Pulp novels to get new life with Doc Savage film

Cover to a 1964 re-issue of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze

Cover to a re-issue of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze

Pulp magazines, which influenced both comic books and Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, are about to get some new life, thanks to a new film version of Doc Savage with Dwayne Johnson.

Johnson announced the movie, to be directed by Shane Black, via his Instagram account. That prompted stories on Deadline: Hollywood, Entertainment Weekly and Birth Movies Death among other places.

Pulps (as they were commonly called) were inexpensive publications including the exploits of heroes who experienced outlandish adventures.

Doc Savage, according to Wikipedia, was the subject of Doc Savage Magazine, which ran from March 1933 to summer 1949. Other pulp heroes included The Shadow and The Avenger.

As we’ve written before, Ian Fleming 007 novels had pulp influences with larger than life villains such as Dr. No and Goldfinger.

Pulps also were forerunner of comic books, which took off when Superman debuted in 1938, Batman in 1939, the Sub-Mariner and Human Torch in 1939 and Captain America in 1941.

Doc Savage was a master of all trades with multiple sidekicks. In the 1970s, movie producer George Pal, whose credits included the 1960 version of The Time Machine, thought it was time to bring Doc to the big screen.

Thus, Doc Savage: Man of Bronze came out in the summer of 1975 with Ron Ely as Doc. It was directed by Michael Anderson, who had helmed 1956’s Around the World in Eighty Days.

Like James Bond movies of the era, the end titles of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze included the title of the next film adventure. Unfortunately for Doc, the movie didn’t do well enough at the box office to merit a second film.

It remains to be seen how well the new Doc movie will fare. But, for now, the announcement is pumping new life into the pulps.