With the various Doc Savage comics incarnations since the revival of Doc by Gold Key to tie in with a proposed film in the ’60’s, it’s easy to forget that the Doc from the Golden Age of comics was not limited to the bizarre mystical Doc with the red ruby gem. There were also many comics stories based on the pulp Doc, that actually ran concurrently with the pulp magazine.
They were strange little things…usually quite short, loaded with stereotypes of the time in adventure fiction (brutish natives, helpless female captives, etc), and drawn in a sloppy early-comics style that often looked like it had been composed on a staff artist’s lunch hour.
But they were fun in a distinct politically-incorrect, forbidden pleasure sort of way. Here is the first of them, from Shadow Comics #1, in 1940.
Monk’s hair color is wrong, but who can nitpick an adventure that features a flaming belt buckle gimmick, the straight-faced exchange between Doc and Monk about the mysterious message (Doc: “Then how did he scrawl this message if he was dead?” Monk: “Something’s funny about that!”) and a parting from the heroine (after Doc arranges to get her back to civilization — and gets her a job, to boot) that consists of “Thanks for everything, Doc Savage — and goodbye!”
Here is the cover of the issue, obviously featuring The Shadow…with Doc in the third marquee position under “Iron Munro”!