The Most Famous Superhero You’ve Never Heard Of

His name is Clark and his father raised him to be a savior to humanity. He possesses superhuman strength and finely tuned senses. He is the world’s greatest detective, an inventor, chemist, surgeon and martial artist. Villains the world over want him dead, but through his intelligence, strength, wealth (of course), cunning and technological prowess he’s always able to defeat them – all while staying faithful to a personal edict to spare all lives.

No, he’s not a mash-up of Superman and Batman; rather, he’s Clark (Doc) Savage, Jr, a character created in 1933 by publisher Harry W. Ralston and editor John L. Nanovic, with further contributions from Lester Dent, the writer most often associated with the character. (Most stories originally appeared under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson, a house name used by Ralston's Street & Smith company to disguise authorship of pulp tales; it allowed the company to advertise other series as coming from "the creator of Doc Savage," even when they were in fact written by others.) And he actually served as inspiration for Superman and Batman.

Doc Savage’s height of popularity was during the chaos of the Depression and World War II. He also experienced a brief resurgence through reprints of the original novels during the Vietnam era, and the covers illustrated here are from that time in the mid-1960's. Look at the prices!

To many, he is the greatest superhero to ever appear, the source of hundreds of iterations – first in “pulps,” later in comics, radio, television and film. However, today he’s largely forgotten; at best, his name sparks vague recognition or recollection. One conspicuous exception was in 1975, when low-budget producer George Pal made the box-office bomb Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. Since then, Doc has been dormant, but in 2019, Hollywood will try again, this time offering up Dwayne Johnson as Doc. I won't get my hopes up.

More on Doc Savage - and there is a lot to take in - may be found here, here, and here.

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Super heros have costumes. Fighting evil isn't enough to qualify. Lots of people, real or imaginary, fight evil. Super human abilities aren't enough, either. Batman has none, Green Arrow has none, but they are both super heroes. Why? Costume + fighting evil + use of code name.
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Doc Savage is Clark Savage, Jr. He is a physician, scientist, adventurer, detective, inventor, explorer, researcher, and, as revealed in The Polar Treasure, a musician. A team of scientists assembled by his father deliberately trained his mind and body to near-superhuman abilities almost from birth, giving him great strength and endurance, a photographic memory, a mastery of the martial arts, and vast knowledge of the sciences.

I dunno. The whole superhero thing works for me.
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