Monday, January 17, 2011

Pulp of the Week - Doc Savage #21

The Sea Magician - November 1934

Well, in the last installment, William Harper Littlejohn - Johnny - was off stage in England and that is where this adventure begins. Johnny takes some time out from his lecture series to investigate a murder said to be caused by King John's ghost.

Well, as we can all imagine, it is not a ghost at all and there is another nefarious scheme afoot. Doc Savage, Monk, and Ham arrive on a steamer (why they didn't take a superfast plane I don't know) and the mystery expands to an island off the coast of England that is a soverign nation. A scientist has figured out a method of extracting gold from sea water and is raising money to further the project.

There is also a girl - the inventor's daughter - that is beautiful and strangely gets herself in trouble. Johnny gets in trouble, too. Oh, and people complain about taxes. 

There is a nice bit where one of the crooks describes seeing an old friend that had tangled with Doc and that he was now "as honest as they come." I guess that friend visited one of Doc's crime colleges.

Chris Kalb's 86th Floor website also has some of the other features from the pulp magazines. Here are a few letters to the editors from this issue.

DENVER GREEN, West Virginia.       I have read your magazine from Volume 1, Number 1, the very first issue, and I think that it is the very best magazine on the market to-day regardless of price or size. It combines clean, wholesome literature with the zip and tang of action and adventure. It's hard to express the kind of satisfaction I feel when I settle into a chair and open the latest issue of your magazine. It's sort of a floating-on-air feeling. I don't have to tell the salesman at our nearest bookstore what magazine I want when I walk in. All I do is whistle and he hands me the newest Doc Savage. I've converted several of my friends to your magazine, too.      I enclose my membership blank, please enroll me as a member of your club. I am hoping it will turn out up to my expectations. Yours is the only magazine club I ever joined. On the whole, your magazine is the best magazine in the good old U. S. A.

MISS E. GIBBONS, MISS M. SCOTLAND, Canada.      May two girls tell you how much they enjoy your magazine and hope to enjoy the Doc Savage Club if you will let us? The stories about Doc are very educational as well as interesting, so we wish you plenty of luck, and hope you continue the good work.

HECTOR R. ANTON, California.      I am sending in my application in order to join your club. I have been reading your magazine, and think it is one of the best in the market. I am only a boy of fourteen but, nevertheless, I want to join your club because I feel that now is the time to build up my ideals. If every young boy or girl joined and followed Doc Savage's creed, I think there would be less of the crime committed by minors and young men and women. I hope my application will be accepted. I am eagerly awaiting my membership card and pin.   

I read my Bantam paperback #44 1st Edition, January 1970 for this review. I'll give The Sea Magician a 7 out of 10. The action is pretty good and it is nice to not have Habeas Corpus around this time. 

The Pulp cover is by Walter Baumhofer, the interior illustrations (also from the 86th Floor site) are by Paul Orban. The Bantam cover is by James Bama.

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