001 03/33 The Man of Bronze

Chuck Welch
March 31, 1993 - 1933 / bama / Bantam 001-012 / baumhofer / nanovic / novel / pulp

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High above the skyscrapers of New York, Doc Savage engages in deadly combat with the red-fingered survivors of an ancient, lost civilization. Then, with his amazing crew, he journeys to the mysterious “lost valley” to search for a fabulous treasure and to destroy the mysterious Red Death.

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Comment Archive

  1. Andrew Salmon says:

    Fittingly enough this was the first Doc I ever read. After growing up with Doc all through the late 60s and through the 70s, I finally decided in ’99 to give him a try and #1 was the place to start. What’s funny is I didn’t like the book at all! Of course I didn’t “get” Doc at the time I read it. It’ll be fun to reread this one now that I’m a huge Doc fan. Strange way to start I know but that’s the way it happened.

  2. Thomas Fortenberry says:

    The first in the series! Even though the earliest Doc novels sometime now seem a little rough, with all those exclamation points and even Doc constantly yelling instead of speaking, they are still the foundation and irreplaceable. All the flavor is there: the gang up to their necks in danger and fighting against the odds, the strange creeping suspense, the scarlet-fingered death always lurking just outside the door, the unknown cultures and distant lands to explore, the breathless, globe-spanning and earthshaking adventures to be had, and startling mysteries waiting to be solved. Of course, who could ever forget the first time Doc flexed his arm and split his shirt. It was the first hint, and still classic image, of his immense strength.

    This stuff is immortal!

    Cheers,

    Thomas Fortenberry

  3. Barry Ellis says:

    GREAT origin story for ANY genre! SO much groundwork laid for SO many years of storytelling! Ironic & interesting how so many years & stories later Dent postulated on Doc’s “exploitation”of the Mayans in ‘They Died Twice’ (the third story in the so-called “Mayan Triology”). Political correctness AND cultural awareness in the 40s? Dent was way ahead of his time in MANY ways.

  4. What’s strange is I actually put off reading this tale when I got the book because I had already read the Marvel version and knew the backstory, so I thought there would be nothing exciting about it. It went to the bottom of my Doc paperback pile. When I finally got around to it I wondered why I had put it off because it really is a fine prototype tale and great fun. Rough in many ways, but it still glows.

  5. F. Rubert says:

    Years ago I was able to buy a Doc Savage cover poster. Are they still available. My brother is a big fan I would like to get one for his birthday. Thanks.

  6. Todd Pence says:

    What Doc fan wouldn’t list this first novel among their favorites? It serves as a well-conceived introduction to the series as a whole, as well as standing on its own as a great adventure novel. The Man of Bronze is not only the first but the quintisenntial Doc Savage adventure, containing all of the elements that mark the series as a whole. Dent pulls out all the stops in this one, quickly introducing us to the main characters and then without much delay sweeping them into the non-stop action with one cliffhanger after another, written at machine-gun pace. Lester Dent, even at this early stage, certainly knew how to write pulp fiction, even if he hasn’t quite developed his own style yet and his writing in this book clearly shows in both style and concepts a heavy influence of Edgar Rice Burroughs, for one. The Man of Bronze sets a firm foundation for the rest of the series.

    Rating: five stars (out of five)

  7. jack zahl says:

    the whole package: action, weapons, super villians, captures, escapes, comebacks from death, character development, and a tight plot.

    classic action novel unto itself and enough to fuel a whole series. one of my favorites ! 5 of 5 stars.

    ps – just reading around this site. did not know there were so many ghost authors. thought dent wrote all but a few.

  8. tammy says:

    Okay, i have teh Doc Savage book, in my hands and it says August 1933 same ccover The Man of Bronze and inside it says Vol 1 no. 1.
    So what it it March and a remake in August of 33?

  9. Tim Lucas says:

    I think this debut novel holds up extremely well: vivid writing, tense situations, warm humor and an underlying message about the importance of assembling armies with honor and care. The Valley of the Vanished nearly destroys centuries of isolated perfection by the misconceived practice of consigning its undesirables to the service of its defense. It’s takes a dozen or so battles, but Doc’s good few men ultimately prevail against the corrupt warriors by stockpiling lots of wit and heart. It’s also fairly well-written for a book that I would imagine was penned in great haste, but Mr. Dent does get his Mayan culture confused: Quetzalcoatl, not Kukulcan, is the feathered serpent god of the Maya. What more can I say? It’s better than the movie, which starts out well but decides to tell a different story… with mostly indifferent results.

  10. Tim Lucas says:

    Since this site doesn’t offer an editing capability for comments, I’d like to amend my earlier posting now that I have rescreened George Pal’s movie DOC SAVAGE THE MAN OF BRONZE. On reacquaintence, I think the film succeeds at least as much as it fails. Apart from the weakly written and even more weakly cast “Captain Seas” material, the story is not terribly changed from the book, but it does rush through the Hidalgo chapters, which also look underproduced. Ron Ely is excellent as a living median between the pulp and the Bantam covers, and I like the Fabulous Five, too. It’s a campy take on the material, and the book could surely be more definitively adapted to film, but it is enjoyable in its quirky way, and I wish the promised sequel had been made.

  11. Tim Lucas says:

    Since this site doesn’t offer an editing capability for comments, I’d like to amend my earlier posting now that I have rescreened George Pal’s movie DOC SAVAGE THE MAN OF BRONZE. On reacquaintence, I think the film succeeds at least as much as it fails. Apart from the weakly written and even more weakly cast “Captain Seas” material, the story is not terribly changed from the book, but it does rush through the Hidalgo chapters, which also look underproduced. Ron Ely is excellent as a living median between the pulp and the Bantam covers, and I like the Fabulous Five, too. It’s a campy take on the material, and the book could surely be more definitively adapted to film, but it is enjoyable in its quirky way, and I wish the promised sequel had been made.

  12. Jeff Spain says:

    Just reread this one again. It shines in comparison to the 1940’s novels. Lots of action from the get go and Doc using his super human abilities. IT still holds up after all these years.

  13. Walter Carlisle says:

    Reading Doc Savage at age 51 isn’t all that different from reading him at age 12. Even then, I found some of the old fashioned “lingo” quaint and sometimes amusing, and Dent’s writing style labored. But none of that ultimately matters. For all his flaws, Dent could whip up a good yarn, and he does so here, with the classic Doc pattern of 1, run around New York for a while, and 2, dash off to an exotic land for more adventures. This was probably the fourth or fifth Doc I read as a kid, and while it isn’t one of the very best, it’s an excellent start.

    Dent does a good job of introducing the characters, although he keeps reminding us that Ham is a lawyer, Monk a chemist, etc. In the final chapter we are reminded again that Long Tom is a “wizard of the juice.” Likewise, we are told repeatedly that Princess Monja is pretty (like we couldn’t remember that).

    But we get the Mayans, the Red Death, and the compelling motif of Doc avenging the death of his father. Great fun.

  14. Paul Cook says:

    Of all the “important” Doc Savage novels, this is the only one I’ve only read once. Of course it’s an important book, but I thought the adventure a little straight-forward; you can almost feel Lester Dent getting adjusted to the character. Still, Doc comes across as incredibly strong and dynamic–a far cry from the Doc Savage of the 1940s where he’s almost reduced to being a private eye. Still and all, a good read with most of the familiar Doc elements in place (excepting Pat, Habeas, and Chemistry who will come later).

  15. Lee Dorrance says:

    Having recently rediscovered my collection of Bantam edition novels, I decided to experience them again, only this time in the order that they were originally intended to be read. I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised at how well they have held up.

    I was first introduced to Doc and the gang in the early 80’s when, I believe it was Gold Key, published 6 hardback editions of selected adventures for younger readers. Needless to say, after reading my first one I was hooked and grabbed the other 5 releases and subsequently every Bantam edition I could find. I’m 36 now and Doc remains the greatest superhero of my childhood.

    For me, The Man of Bronze was an excellent introduction to Doc and the boys, jumping quickly into the action and not letting up until the final showdown. Now I can see how rough around the edges it was at times when compared to some of the later adventures, but this is easily forgiven. Dent’s ability to create and bring to life an ancient civilization is incredible. I would often find myself wondering about what life was like there before Doc and his crew arrived on the scene. This is a classic, from the chase scenes high above the streets of New York to the jungles of Central America, this one definitely leaves you wanting more.

  16. TERESA FREEBREY says:

    how can i get the books in uk to coment on

  17. Heather O. says:

    This was the fourth Doc Savage book I have read and although it is not my favorite it is still one of the top five. Strangely enough I had not intended to read this one having already seen the movie version which I decided is a cross between “The Man of Bronze” and “The Mystic Mullah”. I think if they were to make a series of movies that follow the Doc Savage novels book by book as closley as possible they would be a hit. Definatly a book to read over and over again.

  18. Bruce says:

    I think the Baumhofer version of Doc Savage is the best version. The Bama version is okay, but I prefer the old school style.

  19. j. Hogan says:

    Someone needs to make this into a movie(just not a campy one like in ’75 !).It would be even better if this one and two of the best of the others were made into a three some, like Indiana Jones or something.

  20. How do I buy this story? There’s a new reprint series, but its #1 is not this first book.

  21. Shavager says:

    Geroge Pal’s movie did absolutely nothing to portray Doc and his Crew as Lester Dent portrayed them. Clint Walker, the actor from “Cheyenne” tv series and “Night of the Grizzly” would have made a far superior Doc Savage character, however Pal’s movie was sabotaged by the studio’s budget restraints and we got a movie that equalled the early Batman/Adam West tv show in stupidity and silliness. Monk Mayfair went from a gorilla shape with the barrel chest and long hairy arms and strength of a gorilla to a fat guy with bushy red whiskers. What a joke! The Renny character was probably the only acceptable portrayal in the movie. I hope we get a “real” Doc Savage movie similar to the Shadow or the Batman Begins films. Nope, Shwarzenegger won’t do as Doc, however The Rock(The Scorpian King) might be passable, has the build and similar features as the Bama Doc.

  22. Shavager says:

    It’s a shame George Pal didn’t have a bigger budget and better cast. Clint Walker had the build, size and hair of the Baumhofer Doc Savage and would’ve been much better than Ron Ely. The rest of Doc’s amazing five were jokes! With the exception of Bill Lucking(Renny) they looked like a bunch of idiots instead of five rough, tough adventurers. I hope any new Doc Savage movie producers will consider the WWF wrestler Randy Orton for Doc’s character! Check him out!! He has the size, build, facial features and hair for the BAMA Doc Savage-the image most Americans have grown up with and was the most successful of the Bantam paperback versions.

  23. Scott Kimball says:

    I think “The Rock” would be an excellent choice for the role of Doc. If he really researched the material and threw himself into the role, he would be great. And of course, hollywood makeup and special effects would work wonders.

  24. This novel was the second Doc I ever read ( The Mystery On The Snow was the first ), back in August ’73 and I loved it! Although I’d previously read the Marvel adaptation, this was the Book-Of-The-Comic and not to be missed! Ironically enough, I’ve failed on subsequent re-reads to finish it… Somehow it doesn’t hold up like the later entries in the saga do. I have as yet not been able to precisely analyse why. But that aside, however, I would still recommend this novel as a great place for any newcomer to the supersagas to start. By the way, check out the novel ” The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril” by Paul Malmont — it’s a novel featuring none other than Lester Dent and Walter Gibson ( of Shadow Fame) combining forces against a criminal mastermind! It’s a great read!

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