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Doc Savage (1966 series) #1 Comic Book

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The Thousand-Headed Man

Date of Publication
November 1966
Cover Price

Our Rating:
3 stars


Leo Dorfman
Jack Sparling
Jack Sparling
James Bama
Cover Penciler

Comic Book Synopsis / Plot

Written by Peter Silvestro

Doc Savage arrives at the London airport to a large reception; a stranger tosses him a package for safekeeping and melts into the crowd. Opening the package later, Doc finds it contains a key made of a plastic substance. The stranger, Maples, is captured by Asian crimelord Sen-Gat who forces him to reveal that he gave the key to Doc Savage. Three of Sen-Gat’s henchmen arrive at Doc’s hotel to collect the key but are dissuaded by a whiff of nerve gas released by Monk. Doc trails them to Sen-Gat’s hideout where he hypnotizes the villain into relating the tale of a legendary monster known as the Thousand-Headed Man who inhabits a lost city in the Cambodian jungle and of the three keys needed to find the creature’s great treasure. The third key is revealed to be in the possession of Lucille Copeland, who, after mistakenly attacking Doc, fills in the rest of the story: her explorer father discovered the City of the Thousand-Headed Man and returned later with the keys and a larger party including his wife, daughter, and Maples. Most of the group vanished mysteriously, with only Lucille and Maples escaping back to England. Maples tried to enlist the help of Sen-Gat in organizing a rescue, but the villain was only interested in the treasure and took Maples’ key. Meanwhile, Sen-Gat has captured Doc’s men and offers to trade them for the keys. Doc rescues his men but finds that Lucille and Maples have been decoyed to Cambodia by a crook impersonating Monk. They pursue the villains to the jungle, recover the keys left in Lucille’s plane and set out on the river journey to the lost city. On the way, Doc’s aides are kidnapped again. Arriving at the city he finds it guarded by deadly spitting cobras and his men, Lucille and her father’s party, and Sen-Gat and company all prisoners of the cult of Thousand-Headed Men, the plethora of heads being a costume worn by cult members. Doc rescues all the captives and Sen-Gat and his gang proceed to loot the temple and escape. Copeland reveals that the keys were molded out of the substance which immunizes the natives to the cobra venom; Monk had already realized this, melted the keys down and soaked his shirt in the solution. Doc and Monk then make enough of the antidote to enable them to defeat the Thousand-Headed Men and escape. On the way out, they find Sen-Gat and his men dead, victims of the deadly cobras. They recover the loot and agree to divide it between the Copelands and Cambodian schools.



Peter Silvestro (February 15, 2010)
a) Intended as a tie-in to a never-produced film, to star Chuck Connors; b) no more published in the series; c) story adapted from the novel of the same name by “Kenneth Robeson” (Lester Dent); d) the story is set in modern times, not the 1930s; e) the character artwork is clearly derived from the James Bama thumbnail on the back cover of the Bantam series; f) Doc is colored with bronze skin and blonde hair, as per Bama’s cover painting; g) Monk’s last name is given as “Blodgett” in the story and the profile of the aides on the inside back cover; h) Doc mentions Tarzan at one point.

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By Peter Silvestro

The adaptation is very good, fast-paced and entertaining, remaining very faithful to the plot and capturing the spirit of the original, though the aides besides Monk are given nothing to do (Lester Dent had this problem too); it’s Jack Sparling’s rough and unattractive art that makes this hard to enjoy, with the characters looking too old, though otherwise it’s the standard Gold Key look.

Score: 3 (out of 5)