Doc Savage – Hombre de Bronce #9

Hombre de Bronce 09

My first Doc Savage reprint from Spain (published in Barcelona)!  This one reprints Marvel’s black & White Doc Savage Magazine #7 (originally presented in January 1977).  Fun to see Doc in Spanish, but reproduction is a bit muddy, as though this is a second generation reproduction instead of shot from the original art.  Perhaps understandable since all the dialogue needed to be translated and they probably didn’t want to do that on the actual original art boards.

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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Doc Savage – ReelArt Studios Statue

ReelArt Statue

Photo by Bob Bretall

This ReelArt Studios statue stands over 17 inches high, not including the 3-tiered base that adds another 2 inches to its height.  This is a Bob Larkin design sculpted by Tony Cipriano.  The statue I have, seen here, was an edition of 225 pieces.  You can see the 1966 Gold Key comic in the background as well, what a great cover on that comic!

docsavage-larkin

Image CREDIT: Bob Larkin

Here is the Bob Larkin image the statue is based on!

ReelArt also did a run of 50 in a faux bronze paint that was a BigBadToyStore.com exclusive.  I didn’t know about this one or I’d have opted for the bronze version, Doc just seems appropriate in bronze.  That said, I’m very happy with the color statue that I have, it looks like a book cover rendered in 3D.  I’d consider doubling up on a bronze painted edition if I ever found one at an affordable price.

Doc Bronze Statues

Photo by Terry Allen – Faux bronze on left, true bronze on right

Finally, there was supposed to have been a run of 30 of these statues cast in true bronze using the “lost wax” method of bronze casting that were sold for $3800 each…and those would have been terrifically sweet!  I’ve seen pictures of this version and it’s absolutely gorgeous.  It’s a good thing I didn’t see it before it was sold out or I’d have had to think of a way to convince my wife to let me spend $3800.  I have heard that there may not have been 30 cast after all.  I heard that only 2 were actually made, a run limited by the number of people ready & willing to shell out that $3800, I’d wager.

There are some high-end Doc Savage collectors out there.  Since I collect so many other things I’m just not as on top of all the Doc collectibles as I could be if I had a razor focus in just collecting Doc.  I’m not in that top tier of Doc collectors, but I think I’m at least a few rungs up the ladder from the bottom…

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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Put a Little Savage Under Your Mouse

Doc Mousepad

Photo CREDIT: Bob Bretall Image CREDIT: Joe DeVito

My old Doc Savage mouse pad was getting pretty beat up from years of use.  It was one that blended a Baumhofer Doc, with Ron Ely & a James Bama image.  Obviously something someone photoshopped together, made up, and was bootlegging on eBay, but it was cool so I bought it and used it for years.

When I decided I wanted a new pad and also wanted to continue the Doc tradition, I looked around for something officially licensed.  Not finding anything I decided to cut out the middle man and searched the internet for a likely image that I used to create a one-off mousepad for myself using Zazzle.  I found the great image by Joe DeVito shown here. I’m not mass producing or selling these so hopefully the gods of pirated images will forgive me my one-off transgression here, made for personal use.
EDIT: Thanks to someone on the Fearun group on Facebook, I have messaged Joe to see how I can compensate him for using his image.

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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Doc Savage – Pencil Drawing by Golden Age artist Ken Bald

KenBald_DocSavage

From the collection of Bob Bretall

Ken Bald has still got it.  He was born in 1920 and has worked for Timely Comics (the predecessor to Marvel), Fawcett, Street & Smith, ACG, and King Features, among other work in the illustration field.  To still be rendering art like this at 94?  Applause to you, Mr. Bald, well done!

When I saw this delicately rendered pencil image of Doc, I had to have it.  Mr. Bald has done an exquisite job of capturing the Doc Savage I grew up with on the Bantam paperback covers (though different from the “full head of hair” Doc that was on the pulp covers when he was working for Street & Smith in 1941-42).

Check out the Ken Bald web-site and see if you’d like a sketch, print, or commission yourself.

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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Doc Savage – George Perez Pencil Drawing

Doc Savage by George Perez0001

From the collection of Bob Bretall

This is a REALLY early example of George Perez’s work, from the era when he started comics in the 1970s working for Marvel. Some nice detail (I love how we’d get his name on the belt buckle just so you know who it is you’re looking at) from the Marvel Comics era of Doc’s career in comics.

Perez Signature 2014My main concern in purchasing this piece was the signature, it’s certainly not the signature Perez uses today.  But some research turned up the fact that he changed his somewhat illegible early signature into what we see today.  If you look at this image of a sanctioned “all the creators signing a limited edition” you can see that the Perez signature matches what we have here in general form.

Perez Signature

In any event, a nice image of Doc and a great addition to my Doc Savage collection by an iconic comics artist.

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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Doc Savage #8 – Original Cover Art by Alex Ross

Bob+Doc#8
Photo Credit: Daniel Corey

I happen to LOVE Alex Ross art; ever since I saw his work on Marvels in 1994.  His work on Kingdom Come in 1996 cemented his position as one of my favorite artists of all time. I have several lithographs of his work in my comics room at home right now.  But no originals.

Slap an Alex Ross cover on a comic and I’ll buy it (well, not if it’s a 1:75 chase cover, but I’ll buy it if it’s a regular priced comic!)  Alex Ross covers on the recent Doc Savage series from Dynamite?  Wow!  I’m very happy! A lot of Doc fanatics seem to decry this current series, but I’m loving it, it’s the best IMHO since the 1970s B&W Marvel magazine.  When I was browsing the original art at the Alex Ross booth at the recent 2014 San Diego Comic Con I saw a number of Ross’ recent Doc Savage covers up for sale.  Since the Doc Savage fan is a much rarer breed than super-hero fans they were all significantly less expensive than any cover with a Marvel/DC super-hero on it.  An extra benefit for me, since the Doc covers were the most appealing to me!

Then it became a matter of deciding which one to get, a little wheeling & dealing, both with the guys at the booth to get a little better price AND with my wife so she would not kill me in my sleep upon my return home.  Ultimately, the deal was made and I was the happy owner of the original cover painting to the (at that moment) yet to be released Doc Savage #8.  That was Friday morning and I then proceeded to attend a lot of panels at the Con because I was done with spending for the duration.  The first time in 24 years I went the majority of Friday, and All Saturday/Sunday without spending a single $1 at SDCC.  For interested parties, you can see all my highlights of SDCC 2014 here.

Now that I’m home again, I need to get this framed & onto the wall!  I think it will be displacing an Alex Ross lithograph of the Justice League of America…

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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Doc Savage – Graphitti Designs Bust by Randy Bowen

Doc Bowen Bust

This is the “grand old man” of my Doc Savage collection.  This is the cold cast porcelain bust. It stands about 9 inches high and is painted in a bronze color from an edition size of 543, commemorating Doc’s 60th anniversary.  It was sculpted by Randy Bowen based on a design by the great James Bama and issued by Graphitti Designs (this was before Randy Bowen had created Bowen Designs).

It came out when my kids were very young, my wife had quit her job to be a stay at home Mom and money was TIGHT.  Purchasing this at the time was an extravagance, but I had to have it.  I think it was $100, which was quite a lot for mew to spend in those days.

There was also a version of this cast in real bronze that shipped in a wooden crate (an edition size of only 60 on this one)!  My understanding is that the bronze retailed for $1200 back when it first came out, which was certainly more than  I could afford back then.  Heck, I’m not sure I’d be willing to spend $1200 on a bust today and I’m certain the bronze edition sells for MUCH more today ($5000+ ???)

I am completely happy with the “regular” one that I got.  I remember bringing this treasure home and putting it on display.  Even now, many years later, it remains my favorite piece of Doc memorabilia (until/if I ever lay my hands on something actually cast in bronze….)

Bob Bretall – bob@comicspectrum.com
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