Doc Savage in Bantam Paperback

Doc Savage has been a staple of Bantam paperbacks over the years, and Greg Turner shares a brief history in this video!

Check out Greg’s previous retro reviews on Doc Savage here for Doc Savage Magazine #1 and here for Doc Savage Comics #1 and #2.

Full text:

Hi, Greg Turner here, at Back To the Past Pop Culture TV.

And I have a confession to make!  Yes, I am hooked on series characters.  Comics, of course, but also books!  I guess it stems from my elementary school days, when I read The Hardy Boys series, written under the house name of Franklin W. Dixon.  In 1959 the series underwent extensive revisions and were reissued in a new hardback series, and it was these revised editions that I read as fast as I could pick up the next in the series!

I’m not sure how long it was before I discovered the paperback reprint series, by Bantam Books, featuring Doc Savage, but I think it was in late Junior High or early High School.

In October 1964, Bantam Books issued their first three reprints of the Doc Savage adventures from the old pulp magazines.  Doc Savage had been introduced to the American public in Doc Savage Magazine, i.e. pulp, in March of 1933, with the story entitled; The Man of Bronze.

And a new hero was born.

The books were issued under the house name of Kenneth Robeson, but the actual man behind most of the Doc Savage stories was writer, Lester Dent and he did an excellent job keeping the series fresh and interesting!

Now jump forward to October 1964 and Bantam Books released three Doc novels, in a newly numbered series.  First was; The Man of Bronze, then The Thousand Headed Man, followed by Meteor Menace!  Then they sat back and waited to see if the books would sell.

And sell they did.  The first two books featured wonderful iconic artwork by painter James Bama, the third cover was by Jim Aviati.  The books that followed the following year had covers by various artists until it was determined that the Bama covers sold the best and he became the defacto cover artist for most of the rest of the series!

April 1965, saw the release of three more Doc novels and then Bantam regularly released the novels at a one, every other month, pace over the next ten years.

I bought as many as I could find on the newsstands, and read and enjoyed them all.  But it has only been over the last couple of years that I have completed by collection of the first ninety-six (96) Bantam novels.

Beginning in 1980, with book number 97/98, Bantam started reprinting the stories two to a book.  This lasted up through 125/126 in 1985.

Then in 1986, Bantam started publishing four (4) stories to a book in an Omnibus edition, with new numbering, beginning with number one (1).  This series ran through Omnibus number thirteen (13) and includes the final Doc Savage story; Up From Earth’s Center.

Today new readers can purchase Doc’s reprinted adventures in Sanctum Books Double Novel series.

If you have never read a Doc Savage novel, give yourself a treat and pick up a Sanctum Books Double novel at your comic book shop or at the local bookstore.  Go ahead and tell them I sent you!  It won’t get you anything, but I’d like to know their reaction!

And hey, there are even Doc Savage audiobooks available to purchase and listen to.  Check out You Tube, to see if that’s something you would enjoy.  And please check out my two RETRO REVIEW columns to see what I have to say about the comic book Doc Savage adaptations!

This is Greg Turner, at Back to the Past Pop Culture TV, thanks for watching!

About Greg Turner

Greg Turner (@gregturner16) is Back to the Past’s archivist and an auctioneer. He writes the columns “Fabulous Finds” and “Retro Reviews” on alternating weeks for the website and spins classic 45′s each week for Vinyl Tuesdays.


  1. More pulp goodness!

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