(The Spring 2018 issue (#81) article Doc Has a Gun! contained a couple of omissions. The article is reprinted here with the proper changes. Thanks to Michael Brown for the heads-up! You can order the issue if you missed it.)
Doc Has a Gun!
By Michael Ingalls
There have been numerous discussions among fans about portraying Doc Savage holding a gun. Flearunners point out that all the new graphics seem to have him with a gun. I took a quick tally of the 181 pulps, 133 Bantam books, six Whitman Golden books, three Street and Smith hardbacks, one Moonstone edition, and 21 Wild Adventures. That a total of 345 covers.
Doc sports more weapons on the 133 Bantam covers: club (The Other World), grenades (The Mystic Mullah), spear (Quest of Qui), tomahawks (The Devil’s Playground), knife (The Feathered Octopus), pistol (Escape from Loki), his rapidfirer (Murder Melody), machine gun (The Lost Oasis, The Land of Terror), a “space gun” (The Green Death*, The Freckled Shark, Omnibus Nine), and Bob Larkin used grenades in his unused cover for The All-White Elf.
About a fourth of the Wild Adventures by Will Murray have weapons on the Joe DeVito covers: rapidfirer (Miracle Menace, Desert Demons), sword (Infernal Buddha, Empire of Doom), pickaxe (The Ice Genius), and grenades (Death’s Dark Domain).
No weapons were featured on the Street and Smith hardbacks, the Whitman editions, or the lone Moonstone edition.
(Editors note: Are the artists drawing Doc relying on their sketchy memories of the Bantam and Wild Adventure covers? More likely, it’s just more dynamic to portray Doc in a ripped shirt holding a gun than a suit standing in a library.)
* – Omnibus #4 reused the cover from The Green Death with the background painted out.