Doc Savage, born Clark Savage Jr. was trained from birth by scientists to the peak mental and physical feats of man. He excelled in all subjects of any manner ranging from Medicine to Ventriloquism to even neurology, the study of the brain something that was largely considered science-fiction in his time period. His father Clark Savage Sr. was a great explorer and humanitarian known and renowned throughout the world. He would live by a simple code: "Right wrongs and punish evildoers".
When war broke out in Europe during the late 1910's Doc was captured and thrown into POW camp where he would meet William Harper Littlejohn, one of the world's foremost experts on Geology and Archaeology. Johnny as he was called would become the first member of Doc Savage's Amazing Crew or The Fab Five as they were later known. When the camp was liberated it was then Doc would meet the other four members of his crew. The second member would Lt. Colonel Andrew Blodgett Mayfair or "Monk" as he was called because of his ape-like appearance, he was an Industrial Chemist and often carried his pig Habeas Corpus along with him. Monk was known for having a rivalry with Ham, Brigadier General Theodore Harley Brooks, a Harvard graduate and Lawyer. He frequently carried his sword cane with him and always dressed in a suit and tie. The fourth member of his crew would Col. John "Renny" Renwick, an engineer. The fifth and final member of the crew was Long Tom, an electrical wizard. Together they vowed they would stick together through anything and everything.
Doc Savage was created by Lester Dent, Henry Ralston, and John Nanovic in 1933. He originally appeared in novels before making appearances in comics; with the first being The Man of Bronze in 1933. Dent would write nearly all of the 180 Doc Savage stories during his lifetime. His first comic book appearance was in Shadow Comics #1.
Skills & Abilities
In his time Doc Savage learned and mastered many styles of martial arts, making him a very formidable opponent in hand-to-hand combat. He is also one the smartest men ever to have lived, demonstrating that when he built his Fortress of Solitude and when creating all of his many gadgets throughout the years. He is also a skilled imitator of voices, though he does some trouble with the voices of women. Dent described him as having "Sherlock Holmes's deductive abilities, Tarzan's physical abilities, Craig Kennedy's scientific education, and Abraham Lincoln's goodness".
While Doc Savage may no longer be a very well-known character he is considered one of the most influential characters created. The most famous character he ever influenced was Superman, he and Doc Savage share many similarities some of those include: Doc's real first name is Clark which is the first name of Superman's alter ego Clark Kent. Superman's famous epithet "The Man of Steel" was influenced by Doc Savage being "The Man of Bronze".
In Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics the character or Mr. Braunze that was introduced and played a prominent role in the second volume is said to be a homage to Doc Savage. The similarities between Braunze and Doc are more obvious in his appearance in Tales of the TMNT vol. 2 #49 in which he uses hypnosis and has a base similar to Doc's fortress of solitude but in the Nevada desert and is the leader of a group very similar to the Fabulous Five. The cover of the book has a ninja turtle dressed similar to Doc.
Much of Doc's technology were inventions of his own and he has been known to use night vision goggles, rail guns, hand-held automatic weapons called "rapid fires" which fired tranquilizers like "mercy bullets" rather than actual bullets.
Unlike most characters, Doc Savage has at one time or another over the years been published by numerous companies including Marvel, DC, Millennium, and Dark Horse. As a result, he has no definitive, linear continuity and history to refer to.
During Doc Savage's year at Marvel Comics in 1972, he resided on Earth-616 as evidenced by a team-up between him and Ben Grimm. Though since then, Marvel Comics has substantially changed Earth-616 and has since lost the rights to several other publishers, and the rights are currently owned by DC Comics.
Due to that, Marvel was unable to reprint the issue featuring Doc and The Thing as they are unable to publish stories featuring him. Though he still exists as part of the Marvel Universe's history, like other formerly licensed characters, he cannot be depicted or mentioned by name.
DC's Earth One (Post Crisis Multiverse)
Dennis O'Neil's Doc Savage series in the late 1980's took place on an Earth called Earth One. The Earth One that Doc and his associates live on is a different Earth from that of the one where the mainstream DCU characters live. Also on that Earth was The Shadow as shown in two issues of Doc Savage that featured a crossover with the two characters.
Doc had a series in the 1990's by Millennium Comics, as Millennium does not have a shared universe it is unknown where he lived. The same also applies to Dark Horse's Doc Savage.
In the Rocketeer's first full debut, Doc Savage is shown to be the inventor of the rocket pack though his name is not used as Dave Stevens didn't want to pay to use the character.
Doc Savage and Justice, Inc
Set in The First Wave Universe, Doc and his Amazing Crew are battling a group of bandits attempting to raise Genghis Khan from his grave. Currently writing for the title is J.G. Jones and Dan Panosian is doing art duties. Previously Doc teamed up with Batman and The Spirit to stop a secret organization called The Golden tree from starting a war that threatens the entire Earth. Shortly thereafter Doc is attacked in New York City along with his cousin Patricia Savage. During that time he learns of the death of his father and the many secrets he hid from him. The series was later canceled.
In Other Media
Before appearing in comics, Doc appeared in Pulp Magazines and his stories were also published in novels. He was published by Street and Smith up until the 1950's when they were bought out. He would then not be featured in any stories until his rights were purchased by Gold Key in the late 1960's. During the early to mid 70's his rights then went to Marvel Comics. In the late 70's, Doc once again returned to novels with The Red Spider by Lester Dent. He would return to comics in the late 80's with DC Comics publishing a series and during the 90's, his rights were thrown around from company to company and even Jose Phillip Farmer was able to get his rights in 1991 as part of his Wold Newton Family.
The Man of Bronze
Doc Savage has only been adapted once into a film,1975's Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze. The film was loosely based on the first novel in the series, The Man of Bronze. The film featured Ron Ely who was most famous for playing Tarzan on TV as Doc Savage. The film was not well received and so the sequel to it, Doc Savage: The Archenemy of Evil was never completed.