11 Dec, 2013
Doc Savage #1 premieres today, and writer Chris Roberson (iZombie) was kind enough to field 3 tough questions from our very own G-Man!
1. I’ve been a big fan of Doc Savage since forever, and I read the original novels when I was a kid (I even saw the Ron Ely movie). I’m also a fan of your work, and I particularly loved iZombie. Can you tell us how you got the assignment to write Doc Savage?
I actively campaigned for it! Ever since I first started talking with Dynamite a few years ago about working together, I would drop subtle (and sometimes not as subtle) hints that Doc Savage was my favorite of the pulp characters, and that it would be great if they could add a Doc Savage-type character to their lineup. At the time, the rights were tied up elsewhere, so what I was suggesting was using another existing character or creating someone new in that mold. But when the news broke last year that the previous licensor didn’t hold the rights anymore, I immediately wrote to Dynamite and said that if they ever got their hands on the character, I wanted to write him. And I mentioned it again, somewhat more emphatically, the next time we spoke. And again, and again. As I’ve said before, I’m half convinced they got the rights and gave me the job just to shut me up!
2. Doc Savage is one of the greatest of the American pulp heroes, and was an important symbol to millions of readers of an earlier generation. What would you like to bring to the story that might resonate with today’s readers, who may—or may not–be so familiar with The Man of Bronze?
I think that the core of the character is very appealing. Doc Savage is a character who has been trained from the cradle to be as close to perfect as humanly possible, mentally, physically, and morally, and he’s dedicated his life and fortunes to the pursuit of knowledge and the eradication of oppression. He doesn’t kill if he can avoid it, he doesn’t lie, and he thinks that everyone can be redeemed, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. He is one of the principle inspirations for everyone from Superman to James Bond to Reed Richards. And he had nifty gadgets and goes on amazing adventures. What’s not to love?
3. How much of this incarnation of Doc will be “re-imagined,” or do you intend to stick with the original interpretation of “Kenneth Robeson” (Lester Dent)?
We begin with as faithful an interpretation of Lester Dent’s vision of the characters as the artist Bilquis Evely and I can manage. The first issue takes place in 1933, shortly after the debut of DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE. The second issue takes place in 1949, shortly after the magazine ceased publication. And in both of those issues, the character and their world are very much the versions that Dent presented. In the third issue, though, we begin to change things ever so slightly, as we move Doc and company ahead to 1961 and see what they’ve been up to since their last published adventure. And then the fourth issue moves even further into the future. So the core of the characters and their setting will always be rooted in the original pulps and the original setting, and we’ll be revisiting that era often in flashbacks and the like. But gradually as the series progresses we’ll be bringing Doc step by step into the present moment, retaining everything essential about his character, but introducing new elements along the way.
Doc Savage #1 is available now!