087. The Devil on the Moon Cover Mystery

A close examination of the cover for the March 1938 edition of “The Devil on the Moon” raises some interesting questions. This cover features Doc Savage and a woman who is likely Pat Savage administering a hypodermic shot. The subject is an exotically dressed woman who appears to be of Eurasian extraction. Our problem is that the only two female characters in this story are Lin Pretti and Pat Savage. Neither one receives a truth serum injection.

If we move backward in time a few months, there is a female character who matches the cover description. The female character on the cover is very reminiscent of the stunningly beautiful Lo Lar in “The Feathered Octopus.” Lo Lar is described in that story as being a breath-taking beauty of Eurasian extraction. The woman depicted on the cover of “Devil on the Moon” fits the description of Lo Lar. She certainly does not match any character depicted in that issue’s story.

“The Feathered Octopus” appeared in the September 1937 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. The cover is representative of the story. Doc Savage does indeed fight an octopus in the water at the story’s climax.

Truth serum is used profusely in both stories. However, there are only two female characters in “Devil on the Moon” and the serum is not used on either one of them. Notably, Lo Lar turns out to have a strong resistance to the truth serum used by Doc Savage. It does not work even after the double the concentration.

On the surface, it appears that Street & Smith ended up with two covers for the same story. How this happened is a mystery. There may another explanation for this situation. There may have been a misunderstanding by the artist with an “octopus” cover and a “truth serum” cover and a mixing of the two stories. Strange things happen all the time in business. We don’t the reason why, but it is apparent the cover for “Devil on the Moon” does not match the story.