BRONZE ICON
The Doc Savage Stories : 1933 - 1949
25.  Statistics
Cover  |  Table of Contents
 

STORY LENGTH
One potent factor in the series' decline is novel length.  Stories printed in 1933 had an average length of 50,000 words.  Six years later, after a steady decline, the average length for 1939 stories is barely 39,000.  There is no sharp, sudden decline.  Instead, a pernicious ebbing away of essential story structure and background material occurs steadily during this period.

The decline continues.  Wartime paper shortages may be a contributing factor.  By 1943, the average dips below 34,000 words per story.  The Cold War begins in 1946 and the average moves lower to 30,700 words.  It is a sad affair.  The next three, and final years see even lower counts: 1947 - 29,000; 1948 - 28,500; 1949 - 27,500.

The Man of Bronze weighs in with 51,100 words in March 1933.  Sixteen years later, the final story, Up from the Earth's Center, finishes the series with a paltry word count of 27,600.  It is an astonishing reduction.  Story size has for all intents and purposes been cut in half.  There is a certain skill and craft involved with producing concise and precise documents.  The later Doc Savage stories do not fall within this category. 

To put a picture with this decline simply visualize words as muscle.  Beginning in 1933 Doc was weighing in around 250 pounds of solid muscle and bone.  By the end, with the novel length cut nearly in half, Doc would weigh in at an emaciated 140 pounds. 


Average words per story by year
Without doubt some good stories were printed during the decline, but not very many great stories.  The early stories were larger-than-life.  Doc Savage was everything a man could be and still be a man.  The adventures were supreme and outstanding.  The later adventures were like seeds that never received the proper amount of water and sunshine required.  They germinated, grew, and matured, never producing a fruit equal to their parents.  They never had a chance.


 Date

Pulp

   Pulp Title

Words

Mar 1933

1

   The Man of Bronze

51,100

Apr 1933

2

   The Land of Terror

56,000

May 1933

3

   Quest of the Spider

49,400

Jun 1933

4

   The Polar Treasure

46,600

Jul 1933

5

   Pirate of the Pacific

50,100

Aug 1933

6

   The Red Skull

47,800

Sep 1933

7

   The Lost Oasis

47,300

Oct 1933

8

   The Sargasso Ogre

49,000

Nov 1933

9

   The Czar of Fear

53,800

Dec 1933

10

   The Phantom City

51,500

Jan 1934

11

   Brand of the Werewolf

52,100

Feb 1934

12

   The Man Who Shook the Earth

51,000

Mar 1934

13

   Meteor Menace

48,000

Apr 1934

14

   The Monsters

47,900

May 1934

15

   The Mystery on the Snow

48,600

Jun 1934

16

   The King Maker

48,200

Jul 1934

17

   The Thousand Headed Man

54,700

Aug 1934

18

   The Squeaking Goblin

50,400

Sep 1934

19

   Fear Cay

48,600

Oct 1934

20

   Death in Silver

50,700

Nov 1934

21

   The Sea Magician

45,600

Dec 1934

22

   The Annihilist

52,200

Jan 1935

23

   The Mystic Mullah

49,500

Feb 1935

24

   Red Snow

53,000

Mar 1935

25

   Land of Always-Night

50,400

Apr 1935

26

   The Spook Legion

46,600

May 1935

27

   The Secret in the Sky

43,200

Jun 1935

28

   The Roar Devil

43,300

Jul 1935

29

   Quest of Qui

44,900

Aug 1935

30

   Spook Hole

43,600

Sep 1935

31

   The Majii

46,600

Oct 1935

32

   Dust of Death

49,700

Nov 1935

33

   Murder Melody

54,100

Dec 1935

34

   The Fantastic Island

45,200

Jan 1936

35

   Murder Mirage

50,700

Feb 1936

36

   Mystery Under the Sea

45,200

Mar 1936

37

  The Metal Master

42,400

Apr 1936

38

   The Men Who Smiled No More

47,200

May 1936

39

   The Seven Agate Devils

43,700

Jun 1936

40

   Haunted Ocean

46,400

Jul 1936

41

   The Black Spot

48,500

Aug 1936

42

   The Midas Man

40,600

Sep 1936

43

   Cold Death

46,900

Oct 1936

44

   The South Pole Terror

43,400

Nov 1936

45

   Resurrection Day

39,500

Dec 1936

46

   The Vanisher

41,300

Jan 1937

47

   Land of Long Juju

47,700

Feb 1937

48

   The Derrick Devil

43,700

Mar 1937

49

   The Mental Wizard

42,400

Apr 1937

50

   The Terror In the Navy

38,500

May 1937

51

   Mad Eyes

43,700

Jun 1937

52

   The Land of Fear

43,000

Jul 1937

53

   He Could Stop the World

44,900

Aug 1937

54

   Ost

40,700

Sep 1937

55

   The Feathered Octopus

41,600

Oct 1937

56

   Repel

42,500

Nov 1937

57

   The Sea Angel

38,500

Dec 1937

58

   The Golden Peril

44,800

Jan 1938

59

   The Living Fire Menace

37,000

Feb 1938

60

   The Mountain Monster

38,800

Mar 1938

61

   Devil On the Moon

37,000

Apr 1938

62

   The Pirate’s Ghost

41,800

May 1938

63

   The Motion Menace

38,900

Jun 1938

64

   The Submarine Mystery

37,800

Jul 1938

65

   The Giggling Ghosts

39,400

Aug 1938

66

   The Munitions Master

40,800

Sep 1938

67

   The Red Terrors

39,100

Oct 1938

68

   Fortress of Solitude

40,900

Nov 1938

69

   The Green Death

43,700

Dec 1938

70

   The Devil Genghis

39,800

Jan 1939

71

   Mad Mesa

38,700

Feb 1939

72

   The Yellow Cloud

40,700

Mar 1939

73

   The Freckled Shark

39,400

Apr 1939

74

   World’s Fair Goblin

37,600

May 1939

75

   The Gold Ogre

37,000

Jun 1939

76

   The Flaming Falcons

36,200

Jul 1939

77

   Merchants of Disaster

42,000

Aug 1939

78

   The Crimson Serpent

43,800

Sep 1939

79

   Poison Island

38,100

Oct 1939

80

   The Stone Man

36,500

Nov 1939

81

   Hex

38,500

Dec 1939

82

   The Dagger In the Sky

37,200

Jan 1940

83

   The Other World

35,900

Feb 1940

84

   The Angry Ghost

35,500

Mar 1940

85

   The Spotted Men

36,900

Apr 1940

86

   The Evil Gnome

35,700

May 1940

87

   The Boss of Terror

32,200

Jun 1940

88

   The Awful Egg

38,000

Jul 1940

89

   The Flying Goblin

35,200

Aug 1940

90

   Tunnel Terror

36,200

Sep 1940

91

   The Purple Dragon

41,100

Oct 1940

92

   Devils of the Deep

35,100

Nov 1940

93

   The Awful Dynasty

33,600

Dec 1940

94

   The Men Vanished

38,000

Jan 1941

95

   The Devil’s Playground

42,300

Feb 1941

96

   Bequest of Evil

35,900

Mar 1941

97

   The All-White Elf

40,100

Apr 1941

98

   The Golden Man

38,400

May 1941

99

   The Pink Lady

37,100

Jun 1941

100

   The Headless Men

39,700

Jul 1941

101

   The Green Eagle

39,800

Aug 1941

102

   Mystery Island

36,700

Sep 1941

103

   The Mindless Monsters

43,000

Oct 1941

104

   Birds of Death

35,900

Nov 1941

105

   The Invisible Box Murders

37,400

Dec 1941

106

   Peril in the North

37,700

Jan 1942

107

   The Rustling Death

36,700

Feb 1942

108

   Men of Fear

36,900

Mar 1942

109

   The Too-Wise Owl

39,100

Apr 1942

110

   The Magic Forest

38,700

May 1942

111

   Pirate Isle

36,200

Jun 1942

112

   The Speaking Stone

36,900

Jul 1942

113

   The Man Who Fell Up

36,800

Aug 1942

114

   The Three Wild Men

38,400

Sep 1942

115

   The Fiery Menace

37,100

Oct 1942

116

   The Laugh of Death

38,200

Nov 1942

117

   They Died Twice

34,300

Dec 1942

118

   The Devil’s Black Rock

34,600

Jan 1943

119

   The Time Terror

33,700

Feb 1943

120

   Waves of Death

36,300

Mar 1943

121

   The Black, Black Witch

34,700

Apr 1943

122

   The King of Terror

33,800

May 1943

123

   The Talking Devil

34,400

Jun 1943

124

   The Running Skeletons

31,400

Jul 1943

125

   Mystery on Happy Bones

33,700

Aug 1943

126

   The Mental Monster

33,000

Sep 1943

127

   Hell Below

32,700

Oct 1943

128

   The Goblins

34,800

Nov 1943

129

   The Secret of the Su

35,800

Dec 1943

130

   The Spook of Grandpa Eben

32,700

Jan 1944

131

   According To Plan of a One-Eyed Mystic 

33,900

Feb 1944

132

   Death Had Yellow Eyes

33,900

Mar 1944

133

   The Derelict of Skull Shoal

33,300

Apr 1944

134

   The Whisker of Hercules

35,400

May 1944

135

   The Three Devils

33,000

Jun 1944

136

   The Pharoah’s Ghost

32,700

Jul 1944

137

   The Man Who Was Scared

32,700

Aug 1944

138

   The Shape of Terror

31,600

Sep 1944

139

   Weird Valley

32,700

Oct 1944

140

   Jiu San

33,700

Nov 1944

141

   Satan Black

33,600

Dec 1944

142

   The Lost Giant

34,000

Jan 1945

143

   Violent Night

32,800

Feb 1945

144

   Strange Fish

32,400

Mar 1945

145

   The Ten Ton Snakes

32,500

Apr 1945

146

   Cargo Unknown

31,900

May 1945

147

   Rock Sinister

29,700

Jun 1945

148

   The Terrible Stork

31,000

Jul 1945

149

   King Joe Cay

31,300

Aug 1945

150

   The Wee Ones

29,800

Sep 1945

151

   Terror Takes 7

31,800

Oct 1945

152

   The Thing That Pursued

34,100

Nov 1945

153

   Trouble On Parade

31,200

Dec 1945

154

   The Screaming Man

31,600

Jan 1946

155

   Measures for A Coffin

31,400

Feb 1946

156

   Se-Pah-Poo

32,800

Mar 1946

157

   Terror and The Lonely Widow

32,000

Apr 1946

158

   Five Fathoms Dead

31,800

May 1946

159

   Death Is A Round Black Spot

32,600

Jun 1946

160

   Colors For Murder

31,800

Jul 1946

161

   Fire and Ice

25,200

Aug 1946

162

   Three Times A Corpse

31,400

Sep 1946

163

   The Exploding Lake

30,600

Oct 1946

164

   Death In Little Houses

28,000

Nov 1946

165

   The Devil Is Jones

30,400

Dec 1946

166

   The Disappearing Lady

30,700

Jan 1947

167

   Target For Death

27,200

Feb 1947

168

   The Death Lady

28,500

Mar 1947

169

   Danger Lies East

30,300

May 1947

170

   No Light To Die By

32,200

Jul 1947

171

   The Monkey Suit

26,500

Sep 1947

172

   Let’s Kill Ames

30,000

Nov 1947

173

   Once Over Lightly

28,400

Jan 1948

174

   I Died Yesterday

30,200

Mar 1948

175

   The Pure Evil

28,900

May 1948

176

   Terror Wears No Shoes

28,500

Jul 1948

177

   The Angry Canary

28,700

Sep 1948

178

   The Swooning Lady

26,100

Winter 1949

179

   The Green Master

27,400

Spring 1949

180

   Return From Cormoral

27,000

Summer 1949

181

   Up From Earth’s Center

28,300

 Note:  Counts rounded down to the nearest hundreds.