Doc-pimping. (Although Doc, a famously upright man, would raise an eyebrow at the term.)

Here's a bit from THE MAN OF BRONZE, the first Doc Savage novel. Doc has called his five friends together to discuss the future. Meanwhile, a sniper lies in wait, ready to blow Doc away if he can just get a good shot into Doc's headquarters, which lie on the 86th floor of a prominent New York skyscraper:

Doc Savage's strange golden eyes roved over the assembled men... )
hradzka: (doc savage)
In an age of superheroes, not nearly enough people know about Doc Savage.

Doc is one of the greatest adventure characters of all time. He was created in 1933 by Henry W. Ralston and John L. Nanovic, and his adventures were published in Doc Savage magazine for the next sixteen years. Most of his adventures were written by Lester Dent, under the pen name of Kenneth Robeson, and Dent really deserves the lion's share of credit for Doc's success. Doc was a proto-superhero who broke ground for the genre, and for so many major characters that came after him that if he were reintroduced to the public today in a major feature film, most of the potential audience would consider him a rip-off.

You think I'm kidding?

He's a wealthy man who dedicated his life to fighting crime, with the help of his aides, whom he treats like family -- they're all he has. He is a physical and mental marvel who travelled the world, learning skills from masters of every field, from Tibetan lamas to martial artists of the East, and he supplements his natural abilities with an array of gadgets, from grappling hooks to drug-tipped darts, all of which he keeps on his person in a specially-designed article of clothing. He helps people for no reward. When he wants to get out of the city, he goes to the Arctic, where he keeps a hidden base known as the Fortress of Solitude. Oh, and his real first name is Clark.

Any of this sound familiar?

more about Clark Savage, Jr. )

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