Friday, July 24, 2015

When the Avengers Met Doc Savage

"Avengers Battle the Earth-Wrecker" painting by Bob McGinnis. "Great Gold Steal" painting by Mitchell Hooks
The first Marvel Comics novels were published in 1967 and 1968, and I enjoyed them both (their design clearly owed more than a little to the then-popular Bantam Doc Savage paperback series).
Doc Savage cover by James Bama
They were probably only the fourth and fifth novels based on comic book superheroes, after the Superman hardcover based on the 1940s radio show and two Batman paperbacks inspired by the 1960s TV show.
Apparently Stan Lee objected to the choice of Otto Binder to write the Avengers novel (which did turn out to be mediocre). But Binder went over Lee's head to the publisher to land the job. That explains the fact that Lee did next to nothing to promote the paperback in the comic books. The Captain America novel, written by Ted White in an Ian Fleming-influenced style, was better.
Oddly, although Iron Man is a main character in the Avengers novel, he is not featured in the cover art — something that would never happen today. 


  1. I really liked the Avengers novel and it was later loosely adapted in the comic book cannon. Never read the Cap on though.

  2. I bought the Captain America paperback when it came out. In fact, I think I may still have it somewhere.

  3. That Cap with a ray-gun cover always reminded me of the Captain Action/Captain America set.I love Wanda on the Avengers cover.Her costume's so tight you can see she has an "inny".