Since this is my third post about the pulp magazines I bought at a "Vintage Vegas" antique store the last time Judy and I visited that city, it's only fitting that this post follow the hallowed "Rule of Three" for movie series (and just about anything else you want to apply it to).
In the 1950s, Universal Studios produced three films starring the Creature (or Gill Man, as some prefer). The films were THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, THE REVENGE OF THE CREATURE and THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US. Those titles are so much better than simply CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON II or CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON III, that my buddy Kelly Greene and I came up with the "Rule of Three" several years ago. Simply put, if there's a third entry in any film series, that film should be entitled Fill-In-The-Blank Walks Among Us, instead something prosaic and dull like Fill-In-The-Blank III.
For example, I'm planning to see IRON MAN 3 when it opens next week. But come on, IRON MAN 3? How boring is that? Wouldn't you rather go up to the box office and ask to purchase a ticket for IRON MAN WALKS AMONG US? I know I would.
Getting back to the subject of this post, the third pulp magazine I bought on that fateful day is pictured above. It's THE SECRET OF THE SU from November 1943. By this time in the publishing history of DOC SAVAGE magazine, things had definitely changed from the golden years of the 1930s. The size of the magazine was smaller, both in dimensions and page count. Doc had, by this time, become more of a "science detective" solving murder mysteries and other weird crimes instead of a globe-trotting super adventurer fighting evil on a worldwide basis. The stories were shorter in length and didn't always feature all five members of Doc's team. Still, a DOC SAVAGE pulp from 1943 is nothing to be ashamed of and I'm thrilled to own it.
Pictured above is the DOC SAVAGE double volume (published by Bantam with cover art by Bob Larkin) which reprinted THE SECRET OF THE SU. When the Bantam reprint series got around to these shorter Doc adventures, Bantam started publishing them in a two-for-one format. This format lasted for awhile before reverting to an "omnibus" format, a big, thick paperback book that reprinted as many as four Doc novels in one volume. Kudos to Bantam for hanging in there and eventually reprinting the entire run of DOC SAVAGE in whatever format was feasible.