Thursday, August 23, 2012

Doc Savage vs. Mythical

I've admitted it- I tried to use the wonderful Doc Savage novels as a model for how the Mythical series should be paced and structured. But that recently got me thinking... how much do Doc and his Brain Trust share in common with the men and women of Mythical?
Let's start with the leaders. Doc Savage and Colonel Mark Kenslir.
Doc Savage is a large man, about 6'2" if I read correctly. He is covered in muscles and is in peak physical perfection. He never seems to age, due no doubt to his clean living and a scientifice diet. He's also a super-genius, an expert in many fields, and the world's greatest surgeon. Doc looks a bit odd as well, with bronze-hued tan skin and flake-gold eyes and his hair cut very short, resembling a skullcap. He is a master at unarmed combat and carries a variety of scientific devices with him at all times. Doc primarily lives on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and has a fabulous, untold wealth of Mayan gold. Doc is an accomplished pilot, diver... pretty much any skill needed, he has. Doc was a fighter pilot in the US Army in World War 1.
Mark Kenslir is 6'4" tall, and also overly muscled. He never does age, due to the multiple curses on him. He's not a surgeon or a scientist, or even a super genius. He has jetblack hair, cut in a short flattop, and has black-green eyes. He is a master at unarmed, and armed combat, and uses a variety of devices and weapons. He resides in a 22 story tall building just outside of Miami, FL. As a sixty-three year veteran of the military, he has undoubtably accumulated a fair amount of money. He is a skilled combatant, who's exact training and abilities remain to be seen. He fought in the Korean War and most conflicts since.
All in all, the two are very similar. If we took it literally, Doc would lose any hand-to-hand fight. Mark Kenslir has super human strength, and can heal any wound. While Doc seems super human, he does face the limitations of mortality. When it comes to crimefighting or solving mysteries, Doc clearly has the advantage. Mark Kenslir is a veteran soldier, skilled at warfare. He may have other skills, but he relies on support from the U.S. Armed Forces to help him solve most problems his own personal strengths can't solve.
But Doc Savage is more than one man, he is aided by his Brain Trust- the Fabulous Five. His former Army companions, who are masters in their own fields, and fearless adventurers who join Doc in his philanthropic globe hopping on a regular basis. They Are Col. John "Renny" Renwick, a massive, 6'4" man who is a master engineer, a taltented brawler and who enjoys punching through doors. Then there's Andrew Blodgett "Monk" Mayfair, a gorilla-looking master chemist who is second only to Doc in fighting, and scientific ability. General Theodore Marley "Ham" Brooks, a dapper attorney of wide-renown and master swordsman. Major Thomas J. "Longtom" Roberts, an electrical engineer that possibly rivaled Nickolai Tesla himself. And finally, William Harper "Johnny" Littlejohn, a world-renowned archaeologist.
Doc's five aides always seemed to be on hand in the books to help Doc stop evildoers and protect the innocent. They were even aided on occasions by Pat Savage, a blonde-haired cousin of Doc who was a proficient fighter and crackshot.
Mark Kenslir commands a small detachment of super soldiers and paranormal support personnel tasked with defending the United States at home and abroad. In Book 1, Kenslir's has four Stone Soldiers- men turned to living stone, possessing super human strength, and years of combat experience. All but one of the stone soldiers are killed by their opponent. Kenslir soon begins rebuilding his operational team, turning a teenage motorcross rider into a new Stone Soldier, and enlisting the aid of a teenage girl who unlocks her own cryokinetic powers- possessing the ability to freeze things with her mind. In Book 2, Kenslir adds two more operatives, a spunky FBI agent, and her partner, a postcognitive empath who accepts the offer to become a man of living stone himself. The team is aided by the U.S. Military's Ghost Walkers- spies who use astral projection to gather information, first hand, from anywhere on earth- and telepaths who probe the minds of allies and enemies.
In Book 3, Kenslir will be joined by two more aides: Chadwick Phillips, a former super soldier gifted with electrokinesis, the ability to generate and control electricity, and who also becomes a stone soldier, and Dr. Laura Olson, a vampire.
There are similarities, to be sure. But the adventures of Doc Savage tended to revolve around stopping a single villain, a criminal mastermind, for succeeding in some villainous plan to make money. Rarely did Doc deal with politics or threats to national security.
Mythical may incorporate many of the elements of the Doc Savage pulps, but it features super-villains, and broader-reaching dangers.

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