Son of Doc

June 29, 1940 – Superman Daily strip

The paralyzing nerve pinch used by Doc Savage shows up in the Superman daily comic strip.

Summer 1940 – Batman #2

It sounds as if Batman is going to take the Joker to the Crime College for a cure.

January 23, 1944, “The Spirit # 191, Murder By Magic– People are being murdered after opening packages mailed to them.  The boxes are empty upon inspection by the police authorities.  The Spirit learns that Dr. Hoodoo is including a deadly tsetse fly in the package.  The fly is one specially bred by the mastermind whose bite is instantly fatal. 

This idea is very similar to that in “The Invisible Box Murders” published in November 1941.  In that Doc Savage story, mosquitoes are used to carry poison that immediately kills the victim.

March 12, 1944, “The Spirit # 198, Double Eagle” – An Indian chief shows up with a pet bear.  He possesses a secret that a criminal gang is trying to obtain.  He explains in the story’s conclusion; My tribe has long had a secret herb that can cure many diseases!  It turns out Chief Double-Eagle has developed a serum from the herbs and inoculated his pet bear with it.  The Spirit makes sure the new serum is turned over to the National Health Association. 

Doc Savage encounters a similar herb in “The Secret of the Su” (November 1943).  The Su are a reclusive tribe secretly living in the Florida Everglades.  Their secret is an herb with miraculous healing powers.  This is a wartime story, and it is quickly explained how this new drug will save the lives of American soldiers.  In both stories, a criminal gang plans to capture the secret and then cash it in for big bucks.

January 16, 1945 – Mandrake the Magician

This story mimics an idea that first appeared in the October 1939 Doc Savage story titled “The Stone Man.”

August 16, 1947 – Radio Patrol

The disappearing bulled first used in the Doc Savage story “The Squeaking Goblin” (August 1934) shows up here.

March 13, 1949 – Little Orphan Annie


There are some similarities between the Little Orphan Annie newspaper comic strip and the Doc Savage stories. The single most common item is a sense of cosmic justice. We have seen in many of the Doc Savage stories where the villain brings about his own demise. The same kind of rough justice is dispensed like clockwork throughout the Little Orphan Annie series.

The June 1945 issue of Doc Savage featured a story titled “The Terrible Stork.” The main item in the story was a metal statue that many people desperately wanted. It turned out that this little statue was actually a tuning fork that was also a key used to open a secret vault of war-time loot. Harold Gray includes a similar trick in one of his stories. The Sunday strip for March 13, 1949, depicts Annie using a special whistle to open a secret door to a treasure cavern.

May 16, 1948 – Johnny Hazzard

The strip takes readers to the heart of the Sargasso Sea.  This is the same local Doc Savage visited in “The Sargasso Ogre” in the October 1933 story.  Of course, Lester Dent borrowed the original idea from a 1909 story by Crittenden Marriott titled “The Isle of Dead Ships.”

August 25, 1950 – Dick Tracy

“He had a secret hold that was absolutely paralyzing. He could black-out a man by seizing a certain nerve.”

The villain’s name is T.V. Wiggles, a former wrestler who was kicked out of the ring for underworld dealings. 

August 27, 1962 – Dick Tracy

“The Secret in the Sky” is a Doc Savage adventure from May 1935. The central theme in this story is an amazing sky conveyance that propels occupants thousands of miles across the country in a fraction of the time then required by more conventional conveyances. This is initially pointed out by the death of Willard Spanner who calls Doc Savage’s New York headquarters at 12:02pm from San Francisco, California. Spanner’s location is confirmed by newspaper accounts reporting his kidnapping in San Francisco less than half an hour after calling Doc’s office. Amazingly, Spanner’s body turns up in New York City less than three hours after his reported abduction in California. Some mysterious force had whisked Spanner’s body over 2,500 miles across the country in less than three hours. This was faster than the speed of sound and no known aircraft was yet capable of achieving that speed. In fact, this speed would not be achieved until 1947 when US Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier flying the experimental rocket propelled Bell X-1.

Moving forward to August 27, 1962, the Dick Tracy newspaper strip begins a new story involving Diet Smith’s Space Coupe. There are several items in this story that parallel the earlier Doc Savage story. Both stories involve a ship that travels at previously unheard-of speeds. The Space Coupe was a revolutionary space craft that utilized magnetic forces as propulsion while the craft in the Doc Savage story was spherical and propelled by nullifying gravitational waves. The incredible incident depicted in “The Secret in the Sky” with Willard Spanner is reproduced in the Dick Tracy story. Tracy’s author and artist, Chester Gould, introduces a newspaper editor named Jose Gomets of La Paz, Bolivia. Gomets is in town to speak at an International Law Enforcement Association meeting. The criminal gang whose activities Gomets is going to expose kidnap him after hijacking the Space Coupe and dump his body in his hometown in Bolivia some 3,300 miles away. The strip notes that this is only 35 minutes after he had given his speech in town. One more item of interest remains. In the Doc Savage story, the strange craft are referred to as “comets.” Gould makes a pun by naming his La Paz newspaper editor “Gomets.”


July 18, 1971 – Dick Tracy

August 10, 1971 – Dick Tracy

Johnny Scorn’s escape vehicle is a straight copy of the flearun used by Doc Savage.  It even operates using compressed air just like the one Doc used.


February 1, 2017 – Dick Tracy

Oliver Warbucks remarks on silphium and Doc Savage.  Silphium appeared in the Doc Savage September 1934 story “Fear Cay.”

The Buzz Sawyer daily comic strip used an idea previously seen in “Men of Fear” first published in February 1942

April 8, 1961