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Prepare yourself, reader!
Comicdom may never be the same after Robby reveals...

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SECRET ORIGINS OF THE FANTASTIC FOUR

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Part 1 of 3:
"FRANKLY MY DEAR, I'LL BE
SUPERAMALGAMATED!"


If you think you know the origin of the FF... think again! Because the real, true secret origin of the Fantastic Four didn't begin in 1961, it started way back in 1932, with a man named Clark -- a man of celluloid who would lend his name to both a Man of Bronze and a Man of Steel.

As the leading movie star of his era, Clark Gable was the idol of millions. His then-current movie, Red Dust (1932), starring Gable as a plantation owner romancing blonde bombshell Jean .Harlow, had been a huge hit, so when it came time for pulp publishers Street and Smith to fashion a name and likeness for their new adventure hero, it was only natural that they look to Gable. Street and Smith named their hero Dr. Clark Savage Jr. -- or, as he is .better known -- Doc Savage.

The man who painted Doc’s first cover, Walter Baumhofer, was explicitly told to make Doc look “very much like Clark Gable.” Baumhofer wasn’t totally faithful to Gable's looks with his first Doc cover (pictured left), but an interior illustrator was. Compare the publicity photo of Gable pictured with the drawing of Doc from his second adventure, the January 1933 pulp, “The Land of Terror.” The likeness is striking.

Gable and Doc also had roles in the creation of Superman. Like Clark Savage, Clark Kent also took his first name from Clark Gable. Not only that, but Doc called his headquarters the Fortress Of Solitude. And get this -- Doc was billed as a “Superman” in 1934, five full years before the Man of Steel (not bronze!) first appeared in Action Comics #1! Here’s a 1934 house ad for Doc Savage magazine, courtesy of Jim Steranko's History of Comics:

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Master of mind and body! So who IS this Doc Savage, Man of Bronze? And what does he have to do with the Fantastic Four? Just this: the FF was not inspired by the Justice League, as the old story has it, but by Doc Savage and his cast of supporting characters! A shocking claim -- but a claim that I, Robby Reed, intend to back up with facts. Starting with the fact that Doc and his supporting cast, who wore no uniforms and had no secret identities, were often called “The Fabulous Five.” Let’s meet the team, in words taken mainly from the Doc Savage pulps, with key words and phrases in boldface:

DOC SAVAGE AND THE FABULOUS FIVE

. DOC SAVAGE
CLARK SAVAGE Jr.

As a small child, Clark Savage, Jr. was brought up by scientists, placed there by his father, to insure that he would have the best training possible. Doc is an expert in many fields, including chemistry, physics, and engineering. Doc Savage is a real medical doctor -- a surgeon, the best the world has ever seen. At 6' 8'', Doc is a large man, and he became known as the Man of Bronze because of his skin color, a golden bronze. His eyes are brown, flecked with gold, and posses a strong hypnotic quality. Doc is extremely strong, and his senses are developed far beyond those of the average person.

. PAT SAVAGE
PATRICA SAVAGE

Not an official member of Doc's Fabulous Five, Pat is Doc Savage’s cousin. "She has Doc's metallic coloring -- bronze skin, flake-gold eyes -- and is extremely attractive. A beautiful woman herself, Pat operates one of New York's most exclusive beauty salons, and constantly yearns for excitement. Though highly capable, her participation in the adventures of Doc and his aids is usually against Doc's wishes, for he believes the work of his group too dangerous for a girl."

. JOHNNY
WILLIAM HARPER LITTLEJOHN

“Very tall, very gaunt. He looked like a half-starved, studious scientist ... underneath his gaunt appearance burns a strength and fire unbelievable -- a strength equal to that of the strongest man. Johnny loves big words. He will never use a small one if he can find a big one to use. His favorite exclamation, usually heard at least once per adventure, is 'I'll be superamalgamated!' "


. MONK
LT. COLONEL ANDREW BLODGETT MAYFAIR

"Only a few inches over five feet tall, he weighs better than two hundred and sixty pounds. He had the build of a gorilla, arms six inches longer than his legs, a chest thicker than it was wide. His eyes were surrounded by gristle, as to resemble pleasant little stars twinkling in pits. His mouth was so very big it looked like an accident.” Monk has a long-running feud with Ham.


. HAM
BRIGADIER GEN. THEODORE MARLEY BROOKS

"Slender, waspy, quick-moving, Gen. Brooks ("Ham") was the most astute lawyer Harvard ever turned out. Ham’s long-standing squabble with Monk dates back to WWI, when Ham, played a practical joke on Monk that landed him in the guardhouse. After Monk's release, Gen. Brooks was accused of stealing some hams, and the evidence was found in his quarters. He denied the theft, and his agile tongue got him out of the scrape. Somebody had planted the hams, and Monk acted entirely too innocent about the matter."

. RENNY
COLONEL JOHN RENWICK

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A giant of a man who towers four inches over six feet. His arms were enormous, his fists bony monstrosities. His face is severe, his mouth thin and grim ... He weighs fully two hundred and fifty. His favorite act is to slam his great fists through the solid panel of a heavy door."


. LONG TOM
MAJOR THOMAS J. ROBERTS

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The physical weakling of the crowd -- thin, not very tall, and with a none-too-healthy-appearing skin. Small in stature, his brain holds an enormous amount of learning. It is he who furnishes Doc’s electrical equipment and radio devices. Not even to the other team members know Long Tom helped Doc construct his hidden headquarters, the Fortress of Solitude."




''Monk, Ham and Their Private War''

Monk and Ham had a long-standing squabble that dates back to the first World War. (Doc's early adventures took place in the 1930s, long before WWII started.) This private war was referred to often during the course of Doc's adventures, and in answer to reader demand, publishers Street and Smith sometimes ran the following sidebar explaining the story behind the feud in detail:

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Secret Origin of Robby's ''Secret Origins of the FF'' Cover

The original cover! Robby Reed's FF version!
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A team of adventurers with no secret identities ... a genius who loves big words ... a human gorilla ... a female related to another team member ... a long-standing feud ... reader, this isn't the END of the similarities between Doc Savage's crew and the Fantastic Four, it's just the BEGINNING...

Click here for "Secret Origins of the FF" - PART TWO!

 






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