Jul 24 2008 7:57pm

SDCC: Doc Savage film announced

At a panel on Doc Savage, the pulp hero who inspired/was ripped off by the creators of Superman and Batman, among other creators of your favorite Golden Age comic book superheroes, long-time superhero movie producer Michael Uslan (who is also producing the upcoming Captain Marvel film) let slip that a new Doc Savage film adaptation is in the works.


I recently read panelist Anthony Tollin's reprints of some Man of Bronze adventures—for those who don't know, the moniker refers to Savage's awesome tan—and while I wasn't blown away by it as pop literature, I did see some obvious seeds of Superman, including the snow-bound Fortress of Solitude.

So here's hoping the new Doc Savage movie is an improvement on the first one, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze (1975), and the second one, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984).

(Joke. Kind of.)

Paul Howard
1. DrakBibliophile
I thought the first Doc movie was more tongue-in-check (about the time of the Batman TV series). Hopefully this one will be better.

However, they can leave out Doc's 'brain surgery' to 'cure' the Bad Guys.
Lou Anders
2. Lou Anders
How could you improve on the second one? Come on.
Lou Anders
3. Robotech_Master
I dunno. It's a little creepy, yes, but the stories are a product of their time. It's a little endearing to consider the optimism expressed in the idea that science can cure everything, even antisocial behavior.
Lou Anders
4. ClarkT
I still have this prejudice against this Doc Savage movie since it's the reason we lost Blackmask, the best of all the Public Domain ebook websites back in 05... Reasserting copyright after it's in the public domain is not cool, although apparently Doc Savage's copyright status was a little murky anyway.
will shetterly
5. willshetterly
I hope they actually make him a "man of bronze", a la the Bronze Buckaroo. Will Smith, maybe?
eric orchard
6. orchard
Speaking of all things pulpy, would someone at the con please ask Pixar what's up with Edgar Rice Burroughs movie?
Stephen Hunt
7. Stephen_Hunt
I quite liked the original Doc Savage movie, you know. It had a cheesy charm all of its own. I did see it at a young and impressionable age, though.
Kerry Kuhn
8. Kerry
I remember reading a ton of those books when I was a kid - my dad had a shelf overflowing with them. Never saw either of the movies mentioned by the OP, though.
Chris Meadows
9. Robotech_Master
Clark, BlackMask is back, and has been for a while (albeit sans Doc and Shadow) as (though redirects there too).

FYI, the Doc Savage and Shadow books never WERE in the public domain, and the BlackMask guy damn well knew it. He was trying to pull a fast one by asserting adverse possession (aka "squatter's rights")—claiming that he had been making productive use of the property rather than letting it lie fallow the way the owners were. However, the judge didn't buy it. He didn't get much support from the public domain book community, either. Writes David Rothman of, "The general consensus was that his legal position were shaky and that he chose the wrong fight, given the current laws. Obviously the judge agreed."

Apparently he came to his senses (or realized he couldn't afford to carry on a legal tussle with Condé Nast) and settled.
Chris Meadows
10. Robotech_Master
(What the heck is with the wonky URLs? I used proper BBCode format, I know I did.)
Paul Howard
11. DrakBibliophile
The problem Robotech (can't remember what your actual name is) is that the time period also showed us what evil people could do in the name of a greater good.

While Doc was a Good Guy, I can imagine what the Bad Guys could do with that 'Brain Surgery' even Bad Guys who thought they were doing it for the Good of Society/State/The People.

Paul Howard (The Book Loving Dragon)
Lou Anders
12. ArcLight
I will always love the Doc Savage movie as it was my introduction to the character. Without it I likely would never have picked up all the reprints, the comics, the new(er) novel, etc. And I wouldn't have been running two Buckaroo Banzai fan listings for the past...gosh...twelve years or so.

That said, I'd love it if they ditched the camp and made a 'real' Doc movie. And if they decide to go the blockbuster route and have lots of toy tie-ins, double-bonus!
Burpy Turtle
13. BurpyTurtle
I think that the Ron Ely version was 10 years after Batman was a TV series. But it really was dated and a typical 70s production. I saw it in VHS and the tape was low resolution and bleeding so not very good. Maybe it would be better in blue-ray. But probably not.

I did not know that Buckaroo Banzai was based on Doc Savage.

My grandfather has a lot of the old books. Are they readable or very dated and hard to get into?
Dave Bell
14. DaveBell
Buckaroo Banzai and Doc Savage, and a lot of other pulp heroes, didn't depend on being special in some super-hero way. They didn't come from another planet. They hadn't been bitten by a radioactive spider.

The Batman is probably in the same category, despite the costume. The Shadow we could argue about.

Is Biggles a pulp hero? A lot of what he does is within the range of documented, real, people. Although there's a bit of age slippage. Arguably, pulp characters don't age as mortal men do, but that's a genre convention rather than a special power.
Lou Anders
15. PulpFan
Batman is one many characters that are based on The Shadow because the Shadow was such an immensely popular and well selling character.

Most of what makes up Batman can be directly traced back to the Shadow. For instance, in the earlier Batman stories the character carried {and maybe even used} a gun - this was only changed to prevent the character from seeming too much like the Shadow. Even the very first Batman story was taken from a copy of The Shadow Magazine. Check out the full story here:
David Moldawer
16. Dave
@Robotech_Master Yeah, sorry about that, we're still in beta. I'll inform the proper authorities.
Steve Nagy
17. SteveNagy
BurpyTurtle ... they're readable if you don't mind being entertained. I still read one now and again when I want to just relax.

And the reprints from Nostalgia Ventures are going to let me complete my collection, as I missed a few double volumes back in the mid-80s. Some are even coming out with new material, and the original illustrations. Add in Will Murray's essays and they're well worth the time spent.

I'll certainly look forward to a new movie, hopefully treated with the same attitude as the last two Batman films.
Chris Meadows
18. Robotech_Master
I wonder if it would be possible to insist they get Philip Jose Farmer as a creative consultant? His execrable Doc Savage sequel novels notwithstanding, his Doc Savage biography sure shows some impressive research.
Torie Atkinson
19. Torie
@ Robotech_Master

You're not closing your brackets, that's all.

You have to do it like so:

(Replacing the braces with brackets, obviously.)

Just make sure to close all of your links and it will work.
C.D. Thomas
20. cdthomas
I expect showerings of praise and all love at *next* year's Comic con... during the 25th anniversary of TAOBBATED.

It will be nice to all the Blue Blazes together once again....
Chris Meadows
21. Robotech_Master
Torie, I did that.

For some reason all the bracketed /URLs got stripped out when I posted it.
Heather Massey
22. sfrgalaxy
Oh that's so swell! Thanks for that bit of news.

Wasn't Han Solo kind of based on Doc Savage? Is that conjecture or known fact?
Kip Williams
23. kiptw
BurpyTurtle, you mean the 60s-70s reprint books? I ask because I saw an actual 30s Doc Savage book (not a magazine) just this week, and before that I never had suspected they existed as such.

I loved the hell out of them in Jr. High - High School, and had quite a shelf of them. Then I got rid of the majority of those five minutes before they went up in value. I still have a few, and I can't seem to re-read them as avidly as I read them. Maybe because of being 50 when I tried it, maybe I just don't have time to read them at the breakneck pace they're meant for and have to snatch minutes here and there.

Individual quality can vary. The best were written by Lester Dent -- you can probably find a list of which "Kenneth Robeson" books he wrote at Wikipedia or some such.
Lou Anders
24. Jubla
I'll just weep now
Chris Meadows
25. Robotech_Master
Funny thing: in one of the "Infinite Earth" episodes of the Superboy live-action TV series, Ron Ely played an older Clark Kent, who had retired from being Superman.

So Ron Ely got to play both the Man of Bronze and the Man of Steel.
David Moldawer
26. Dave
I hope all you would-be DC Comics writers out there are paying attention. There are a lot of metals out there, let alone an entire other gender.

Man of Copper?

Woman of Lead?

Think about it...
Eric Tolle
27. ErictheTolle
I wonder if it would be possible to insist they get Philip Jose Farmer as a creative consultant? His execrable Doc Savage sequel novels notwithstanding, his Doc Savage biography sure shows some impressive research.

I hope not. the ability to do quality writing is far more important than the ability to do impressive geneology. Or rather, extensive research does not justify bad writing.
Lou Anders
28. Johnny Walker
I hope they actually make him a "man of bronze", a la the Bronze Buckaroo. Will Smith, maybe?

How about no? He's hardly physical perfection (and Doc would never have those ears!). Besides, a black Doc Savage? Noooooo!
Lou Anders
29. Darrell Granger
read those books looooooooooong time ago...loved them...they were very opened me up to reading along with comics,,,,so this character is very special to me....DON"T MESS IT UP!...get an unknown to play desiel as monk ( the xxx guy)there is so much potential here...if done right...DON"T focus on the origin story too much...focus on the characters....(villian sunlight)dont forget pat savage....ok the shadow could have been better...the old doc movie really tanked....(i still saw it!) stay away from that type of movie PLEASE!!!!!!!!!
Lou Anders
30. Kimmer
I grew up reading and collecting the Bantam edition Doc Savage--had 'em all--but sadly, gave them away when I incorrectly assumed that I had to grow up.

I recently discovered the 1930s reprints. It's been a kick reading "Man of Bronze" 30+ years after reading it the first time. I don't recall all the 1930s lingo in the Bantam edition. For those of you who have them both, did Bantam rewrite and update the original 1930 versions when they published them?

It would be great to have a great Doc Savage movie, but I'm not holding my breath. Don't think modern masses would appreciate him like I and other commenters do. Hope I'm wrong.
31. rogerothornhill
Wow, in all the Comicon coverage back around launchtime, I missed this thread entirely.

First response: YAHOO!

Second response: yeah, don't mess it up. Attach the right creative team to it and let them take their time developing it. And even though I've devoured a couple of dozen of PJF's books (including the wonderfully loopy Phileas Fogg one), he's not the right guy for this. The bio should be used as source material, though.

Third response: Don't dis the Banzai Institute for Biomedical Research, sirrah. You don't know what it's attached to.
Lou Anders
32. Trading Co
Robotech_Master wrote:
"FYI, the Doc Savage and Shadow books never WERE in the public domain, and the BlackMask guy damn well knew it. He was trying to pull a fast one by asserting adverse possession (aka "squatter's rights")—claiming that he had been making productive use of the property rather than letting it lie fallow the way the owners were."

With the background of this story being Lester Dent's elderly widow living in poverty and being completely cheated out of her husband's Doc Savage rights and value by those Conde Nasty "businessmen", it was a pity all the "Blackmask guy" could do was mess up their cashing in on a movie deal at that time (first person details are at one of his websites). Such is the present day corrupted copyright laws -- all twisted out of shape and purpose by Hollywood $$ buying legislation. (Just look at today's headlines about the U.S. Congress's latest multi-BILLION dollar heist. Enough said?)

So save your indignation for the REAL evil. If anyone NEEDS Doc's corrective brain surgery, those Conde Nasty guys do. As for the U.S. Congress and the rest of those slimy creatures infesting Washington D.C. -- I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit; it's the only way to be sure. -Aliens
Lou Anders
33. Captain Wow
I think if they wanna stay true to the success of reboots like Star Trek, Casino Royale and Dark Knight, they should go in this type of direction:

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