The 1970’s Marvel/Curtis Doc Savage Magazine – best comics Doc ever? Part 8

This detailed look at the stories of the 1970’s Doc Savage black and white magazine continues with the next section of issue #2, which featured the story “Hell-Reapers at the Heart of Paradise”, by author Doug Moench and artist Tony DeZuniga. To this point we have been introduced to a bizarre villain called the Mad Viking, a tale of a lost galleon in the far north, followed by a modern expedition to find its treasures…the tragic end of that expedition, and a daughter’s plea to Doc to help her find her father. To that end, Doc and his aides prepare to set out to the far north.

First stop, the Hidalgo Trading Company…

Moench invented a number of impressive vehicles to fill Doc’s warehouse/hanger (among them the dirigible Amberjack — used in issue #1 — and the tanklike Juggernaut, which would come into play in a later story). The hydroglider was an intriguing design, looking fierce with its many sharp angles and edges. In the pulps, Doc often used a trimotor plane to make the “long flight” which took place in almost every tale, but those airships were almost always wrecked during their adventures…apparently Moench wanted a plane that would actually survive a mission.

Monk’s penchant for bragging (which he cannot resist any time he is in the presence of a pretty girl), is cut short by Doc, a little more sternly than he was wont to do in the pulps, but it highlighted his serious, modest, and no-nonsense nature.

In any case, off they go, and in short order arrive in the icy north.

Using more gadgetry, the group moves much faster and more efficiently than the original expedition to find the lost galleon, and sure enough they are right on top of it.

The galleon, it turns out, is not an answer in and of itself, but a gateway to deeper mystery.

The discovery of lost worlds was a staple of the 1930’s adventure pulps, and even by the 1970’s when this story was written, the finding of secret worlds and lost civilizations was a thrilling moment. The “strange blue world” that Doc and the others now enter was a pretty enthralling sight.

In short order, the survivors of the lost expedition — and the kidnap victims, also appear.

At this point the story veers a little more into 70’s Marvel comics style than 30’s pulp. For all the bizarre elements abounding in the original pulp tales, they were most often fakes or concepts grounded in at least a tenuous sense of reality. The “reptilians” which are about to appear take that premise just a little too far in my mind…though an effort will be made to explain them in at least pseudo-scientific terms.

The expedition members implicate Sandy’s missing father as the villain of the piece, but something doesn’t seem right about that…all of which will have to wait, as one hell of a fight is about to break out.

to be continued…

One thought on “The 1970’s Marvel/Curtis Doc Savage Magazine – best comics Doc ever? Part 8

  1. When You’re finished, I’m going to dig out my copy and re-read the entire Marvel B&W run. Really enjoy your “deep dive” into the amazing world of Doc Savage (even if it’s under the ice).


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