‘THE DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE’: 1933 – 1949 ARTIST: WALTER BAUMHOFER

Written by  on March 25, 2013 

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‘Doc Savage’ was a fictional character and an icon of the American pulp genre during the 1930’s and 40’s.He was created by the publisher Henry W. Ralston and his editor John L. Nanovic of ‘Street & Smith’ publications.Their comic-book – ‘The Doc Savage Magazine’,  ran for 181 issues in all, between 1933 to 1949.The brand/character ‘Doc Savage’ would later  diversify into other forms of media, making  its mark in radio and movies  (where ‘Doc’  was played by television’s ‘Tarzan’ – actor Ron Ely ).The  ‘Doc Savage Magazine’ – or to be more precise, its lead protagonist – Dr. Clark Savage Jr – first appeared on news-stands in March of 1933,  billed as : ‘The Man Of Bronze’ .The  artist Walter Baumhofer (aka ‘The King Of Pulps’) was the first person chosen to illustrate the comic-book series, but before he began, he was briefed  by an art-director as to Doc’s physical appearance and character traits.He was informed  that the man  he was about to draw/create was: “a Man of Bronze — known as ‘Doc’, who looks very much like Clark Gable”;  he was also told that ‘Doc’ was  so well-built that he gave the impression  not of size, but of power.Walter Baumhofer interpreted his boss’ vision to perfection (although ‘Doc’ did not actually resemble a blond Clark Gable, as it turned out!). Baumhofer’s ‘Doc Savage Magazine’ covers are colourful and dynamic and beautifully executed ; later in the 1960’s, the dashing adventurer would be re-created/interpreted by many other artists – most notably James Bama – who illustrated an incredible set of sixty-two covers for the Bantam paperbacks ‘Doc Savage’ series, beginning with ‘The Man Of Bronze’ first published in 1964 (Bama often used an actor by the name of Steve Holland – television’s ‘Flash Gordon’ 1954-1955  – as his model/inspiration for ‘Doc’); other illustrators to work on the series would  include Bob Larkin, Boris Vallejo and Joe Devito. The comic-book versions utilised such legendary scketchers as Jim Steranko, the Kubert Brothers, Neal Adams and Tony DeZuniga.Amongst ‘Doc Savage’ aficionados everyone has their own particular favourite artist, so I hope to feature some of the other illustrators depictions of the character in  later posts.

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House Of Retro/Gary Alston make no claims to the ownership of  the images appearing on this page.

Category : CAFFE RETRO