“Doc Savage, Man of Bronze:” The Origin of the Superhero Group


Cover art for Doc Savage magazine

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Doc Savage and his oddly assorted team might be considered the progenitors of today’s “Fantastic Four” and many other teams of superheroes — even Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.” -Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics’ “Spider-Man” and “The X-Men”

There are probably two reasons to read pulp fiction that’s 70, 80, 90, and even 100 years old. The first is that you’re a true fan of the genre. The second is, if not for these ancient heroes, we wouldn’t have the modern ones that, at least up until recently, were box office blockbusters at the movies.

In the mid-1960s as I was about to enter Junior High, I didn’t realize these stories existed and more, I didn’t know that various publishers had finally convinced the owners of these older properties to allow them to appear as paperbacks. It was the perfect time for me. I was the age and sex of the target audience, and the average price for a paperback was around 40 to 60 cents a copy. Heck, back then, even a comic book cost 12 cents.

So Edgar Rice Burroughs’ entire Tarzan and John Carter of Mars book series abruptly appeared in mall bookstores all across the country. So did E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman and Skylark series along with what Robert E. Howard and every other author under the sun wrote about Conan the Barbarian.

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Return of the Space Princess


Promotional image for the “Dejah Thoris” comic book series by Amy Chu (Author) – Based on a character from the Edgar Rice Burroughs “Barsoom” series.

space princess

Screenshot from the comments section of the Mallard Fillmore comic strip.

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Just so you don’t miss the important quote in the above conversation:

The Superversive Literary Movement is in opposition to wokism, saying that any politics in a work of storytelling should serve the story, rather than the woke commandment to ensure that the story serves woke politics. The Space Princess Movement is a subset thereof.

That exchange occurred in the comments section of the conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore written and penned these days by Loren Fishman but occasionally featuring the work of its creator Bruce Tinsley.

You can find the comic strip at ComicsKingdom.com though I warn you that the topics are indeed supportive of a conservative viewpoint and the comments are from pro-conservatives with pushback delivered by counterprotesting trolls “under-the-bridge-dwellers.”

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Vultan’s Aerie

burj khalifa

© Google – May 2013

The two friends, veterans of many battles, stood at the foot of the glass tower upon a strangely deserted street.

“We defeated Baron Dak-Tula and the Skorpi menace Flash, but at the cost of Mongo’s biosphere. Fortunately, Earth’s biosphere survived, though sadly, your race of humans were wiped out by a Skorpi induced plague. To our benefit, Zarkov created a space going ark to bring representatives of our races to your world in safety, though barely in time.”

“Thanks to you Prince Vultan, and your race of Hawkmen, we were victorious. It’s only fitting that, on behalf of Earth, I extend every courtesy to your Hawkmen and the rest of the brave races that survived Mongo. What is your wish?”

“Actually, this Burj Khalifa tower here in Dubai would make us a fine Aerie, Flash Gordon.”

I wrote this tale for the What Pegman Saw challenge. Thanks to Google maps, this week’s destination is the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 136.

Originally, I was going to write about a group of robotic AI window washers forming a union to fight for better working conditions at their jobs cleaning Burj Khalifa, but then my wife sent me to the store and while driving, I started getting another idea.

Yes, I read the Flash Gordon comic strip every Sunday. They’re repeats and as far as I know, no new comic strips are being created for this franchise.

I had to look up the history of Flash Gordon at Wikipedia, which is where I learned that in his later history, Flash became an interstellar hero fighting the shape shifting Skorpi race. I created a situation where Mongo’s biosphere is ruined forcing a remnant of its many peoples to flee aboard a space ark built by Dr. Zarkov. They arrive on Earth, and while our world’s biosphere is intact, the Skorpi wiped out the human population with a plague. The disease has since run its course, so our planet is now the new world of the Mongoese refugees. Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Dr. Hans Zarkov are the only human beings left alive.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.