Top Ten Most Lurid Doc Savage Pulp Covers

Doc Savage was a straight arrow, and pretty much the whole run of James Bama, Fred Pfeiffer, Boris Vallejo, Bob Larkin and Joe DeVito paperback covers poses him in a very stalwart fashion. But on the pulp covers, things sometimes edged a little bit more toward the forbidden.

A list of this sort is highly subjective of course…no doubt you have others you think should have made the cut. But it’s all for fun…so let the debate begin.


No smoking in here! Everything from colors to pose to expression in this painting is malevolent.

The Red Skull, Walter Baumhofer


This one, in which Pat Savage runs afoul of a trip-rope, certainly has a bit of leg-fetishist in it.

Death is a Round Black Spot


Watch out, the skeleton has a gun! And Doc, dressed uncharacteristically in black, makes him look a little more outlaw than hero.

The Land of Fear, Robert G. Harris


There are many wild melees portrayed on Doc pulps, but this one has an over the top feel, with a bloody Doc roughing up his opponents pretty well, and the heroine of the tale wielding a mean shoe.

The Gold Ogre, Emery Clarke


A favorite of Philip José Farmer (chosen as the cover for the first hardcover edition of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life)…driven by the brutish Monk, Doc, perched on the running board, might appear to be making a getaway to the average observer…

The Spook Legion, Walter Baumhofer


Another of Farmer’s favorites (as I understand it, the runner-up choice for Apocalyptic Life). Doc looks pretty fierce, but it’s Pat that makes this one, with her excitedly happy expression while in peril…that girl was made for trouble.

Fear Cay, Walter Baumhofer


Well, thank heaven for some air bubbles and a well-placed strand of kelp (or Sargassum Weed)…

The Sargasso Ogre, Walter Baumhofer


Doc in classic black and white jail stripes!

The Vanisher, Robert G. Harris


Good Doc, bad Doc…both look pretty badass actually, and what are they planning to do with that poor girl? (Actually, she is no saint herself…)

Mad Eyes, Emery Clarke


And my Number One most lurid cover…in which Doc and Pat seem to be the ones up to no good.

Devil on the Moon, Emery Clarke

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