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Franchise / Doc Savage

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After the commercial success of The Shadow, the Street & Smith publishing company decided to try putting out another single-character Pulp Magazine in the same vein, but not too similar. Lester Dent was chosen as the primary author on the strength of a Shadow fill-in novel he'd been asked to write (much later adapted by that series' author as The Golden Vulture). Writing under the name "Kenneth Robeson", Dent created one of the classic pulp characters, who ran in his own magazine from 1933 to 1949. A total of 181 issues appeared. The stories were reprinted as paperback novels in The '60s, complete with stunning cover art by James Bama, and became best-sellers all over again.

Clark "Doc" Savage, Jr. was raised from birth to be the pinnacle of human physical and mental achievement, and to use his gifts for the good of all mankind. (This being the pulps, pursuing that goal largely meant neck-punching criminals and warlords.) Doc was often called the Man of Bronze because of his well-tanned skin, coppery hair and gold-flecked eyes. He was a near-giant in stature, yet so perfectly formed that people only noticed his size when comparing him to nearby objects.


But despite Doc's amazing prowess in science and athletics, he was still only one man. So he gathered a team of five companions, each expert in their own field and totally dedicated to Doc's cause. These men were:

  • Brigadier General Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks, Harvard-trained lawyer.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett "Monk" Mayfair, one of the world's foremost chemists.
  • Colonel John "Renny" Renwick, leading engineer known for his oversized fists.
  • William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn, geologist and archaeologist.
  • Major Thomas J. "Long Tom" Roberts, electrical wizard.

Doc's lovely cousin Patricia Savage sometimes joined their adventures, but was never considered a core member of the group.

Doc Savage has also had a Radio Drama, more than one Comic Book series including First Wave DCU, and a rather campy movie in 1975. He was a big influence on later pulp and comic book superheroes, including Superman (who borrowed, among other things, Doc's Arctic Fortress of Solitude), Batman (who took on the renaissance man traits and the utility belt), Indiana Jones (Savage was a major influence on the archetype of the adventurous globe-trotting pulp hero) and maybe even the Fantastic Four (go here for more information). A new movie is being prepped by Shane Black of Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3 fame, with Dwayne Johnson as the titular Man of Bronze, who is thrilled at the opportunity to play "A F*CKING HILARIOUS WEIRDO!"


Tropes found in the Doc Savage series include:

  • Action Girl: Pat Savage is one of the Trope Makers in modern fiction. Several Dark Action Girls also appear as henchmen.
  • Adipose Rex: King Udu of Kokoland in Land of Long Juju is over 90 years old and morbidly obese. Doc dons a fat suit to impersonate the king and lead his people into battle.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Lord of Lightning's base in the 2010 DC Comics series.
  • Animal Assassin: Venomous centipedes are used in The Fantastic Island.
  • Arrowgram: In the opening chapters of Land of Long Juju, a threat is tied to the shaft of a spear and hurled into Renny's tent.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • Most of the physical science at least seems plausible... but the novels' include kangaroo t-rexes. Early paleontologists did believe T-rexes hopped, because a kangaroo is the only living biped with a long tailnote , but the theory was on its way out by the time the novels were written.
    • Inverted to Accidentally Correct Writing in The Other World, which has T-rexes walking around with upraised tails as per modern understanding, but which went against the prevailing theory of the time.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: He had a freaking pneumatic tube to get from his HQ to his hangar on the river.
  • Banana Republic: Hidalgo and British Hidalgo.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: In The Annihilist, Doc escapes from the police by going into the bathroom and climbing up the sheer air shaft to the roof.
  • Beneath the Earth: Subterranea in Murder Melody.
  • Big Applesauce: Doc's primary headquarters were implied (but never firmly established) to be in the Empire State Building, and the stories often had a large section set in New York City before going off to remote corners of the world.
  • Black Shirt: In the Doc Savage: Man of Bronze mini-series from Millenium Comics, Doc and his aides stop Silver Shirt bundists from dropping a bomb on New York from a zeppelin.
  • Bodyguard Babes: John Sunlight's Amazonian bodyguards, Giantia and Titania.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Captured criminals were sent to Doc's "Crime College" in upstate New York, where their criminal tendencies were removed by some sort of brain operation (it was popularly believed that this was possible at the time) before they were returned to society with a new set of productive skills.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: 'Long Tom' Roberts got his nickname when he used an ancient cannon - known as a Long Tom - that had been on display in the town square to successfully defend a town during World War I.
  • Canon Foreigner: Doc's grandson and the new team of aides from the 1980s DC Comics series.
  • Cargo Cult
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Literally, in Doc Savage's case. All of Doc's abilities were the result of intensive training since infancy. Well, that and some very fortunate genes (according to Philip José Farmer). The DC comic-series plays this up somewhat—witness a scene in issue 10 where Doc catches an RPG launched at some American troops by a middle-eastern insurgent, and then throws it back at him. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.
  • Chaste Hero: Doc, by personal choice. It is established frequently in the books that he is fully aware of the effect he has on women, but regrets it. In large part because it makes him uncomfortable (it has been mentioned that knowledge of women is the one area of study in which he is lacking), but also because he is unwilling too become close to any woman who might be used against him by his numerous enemies. (He does it to make sure that no woman comes to harm because of being romantically involved with him.) Later in the books it is noted that he feels his cousin, Pat, is the only woman who could handle the danger in his life (but, as they are related...)
  • The Chick: Patricia Savage, who sometimes seemed to exist solely for the purpose of being the female character. Granted she gets kidnapped a lot but on the other hand her captors usually regret it long before the guys arrive to rescue her. After all, she has repeatedly shown herself to be as capable a combatant and sportswoman as any man in Doc's crew.
  • Chute Sabotage: At the end of The Laugh of Death, the Big Bad tries to escape a fight on an airplane by jumping out with a parachute on his back. Doc's assistant Monk plunges a knife into the parachute pack as the villain is jumping, then innocently notes that the man's parachute didn't open.
  • Clear My Name: Doc is an honorary police officer, but the NYPD will turn on him in an instant over any hint of a Frame-Up.
  • Clothing Damage/Shirtless Scene: As seen by our page illustration, the reprint paperback covers tended to show Doc with a severely ripped shirt, but without the bulletproof chainmail he wore underneath. Most people don't mind.
    • At one point cover artist James Bama actually lost the famous ripped shirt and had to rip a new one for his model. Since he used one of his previous covers as an example the new ripped shirt turned out to be a mirror image of the previous one. No one much minded that either.
  • The Convenient Store Next Door: In one novel, criminals strike at Doc by renting the office next to his and attacking the wall.
  • Cool Airship: Doc employs a highly advanced airship of his own design that employs a lifting gas of his own invention, with a buoyancy greater than hydrogen but not flammable.
  • Cool Pet: Monk's pig, Habeus Corpus, and Ham's monkey, Chemistry.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: In Doc Savage #5 (the DC Comics 1980s version), a crazed military officer lights his cigar off the pilot light of a flamethrower before torching the building Doc and his aides are in.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Bantam edition of Brand of the Werewolf depicts Doc wrestling with what appears to Universal's Wolf Man. No scene like this occurs in the novel (where the 'brand of the werewolf' is a distinctive mark left behind by the killers).
  • Crazy-Prepared: Doc wears a vest full of pockets, each with an amazing gadget. What do you need? He's probably got it.
  • Creepy Centipedes: In The Fantastic Island, the Big Bad uses venomous centipedes as his primary Animal Assassin. In one scene, Doc has to wade through a veritable sea of them.
  • Cultured Badass: Ham and, to a lesser extent, Doc himself.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Doc and Pat have gold-flecked eyes to match their bronze hair and skin.
  • Cut Phone Lines: In The Men Who Smiled No More, Pat twice has a phone line cut on her as she is attempting to call Doc.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Surprisingly for the time period when the original tales were written, this is how most attempts to kidnap Pat end up.
  • Darkest Africa: Kokoland in Land of Long Juju. Only the tribe of the royal family, who are descended from a Lost Roman Legion, are portrayed as civilised. All of the other tribes are superstitious and bloodthirsty savages who are easy prey for the white villains.
  • Direct Line to the Author: There are a couple of references to Monk and/or Patricia writing up details of Doc's adventures and passing them on to the man who writes the novels (i.e. Lester Dent a.k.a. 'Kenneth Robeson'). Doc himself is not very impressed by Dent's literary style.
  • Disconnected by Death: In Cold Death Doc makes a phone call that is disconnected when the house at the other end blows up as soon as the phone is answered.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: In Devil on the Moon, the true identity of the Man on the Moon turns out to be this. It is Bob Thomas, a bystander seemingly killed by the Man on the Moons mooks in the opening chapters.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Flight Into Fear was an unsold non-Doc Savage story by Lester Dent that Will Murray rewrote to star Doc and his aides.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: There is an odd Out-of-Character Moment in Land of Long Juju (not one of the better books in the series) where Action Girl Pat Savage has to restrain herself from flinching when several field rats scamper out of the jungle.
  • Emotion Suppression: The primary weapon of the villain in The Men Who Smiled No More is a drug that prevents its victims from feeling emotion. This makes the victim's very suggestable, and also capable of committing casual murder as they cannot see anything wrong with the act.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs
  • Evil Counterpart: John Sunlight.
    • Also Siegfried from the Doc Savage comic published by DC Comics. He was a Nazi raised by one of Doc's former teachers using the same methods Doc's father devised.
    • Doc ironically had a Captain Ersatz style evil counterpart in reality—Sun Koh, a Doc knock-off who appeared in magazines published in Nazi Germany prior to World War II. His backstory was mysteriously falling from the sky in London, with no memory, superior physical and mental abilities, and a tattoo on his back identifying him as the last king of Atlantis, who was destined to weed out the lower races in order to prepare mankind for a second ice age.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: John Sunlight in Fortress of Solitude.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Doc gets round this with another miraculous invention, a substance covering his body that prevents it from freezing (and somehow prevents his body from overheating as well) and makes a trek through Antarctica just a walk through the park.
  • Fake in the Hole: In The Red Skull, Doc deters pursuit by throwing his watch at his pursuers. The crooks, thinking it is one of Doc's gas bombs, break off the chase.
  • Fauxtastic Voyage: In Devil on the Moon, the Man on the Moon uses a fake rocket to convince his prisoners that they have been transported to the moon.
  • Fingore: In The Annihilist, Leo tortures Sidney Lorrey: starting by pulling fingernails out with pliers, and then moving on to whittling his fingers down to the bone with a sharp knife.
  • Genius Bruiser: Doc, and to a lesser extent Monk and Renny, are the purest examples, but all of Doc's men could be said to qualify. Johnny was said to be much stronger than he looked, and his combat training didn't hurt. Even Long Tom, the guy who constantly looked to be maybe three steps from the grave, was said to be able to beat "ninety-nine out of a hundred men you'd meet on the street." And since each of Doc's men was the best in his chosen field (except for Doc himself, of course), they all seem to qualify as a Genius Bruiser.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Doc is this as well as being a Genius Bruiser. He is never less than polite, no matter what the provacation, and is at ease in most social situations. Ham probably fits even better than Doc. The other aides are a little rough around the edges.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: Inverted: Doc once works with an agent of the Soviet OGPU. Since the book predates both the Cold War and the revelations of the true horrors of Stalinism he's treated as just another Ruritanian police officer.
  • Hand Cannon: Pat's signature weapon is an old six-shooter handed down from her grandfather—a Colt Frontier Single Action .44 with the trigger guard filed off and a fanning spur welded onto the hammer, which she carries in her purse.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Happens to Monk in Repel.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: In The Green Eagle Doc captures a group of mooks. To make one talk he hangs him outside a window. When the mook refuses, he drops him. Being a Technical Pacifist, he had Renny and Longjohn catch the mook in a net, but the other mooks don't know that.
  • High-Class Glass: Johnny originally wears a pair of glasses with no prescription in the right eye (which functions just fine) and a very intense magnifying glass over his left, which was rendered blind in an accident. As he needed the magnifying glass for his work as an archaeologist and geologist, he decided wearing it in a pair of glasses would keep it conveniently at hand. After Doc operates on the eye (in #13 - The Man Who Shook the Earth) and repairs the damage, Johnny ditches the glasses and begins carrying the magnifying lens as a monocle.
  • His Name Is...: In The Men Who Smiled No More, a chemist Doc has brought out of the emotionless trance is shot through the head just as he is about to tell Doc who hired him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: invariably—invariably—the Big Bad gets caught in his own doomsday weapon.
  • Honorary True Companion: Pat Savage is this to Doc and his aides. She is always willing to help them, and would be a permanent member of the crew if Doc would allow her, but Doc consider his work too dangerous for his sole surviving family member to be a part of.
  • How Unscientific!: The final novel Up From Earth's Center has Doc clashing with someone who might have a demon and visiting somewhere that might have been Hell.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Shimba attempt to sacrifice Pat savage as part of a ritual to convince his followers of his magical powers in Land of Long Juju.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Doc's golden eyes are apparently quite entrancing if you look into them too long.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Fear Cay
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The primary reason (or so he says) Doc allows Pat to tag along. Lampshaded when a side character watching her shoot asks if she ever misses and she replies "I missed once, about three years ago, which is why I'm practicing so hard now."
  • Insufferable Genius: Averted. The books make it clear that Doc surpasses all of his team members even in their areas of expertise, but he feels no need to draw attention to that fact. Indeed, it's suggested that when time isn't critical he will intentionally overlook clues in order to avoid seeming too overbearing and give the team a chance to figure things out for themselves.
  • Instant Sedation: Doc's quick-acting anesthetic gas and "mercy bullets".
    • Ham's sword cane is treated with one of Doc's quick-acting anesthetics as well.
  • Instant Waking Skills: Doc had been specifically trained in the ability by an aged Ubangi tribesman.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Oh yes. And they like it that way. Any of the aides will drop what they're doing to chase after "adventure."
    • Which ironically might be (as pointed out by Philip José Farmer in his "autobiography" of Doc) the reason why some of them seem to have financial problems at times. Especially Monk, whose money situation seemed to slowly get worse as the series goes on.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: In Land of Long Juju, Monk remarks on how he does not like how the jungle has suddenly gone silent.
  • Jungle Drums: Jungle drums are a constant presence when Doc and his crew are in Darkest Africa in Land of Long Juju.
  • Kavorka Man: The homely Monk has at least as much success with the ladies as the dapper Ham.
    • Inverted with Doc himself, who despite being a paragon of humanity can't seem to get any luck in the romance department.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Doc and the Fabulous Five wear bullet-proof chain-mesh longjohns that end up being the only clothing worn after cloth-tearing fights.
  • Knight Templar: John Sunlight and Doc at his lobotomising peak.
  • Knockout Gas: Doc used anesthetic gas grenades. Somewhat justified in that Doc was supposed to have specifically invented these.
    • In Fear Cay, one of the novels, the bad guys try to capture Doc with Knockout Gas dispensed from a rigged wallet left on the sidewalk where he would find it. It doesn't work, because of his superior ability to smell (he somehow smelled it before he breathed it) and (as with the Hulk) his ability to hold his breath for much longer than normal. In this case it was not visible.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: The Trylon and Perisphere are used this way in World's Fair Goblin.
  • Lobotomy: A common interpretation of what is done at Doc's Crime College but we never get the details beyond it being "a delicate brain operation" which cures criminal tendencies and erases memories. Certainly it's not an actual lobotomy, as the subjects are fully functional afterward and with their new skills are mentioned at one point as being in high demand.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Doc is nearly 7 feet tall, enormously muscular, and moves fast enough that few people can follow what he's doing in a fight.
  • Living Dinosaurs: In The Land of Terror, Doc and his friends follow a corpse-laden trail to a prehistoric crater and mortal combat with dinosaurs!
  • Long-Running Book Series
  • Lost Roman Legion:
    • In Land of Long Juju, the But Not Too Black nature of the royal family of an African nation is explained by them being the descendents of a lost Roman legion that invaded central Africa and interbred with the local tribes.
    • In The Forgotten Realm, the Ninth Hispana founded a city called Novum Eboracum ("New York") in the African Congo, which survived until at least the 1930s.
  • Lost World: Several, including the lost Mayan kingdom that provides Doc with the gold he needs to carry on his crusade.
  • Made of Iron: Doc is durable enough to jump out a third story window without harm.
  • Mad Scientist: Many of Doc's foes fall into this category.
  • Martial Pacifist: Doc prefers to avoid violence but he's more than prepared to use it.
  • Master of Disguise: Despite his size and unusual appearance!
  • Mighty Whitey: Doc is a classic example.
  • Monster Protection Racket: An extremely convoluted example in Terror in the Navy.
  • The Movie: Its page is here.
  • Murder by Cremation: In The Mountain Monster, gangsters attempt to feed Doc, Monk and Ham into a crematorium furnace. They fail due to Doc being Crazy-Prepared.
  • Mushroom Samba
  • Musical Assassin: The 'death flutes' of the Zoromen in Murder Melody can induce either unconsciousness or death in the listener depending on the tune played.
  • The Napoleon: Cadwiller Olden, the Big Bad in Repel.
  • No Fourth Wall: Monk and Pat help write the magazine stories and Doc reads them when he's bored.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Averted. Doc is that kind of doctor, and several other kinds as well.
  • The Nudifier: In the DC Comics series, Monk came up with a gas to dissolve the enemy mooks' gasmasks. It also dissolved his polyester suit much to Ham's amusement.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When Monk and Ham stop fighting, or Johnny stops using big words, that means they're in too much danger to resort to their usual character tics.
  • Odd Couple: Ham and Monk. Ham's tall, elegant and upperclass. Monk is squat, simian in appearance and lowbrow. They fight constantly, yet are always together.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: In The Annihilist, the villains attempt to convince Sidney Lorrey that his brother (whom they had killed earlier) is still alive. They do this by covering the bullet hole in his forehead with a bandage and laying the corpse on a couch with a Mook underneath it to move it occasionally and emit moaning sounds.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Doc may be the Trope Maker. Somewhat Deconstructed, as while Savage is jack-of-all-trades and a Master of All, he still needs other with their own specialties to round out his vast training and knowledge.
  • Omniglot: Doc can speak an anstonishing number of languages: most of them well enough to pass as a native speaker.
  • Outlaw Town: One appears in The Mountain Monster.
  • Overranked Soldier: Four of Doc's aides had high military rank during World War I: Major, Lt-Colonel, Colonel and Brigader General. Given how late the US entered the war, it seems unlikely that they could have achieved these ranks if they enlisted when the US entered the war. Fanon, as used by Philip José Farmer in his "biography" of Doc Savage, has them enlisting in other nations armies at the start of the war and transferring to the US Army when the US joined. Even then, Ham's brigadier generalship is stretching credibility.
    • Possibly justified if all four men were in the Regular Army prior to the war owing to the huge expansion of the U.S. Army (for example, Dwight D. Eisenhower was brevetted all the way from First Lieutenant in the regular army to Colonel for the duration) but still highly unlikely. For their positions on Doc's team they are certainly overranked.
  • Piranha Problem: In Land of Long Juju, the Island of Long Juju sits in a river surrounded by tiny flesh-eating fish that can strip the flesh of a human in seconds. (The fish is never specifically said to be piranha, thereby averting Misplaced Wildlife, as piranha are not native to Africa).
  • President Evil: Senor Steel, the president-dictator of Blanca Grande in The Freckled Shark.
  • Print Long-Runners: 181 novels over 16 years, plus modern continuations of the series.
  • Prison Ship: The Fortress of Solitude opens on a Soviet prison ship transporting prisoners to The Gulag. Evil Genius Jon Sunlight orchestrates a mutiny among the prisoners and they hijack the ship. This does not go so well, as none of the prisoners know how to operate a ship and they wind up running aground in the Arctic circle.
  • Proto-Superhero: One of the longest-running examples.
  • Purple Prose: Lots and lots and lots, at least in the first batch of stories. The author got better as the series went along, but he started out being perhaps a tad more descriptive than he needed to be.
    • "Above the eightieth floor, an ornamental observation tower jutted up a full hundred and fifty feet more. The metal work of this was in place, but no masonry had been laid. Girders lifted a gigantic steel skeleton. The naked beams were a sinister forest. It was in this forest that Death prowled. Death was a man."
  • Raised by Dudes: Doc was raised in an all-male environment, which is why his understanding of women is weak.
  • Recognizable by Sound: Doc sometimes gave off a eerie trilling sound. Several times his men heard the sound when they were in dire straits, letting them know that Doc was nearby.
  • The Reveal: Doc makes a point of not telling his men about the deductions he's made during the action. All the more drama when he unmasks the villain.
  • Running on All Fours: Monk Mayfair.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: The mysterious Lord London and his ruthless pirates (mostly made up of Chinese recruited from the pirates of the South China Sea who had been displaced by the Japanese navy) inflict a reign of terror through the South Seas in Pirate Isle.
  • Sand Necktie: In Land of Long Juju, Ham and Monk are buried up to their necks in an old graveyard on Long Island by a band of African tribesmen.
  • Science Hero: Doc, and to a lesser extent most of his men.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: No matter how supernatural the story's villain seems to be, it almost always turns out to be one of these.
    • A major exception: Up from Earth's Center, the last story, involving a trek through strange caverns. Their guide may be some sort of demon, but in the end they make a strategic retreat. Though the group tries to rationally explain it all, (some shared hallucination/exposure to the gases) even they don't seem to be 100% convinced.
  • Senseless Violins: In The Annihilist, the sniper Frightful conceals his gun inside a trombone case.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Johnny, who likes big words.
  • Shaming the Mob
  • Shirtless Captives: In The Men Who Smiled No More, Doc and his aides are captured, mind-controlled and put to work as part of a slave labour force, wearing nothing but their shorts.
  • Shoe Phone: Doc and his companions are loaded with escape gadgets. On one occasion when the villains took the trouble to tie Doc up and search him thoroughly (even washing his hair to remove hidden chemicals) Doc simply hypnotised his way out.
  • Shown Their Work: Although the portrayal of foreign cultures usually ended up as caricatures Lester Dent (aka Kenneth Robeson) did put some real effort into learning about the languages. Many words and terms are accurate. For instance the language bod-skad comes up a few times. That really is the classical Tibetan word for the Tibetan language.
    • In a relatively recent novel, Doc and his companions are chasing the villain through a plantation Doc owns, and the villain sets the crops alight so Doc will have to let him get away. Doc has his men keep going, and stays with them. It's a sugar plantation; sugar cane has no specific "ripe" period, and burning the cane is the first step in harvesting.
  • Skepticism Failure
  • Stun Guns: Doc's "mercy bullets".
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Ham
  • Submarine Pirates: The Submarine Mystery and Five Fathoms Dead
  • Superhero Trophy Shelf: The Fortress of Solitude.
  • Super Senses: Doc has the ability the hear even the slightest sounds as well as sounds beyond the range of normal human hearing. He has learned to discriminate smells like a bloodhound. He also has extraordinary vision such that, for instance, he can spot a person two miles away with his peripheral vision.
  • Super Strength: Doc is incredibly strong thanks to his training. Enough to crush a doorknob with his bare hands and jump several feet in the air without a running start.
  • Super Villain: It could be said that concept of the modern supervillain was introduced by Doc Savage.
  • Sword Cane: Ham's preferred weapon.
  • Technical Pacifist:
    • Doc doesn't like killing, and goes to great lengths to avoid it. He even load his guns with special "mercy bullets" that cause unconsciousness rather than death. His companions don't like lethal force either, but being less impressively-skilled than Doc, they sometimes do kill accidentally. Most often it's that Monk hit someone too hard or Ham had to resort to his sword cane.
    • Monk is by far the most bloodthirsty of Doc's aides. His acts include chasing after a fleeing henchman (who was no further threat) and machine gunning him down, and slashing the parachute of a bad guy who was bailing out of a damaged aircraft.
    • Partially deconstructed in the DC series. A flashback shows Doc fighting alongside American soldiers in the middle-east, where his efforts to avoid killing any enemy combatants frequently endanger (and in once case, lead to the deaths of) his comrades.
  • There Was a Door: Doc's immense strength allows facilitates this a few times. In The Meteor Menace he punches a hole in the ceiling because he expects gunmen to be watching the doors and windows.
  • Thinking Tic: Doc is known for making an eerie trilling sound when in deep thought.
  • Torture Technician: Senor Steel in The Freckled Shark.
  • Trojan Prisoner: In Devil on the Moon, Lurgent and his men pull this trick to gain access to Doc's HQ and capture Renny, Long Tom and Pat.
  • True Companions: Doc and his companions are closer than brothers, even if Monk and Ham do fight constantly.
  • Two-Headed Coin: In one novel, Monk uses one to swindle Ham because he habitually calls heads during a coin toss.
  • Undisclosed Funds: Clark Savage, Sr. had found an unlimited supply of South American gold which allowed Doc and his companions to pursue good works without worrying about their budget.
  • Universal Driver's License: Doc could operate any vehicle that existed in the 1930s. In The Movie he could use a few that didn't.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Doc: "That fellow sure writes some far-out stuff." But only in the Wold Newton biography to make Doc's exploits fit in with those of characters like Sherlock Holmes.
    • One of the novels is told from the point of view of an Upper-Class Twit who repeatedly misunderstands what's going on.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Monk and Ham.
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: Doc has no need for money thanks to gold supplied by the Valley of the Vanished and thus donates anything of value he finds in his adventures to charitable works.
  • We Help the Helpless: "Doc Savage? Why, he rights wrongs and vanquishes evildoers."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: John Sunlight, or at least as he claims in his second meeting with Doc. He wants to take over the world with the intention of abolishing war (by erasing international boundaries, making English the official language of the world, and outlawing gun ownership). He even tries to get Doc to join him as a technical advisor. While Doc finds the dream of ending war an admirable one, he knows it can't be achieved (as Sunlight intends to) without slaughtering millions of people in the process. So no dice.
  • The World Is Not Ready
  • World War I: Part of the Backstory. Doc first assembled his team to escape a German prison camp.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: There was an unsold Doc Savage newspaper strip that was shopped around to newspapers in 1936. (The first week's worth of strips were eventually published in Doc Savage: Manual of Bronze from Millennium Comics.) The first strip had a villain reading a newspaper that proclaimed as its lead story 'SAVAGE TO SAIL ON THE CAMERONIC', with a subheading 'Famous Adventurer Refuses Interview - Will Not Make Statement'. So the lead story is that someone is sailing on an ocean liner and refusing to talk about it. The mind boggles as to what the rest of the article must have contained.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In Murder Melody, the Beneath the Earth kingdom of Subterranea uses gold for a huge variety of uses as it is the most abundant and ductile metal available.
  • Wrench Whack: In one of the novels, Ham - having been on the receiving end of yet another one of Monk's practical jokes - picks up a monkey wrench and whacks Monk in the head hard enough to knock him out.


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