Doc Savage Returns at Dynamite with Chris Roberson and Bilquis Evely

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Dynamite Day concludes with the most excellent news that Chris Roberson and Bilquis Evely will be the new creative team for a Doc Savage series starting in December. With covers from John Cassaday and – of course – Alex Ross – the series will start off in 1939 and then slowly start moving towards the present day.

savage1 Doc Savage Returns at Dynamite with Chris Roberson and Bilquis Evely

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on his Tumblr, you’ll know that Roberson is a very big Doc Savage fan indeed. He says of the project:

In the course of my comics career, I’ve been lucky enough to work on nearly every character and series that mattered the most to me growing up.

Doc Savage is one of the final characters left on my bucket list.  Growing up in the 70s, it was impossible to miss the Doc Savage reprints in every bookstore and on every newsstand, with those striking covers.  Doc quickly became and remained my absolute favorite of all of the pulp heroes, and the stories of Lester Dent were a huge influence on my own writings

A pulp character trained by scientists to be near-superhuman physically and mentally, Doc Savage first appeared in 1933, although the character never moved into the 1940. This series will finally push beyond the original run and see what becomes of the character as he moves forwards into new decades, and new adventures.

Drawing the series will be Brazilian Bilquis Evely, whose work you can get a look at over on her DeviantArt page.

For more details on the book, CBR have an interview with Roberson about his plans for the series.

Comments

  1. Alan Morrison says:

    We all know Roberson’s Doc Savage is going to crossover with JMS’ Twilight Zone book at Dynamite. Those two are dying to work together.

  2. Dave Doty says:

    Small Correction: His series lasted all the way to 1949, although it dropped gradually from monthly to quarterly by the end.

  3. johnrobiethecat says:

    What is it with hero books being so retro these days by these publishers . Have an imagination outside te-imagined Golden Age or Silver Age/ like characters,,,. Doc Savage? The Shadow? Black Beetle (yeah know thats new -the idea isn’t) Captain Midnight? in 2013? Also the cheap Alan Moore wannabe books- Sidekick, etc…Its like the imagination has disappeared.
    And it’s dorky.

  4. My response is exactly the opposite of johnrobiethecat above. I’m glad to see Doc Savage will be back soon and joining the Dynamite stable with other pulp heroes. I appreciate that Dark Horse and Dynamite, and to a lesser extent IDW, have been working with these classic concepts (and newer concepts with pulp roots like The Black Beetle). They have a much smaller audience than in their prime, for sure, but they’re great fun when done well. Nice to see a talented guy like Roberson involved.

  5. Shawn Kane says:

    I’m looking forward to this. As far as originality goes, it’s all in the execution for me.

  6. I’m sure all 4000 fans of Doc Savage will be thrilled about this.

    I like Chris Roberson a lot, but for most readers that won’t be enough to try Doc Savage for the umpteenth time.

  7. Rich Harvey says:

    “I’m sure all 4000 fans of Doc Savage will be thrilled about this.”

    I’m sure all 4,000 Batman fans were thrilled (or not) when DARK KNIGHT RETURNS debuted. Most people can’t seem to remember when a character as famous as Batman was NOT a top-selling title.

    What difference does it make if there aren’t many Doc Savage fans? A book like this might make some new ones. If it doesn’t, it’ll be canceled.

    I can’t understand how everyone complains that there are too many Batman and X-Men titles every month, and then throws their hands up in frustration when a non Bat-title appears.

  8. Synsidar says:

    I can’t understand how everyone complains that there are too many Batman and X-Men titles every month, and then throws their hands up in frustration when a non Bat-title appears.

    Doc Savage isn’t an original character. People who are looking for original characters and ideas shouldn’t be reading superhero comics, perhaps, but how important should name recognition be? The number of fans who have fond memories of Doc Savage and are interested in reading comics stories about him is probably too small to guarantee that the series will be profitable.

    It’s too easy to think that Dynamite will use virtually any existing character with measurable name recognition over an original one, because the idea of spending money on promoting the original character and its creators is too painful to contemplate.

    SRS

  9. johnrobiethecat says:

    “It’s too easy to think that Dynamite will use virtually any existing character with measurable name recognition over an original one, because the idea of spending money on promoting the original character and its creators is too painful to contemplate.”

    Well said, and good points by the others.

    I see why tcompanies like Dtynamite, Boom, Valiant & Dark Horse are seriously embracing superheroes big-time this year. ( Add to that, a lot of that talent is traveling out trying tother places)If well done with integrity, it has a good shot to beat Image in that corner of market share. Superherores are notl there is to pursue in the medium but its pretty clear a good superhero yarn suits the form and can make dent in the readership if done well with some sort of integrity and snap . Image really just can’t make a good superhero book. They sucked at it from 1992 to present day,the founders realizing they are just average in the scheme of things when Marvel & DC aren’t around and fading out into the shadowlands of comics-or just embracing horror. That’s why Image is disowning superheroes now and finding noir and sci-fi in everything they can to look like the HBO of comics . Keeping Invincible on as the Zombie guy’s vanity book while Savage Dragon tanks big time after staying on the stage much too long.

    It’s actually hard to do superheroes well .But mining Capt Midnight? Doc Savage? I see why some readers (those who can even remember that era or seing it on a documentary) are fond of those times but they are clearly too dated to work like James Bond or Batman does today. The characters were not designed or reshaped to live past the 30’s , 40’s & 50’s…Thinking that giving it a reboot with modern techniques and themes will make it interesting again like Batman is is just self delusion and indulgence. Refitting characters like that has just been a sad trend for many years, sometimes they just have a sack on their head or just a deviant in a colored cape.. If you make your character goofy and Charlton-like from the start, its throw-away and lacks mystery to the reader.Its OK to be inspired by that time or repurpose it but make it a bit more natural. It seems like a cheap Charlton or Timely Comics era character is all they can think of.Just be original and go for it. This stuff is wasting paper and pixels.

  10. @Rich Harvey,
    Boy, you added a lot to my post that’s not in there. My comments have nothing to do with Batman or any other facet of the comics business. It has to do with Doc Savage.

    In the time I’ve been a comics fan since the late 1970’s, Doc Savage has been tried and tried again, and again, and again. Each time it sticks around for a little bit, and gets cancelled due to poor sales. This is the second try on Doc just in the 7 years my store has been open. DC Comics, the #2 (sometimes #1) comics publisher tried last time, with big name creators, and Doc STILL couldn’t find a lasting audience.

    So, I don’t hold out much hope for Doc Savage Comics Revival #x to do any better.

    Like I said above, I like Chris Roberson’s writing. I’ll give Doc a shot as a reader, but I’m gonna order light on #1 and have a quick trigger finger for later issues.

    Because past performance sometimes DOES indicate future outcome.

  11. I won’t argue that Doc Savage has a record of success as a comics property, but this is just wrong:

    “This is the second try on Doc just in the 7 years my store has been open. DC Comics, the #2 (sometimes #1) comics publisher tried last time, with big name creators, and Doc STILL couldn’t find a lasting audience.”

    Are Paul Malmont and Howard Porter big name creators? Porter is closer, but to me he is a negative rather than positive. They did the opening arc (1-4) and then the book lacked a regular writer or artist until it was canceled with number 17. The book was also perceived as mediocre to poor in quality until J.G. Jones improved it just before the First Wave line died.

    DC failed with Doc, but they also mismanaged the book and First Wave as a whole.

  12. An addendum in case Brian J. was referring to the main FIRST WAVE series without Doc’s name in the title (since it did have more prominent creators). You might remember FIRST WAVE was badly delayed and poorly received. It was supposed to introduce the characters but fell way behind the spinoff books. The release schedule for FIRST WAVE:

    6 First Wave March 2011
    5 First Wave January 2011
    4 First Wave November 2010
    3 First Wave September 2010
    2 First Wave June 2010
    1 First Wave May 2010

    The entire line was canceled about the time #6 was released.

  13. Hardy Gilbert says:

    Brian, as a comics fan since the late 1970’s, you know that most comic books PERIOD stick around for a little bit and then are cancelled due to weak sales. If you go back and look at previous series, the ol’ guy hasn’t fared that poorly. His previous DC run lasted, what, almost three years? I think he then had a slew of minis launched through Innovation and then Dark Horse. Sure, there are long periods of inactivity, but he IS a licensed character, not a comic IP, so I’m pretty sure that is a determining factor in both publishing regularity as well as profitability.

  14. johnrobiethecat says:

    Can’t add much to this conversation but interesting to read, I’d rather read reprints of original Doc Savage on nice paper with crisp color than the 5th re-imagining of it.

    I think of these type of books as the gatekeepers indulgence, Hopefully judging by the store closings I’ve seen, retailers realize that they have less times at bat than the publishers who indulge themselves . If they under order or not order another book called Doc Savage or Captain Midnight , its a good thing because it’s devoid of creative imagination. Re-imagining old material and characters with new techniques with a modern twist is pretty cliche and a oft-used fallback for publishing gatekeepers to explain average sales while still getting some slim margin. “The kids don’t get Doc Savage these days” or the father of the kids, or the grandfather of the kids…Just don’t order these books, it’s creative bankruptcy.

  15. johnrobiethecat says:

    Add to that, single issues that don’t sell are also free ads for the trades or digital which the retailer of that store may not get a cut of while amazon, digital and online ordering are the mix. One 7×10 book on a rack is like a little poster for Dynamite for 3 months. If it sells, great,…if not they have someone showing their sizable ad in a live store for a Doc Savage fix down the line (being the most recent in the que) Retailers surely must notice that. Publishers usually can count on at least breaking even and getting profit somewhere while the same set of stores play their free art galleries. That must suck. Be interesting to see how the retailers see that side of things. Being the street ad booths of comics. I would be picky ordering too.

  16. Hardy Gilbert says:

    “I’d rather read reprints of original Doc Savage on nice paper with crisp color than the 5th re-imagining of it.”

    As a brief aside, and specific to Doc Savage, which originals are you referencing? I could be mistaken (God knows I usually am…), but I don’t think Doc started making regular comic appearances until the 1970s, with the bulk of them from the mid-Eighties on….

  17. johnrobiethecat says:

    “I don’t think Doc started making regular comic appearances until the 1970s, with the bulk of them from the mid-Eighties on….”

    No expert on Doc Savage , thought he had his own comic line in the 40’s starting from a magazine. And he’s been this retro pastiche figure ever since. And related books like that-, Johhny Quest, Tom Strong…Some people love it I’m sure like there’s a the retro pulp audience and horror/ noir one. It all feels regurgitated to me and I don’t buy em. I suppose Jules Verne comics will be next back-to-the past thing , They’re small companies because they think small. Just milking this audience at the margins with friendly retro faces. They could never do this if retailers were’nt their free ad space, If retailers went out of business, these guys would really have to take out ads to promote “Doc Savage” The Black Bat” and so on and it would be laughable to the public. I say nix freely promoting these things at the store level. Its a bad habit, they had their time. As bad and awful as Geoff Johns , Synder & Bendis projects are, at least its a contemporary idea on some level – like cynical marketing campaigns for superhero mash-ups. Everybody knows its junk but these keep businesses going. I just figure smaller comics publishers would try something else in that space, not Captain Midnight and the like. Its just so arch-conservative and unneeded.

  18. Rich Harvey says:

    The owners of these classic characters have plenty of interest in keeping them around, and if the occasional licensed comic does the trick, more power to them. It’s always fun to see the old characters come back, and there’s plenty of creativity bouncing around when you try and take them in new directions. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it misses.

    Hardy Gilbert is right on the money. I’ve been saying this for years. How many comic books actually stick around for 700 issues? Perhaps most comic fans are too short-sighted (or stupid) to notice, but hundreds of comics get canceled after 50 issues. Thousands of television shows get canceled after one season or half a season, and it often has nothing to do with the quality of the show. MARRIED WITH CHILDREN because one of the longest-running sitcoms on television, and I hardly think that proves it was high-brow entertainment.

    Retailers may not like ‘em, but to heck with the retailers. No one told you to go into the funny book business.

  19. I have to say I’ve enjoyed reading the original Doc Savage novels that have come out in recent years (published by former DC colorist Anthony Tollin) – in addition to The Shadow, The Avengers and others. They’re not all great by any means but interesting, entertaining and fun.

    Also I like Chris Roberson. But I’ve seen so many revivals of Doc Savage over the years, not sure I care about reading another one. Besides I think Doc works best in prose, not comics. The comics are inferior to the books. (both the original ones and the Will Murray written ones)

  20. JC Lebourdais says:

    No big deal, they want to keep the trademark alive in case someone picks it up for a movie 25 years down the line.
    Would help if they could tell good stories though.

  21. Doc Savage is the archetype of everything that makes up the definition of the term super hero. Without Doc Savage there would be no Superman and Batman.

    So he deserves his own series every bleedin’ chance it’s offered.

    So suck it up and enjoy the ride. I owe everything to Doc Savage and his Amazing Five. I started reading those Bantam paperbacks ever since I was in the first grade because the goddamn Hardy Boys were too boring to read.

    Plus you see great success being made with the Shadow over at Dynamite – so it would be no brainer for them NOT to see if lightning could strike twice with Doc Savage.

    I Wish Roberson all the luck in the world with this project. It will certainly be a hundred times better than that abomination that DC put out with “First Wave” a few years back.

    AND – just for the sake of triviality – there were a good handful of Doc Savage manuscripts that didn’t get to see the light of day due to Lester Dent’s untimely death that would have propelled the character into the 1950’s – one such novel was the Red Spider that had Doc contributing his part during the Cold War and Bantam had commissioned writer Will Murray to finish up original manuscripts left unattended by Dent and were published as a series of new novels in the early ’90’s.

    I still have them lying around somewhere.

    ~

    Coat

  22. Rich Harvey says:

    Cary … I appreciate the enthusiasm, but have to correct you on a couple of things.

    1) THE SHADOW was the main inspiration for BATMAN. We knew this long before Tollin reprinted “Partners of Peril”, along with Will Murray’s informative article demonstrating how this particular Shadow novel was basically lifted entirely for the first Batman yarn. Many Doc fans credit Savage with the inspiration for EVERYTHING … it just ain’t so … but he was pretty influential.

    2) I agree that Lester Dent’s death was untilmely. but it had NOTHING to do with the cancellation of DOC SAVAGE. Street & Smith (later sold to Conde Nast) decided they were getting out of the pulp business entirely in 1949. The Shadow, Doc Savage, Detective Story Magazine … anything that was a pulp published by them got canceled by them. Dent didn’t die until well into the 1950’s.

    Lester Dent left quite a bit of material behind, which Mrs. Dent left to Will Murray, but a great deal of it was stuff from the early 1930s. Dent wrote fifty percent of THE THOUSAND-HEADED MAN (a classic Doc novel), before starting over from scratch with different characters. He abandoned the second half of another Doc novel, before rewriting it. Decades later, Will Murray realized that a newly-written narrative bridge would cement these two fragments together and voila, a NEW Doc Savage novel by Lester Dent, decades later.

    There were several outlines and stuff, but material that Dent filed away, and (in all likelihood) stuff that he would never revisit.

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