May 23, 2009

Man of (Slightly Tarnished) Bronze

I'm surprised that this image hasn't gotten a lot more online buzz. (Or maybe it has, but I haven't been paying all that much attention).

This is where I become rather super-nerdy, geekish, and become the kind of person I openly mock - DC has acquired the comic book rights to Doc Savage (which they had twenty years ago), and the character has had...well, an interesting history in comics, to say the least.

Of course, I felt a little cool about it - yes, I love the character, and was always open to having a new interpretation. However, I found myself a little queasy when Dan DiDio explained to Newsarama:

We’re working with a series of characters that fit within that genre, and we’re exploring their...interactions, to be slightly coy about it. We have several projects on the burners right now, and it’s a little early to start discussing them, but the chances to see Doc Savage encountering The Spirit, Blackhawk, and other characters with that same tone and sensibility is being actively pursued.
And that's where my geekishness comes in...as well as my mixed feelings about this series.

On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with a shared universe concept - comics do it all the time. There can be something inherently cool about Doc living at a time when he inspires not only "pulp heroes"...but superheroes as well. (And, of course, there have been several Doc/Shadow crossovers in the past, so it's not like there isn't precedent). It would be slightly hypocritical for me to say "no crossovers whatsoever"

But I wonder if, by crossing Doc over with other characters (especially DC-owned ones like the Blackhawks), DC is removing much of a luster from the hero. One of Savage's greatest characteristics was that he was the first "superhero", for a lack of a better word. He was the font from which most popular culture (in my opinion) sprang, and much of his mystique comes from the fact that he is the first - and only. Placing him square in DC Comics continuity...takes a little bit away from him.

This may be premature, and I'll play the "I'll-keep-an-open-mind-until-issue-1" comes out, but there's something about the approach that just doesn't sit right.

And Doc deserves better.

4 comments:

sam said...

What about the Marvel "Two in One" (think that was the title) when Doc was in a team up with the Thing

Russ! said...

If done properly, I feel like this could be a great story a la LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, in terms of creating a superhero-esque universe with these characters.

I'm surprised Doc isn't public domain.

Gordon D said...

Russ - actually, Conde Nast has been very protective about the Doc copyright, so much so that a pulp-oriented website (blackmask.com) got shut down because they were doing unauthorized reprints.

Sam - I actually just reread that issue, and thought it was...well, not that great.

Both Sam & Russ - I can see the potential in crossovers; I just wonder if mixing Doc in with too much of the DC Universe dilutes the overall premise....

Roger Owen Green said...

the 2-in-1 xover notwithstanding, I always recalled Doc Savage by Marvel fondly because it DIDN'T have anything to do with Marvel continuity but rather was freestanding.