3 thoughts on “The Men Vanished

  1. The Men Vanished is a good, not great, Doc. It does involve a lost civilization in South America, always a pleasure, and have Pat, always a joy to behold. It harkens back to the grand adventures of the past, even though this is a 1940 book. That is welcome, but overall it could have been better.
    Some interesting points: This book has Two-Face as a villian. Yes, ye olde character two-face, as in a split-faced villain with a horribly disfigured sneering side of the face, a la Batman or Dick Tracy. I am unsure which actually created the guy first, but obviously this character was a stock villain of some popularity in the pulp era. i was suprised to find him pop up here in Doc Savage. He usually does his stock characters with enough flare and originality that they aren’t so blatantly recognizeable. Case in point: near the end of the book Doc has a terrific fight to the death with Sun Cats, or giant leopards. This is Tarzan on steroids time, but not so much a rip. Kind of like that bear in the arctic. Just awesome.
    In another moment of Doc doing it first, the doorframe of his office on the 86th floor is said to contain a hidden metal detector in this book. A visitor comes in and Monk sees a tiny light begin glowing on the wall that alerts him the man has a gun. Who needs Homeland Security when Doc’s around?
    Also, this is a book that shows Doc Savage being honored. It is League of Extraoridnary Gentlemen time! Well, at least The Explorers League. In this book the League is awarding Doc with its Explorers League Ten Year Medal. Doc has accomplished so much he is the unanimous choice for this award which has only gone to people of the stature of Thomas Edison and Admiral Byrd before. Way to go Doc.
    Finally, I’ll mention a great Doc scene. It shows his ability to surprise and shock anyone with his amazing speed, stealth, and phenomenal strength: Doc Savage, moving like a bronze ghost in the murk vaulted the stone wall, vanished in the shrubbery. A moment later the bronze man stepped from behind a bush onto the path. The two stocky men were taken completely by surprise. One groaned involuntarily as the gun was crushed out of his fingers by a grip of terrific strength. There was a loud ripping and snapping sound as Doc Savage grabbed the other man’s gun — the weapon was in an armpit holster; Doc gripped it through the coat fabric — and tore it out bodily, snapping the holster straps. The man, wrenched sidewise by the force of the bronze man’s strength, stumbled over a bush, fell heavily. (Bantam Omnibus 7, p 10)
    Ahhhh. Nobody can come close to Doc Savage.
    Thomas Fortenberry

  2. The Men Vanished is pretty much doc by the numbers. The mystery is strange and more than a little goofy. The action is okay. Average Doc is usually better than a lot of other stuff you could be reading. But not in this case. The appearance of Two-Face was something though and shows just how much comics borrowed from Doc: Fortress Of Solitude, Hero named Clark, gadgets and smarts folks now associate with Bat Man, hey, even the Vulcan nerve pinch had its origins in Doc. Sadly, all the great reasons later creators stole from Doc are not present in this tale. Sub-par Doc. Luckily this is uncommon in the canon.

  3. To answer your question about Two-Face, Thomas: The Batman villian of that same name made his first appearance in 1942, so once again Doc got there first. Interestingly enough, Batman’s Two-Face was named Harvey Dent… Coincidence? Well, as most pop-culture historians could tell you, a tremendous amount of “borrowing” went on between the comics and the pulps. Batman’s Rogues Gallery ( of which Two-Face was only one example) directly inspired by that of Dick Tracey, and it’s an open secret that Batman was heavily inspired by Doc Savage’s stablemate at Street & Smith, the Shadow. And as for Superman… CLARK Kent, CLARK Savage… You do the maths!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *