Doc Savage in German

Für die Welt ist er der geheimnisvolle Mann mit der Bronzehaut und den goldenen Augen. Für seine fünf Freunde ist er der geniale Denker und Planer, der unerschrocken durch tausend Gefahren geht. Einen Mann wie Doc Savage gab es noch nie. Er ist ein Universalgenie, ein begabter Arzt und Wissenschaftler, ein tollkühner Pilot, ein unschlagbarer Karate-Kämpfer. Für die Bedrängten ist er stets ein Helfer in der Not. Für seine Fans ist er einer der größten Helden aller Zeiten, unübertroffen in seinen aufregenden Abenteuern und phantastischen Taten.

Doc Savage has never been as popular in Germany as in the USA or even France. To my knowledge, publication began with the first two Bantam stories in 1966 and 1967. Both appeared in Utopia Zukunftsroman, a weekly magazine publishing foreign (mainly British and American) science fiction material, with the odd German author tossed in for a change. Translations were often garbled, with endings differing substantially from the originals; also, texts were frequently heavily abridged.

The Thousand-Headed Man

Kenneth Robeson
Doc Savage und der rote Tod
(The Man of Bronze, translated by Horst Mayer)
Rastatt: Pabel 1966
(Utopia Zukunftsroman #494)
59 pages of text

Kenneth Robeson
Doc Savage und die sonderbaren Schlüssel
(The Thousand-Headed Man, translated by Horst Mayer)
Rastatt: Pabel 1967
(Utopia Zukunftsroman #505)
59 pages of text

These magazines were the standard format for any sort of popular fiction from the 1930s to the late 1960s. They were sparsely illustrated, if at all, with few letters, but usually an editorial. Science fiction and anything fantastic was in the hands of two publishing houses (who were to merge in the 80s), and the same one who had published Utopia Zukunftsroman launched the classic German edition of Doc Savage late in 1972, which would run for 89 issues and seven years.

Typical Doc Savage spine

I call it the classic edition because it is the only one. And, more important, because it’s the one I grew up with.
I read two or three of them in the early 80s, but wasn’t impressed very much by them at the time. (What did stay in my memory was the film, so it can’t be all bad.) Still, in the early 80s, if you were at all interested in speculative fiction, you could not fail but notice the Doc Savage paperbacks. They were published by Pabel, whose paperbacks one could instantly recognize by their format, type, logo, spine. And since Pabel was one of the major places to look for science fiction, fans would develop an eye for the Pabel look. It was a matter of seconds to scan a row of second-hand books for stuff published by Pabel. Add to that the fact that nobody could forget or overlook the colour of the Doc Savage spines. So while you didn’t have to like or read Doc Savage, you would always notice the books.

Publication was four-weekly, with 13 issues per year. The books are translations of the Bantam editions. Chapters are numbered but do not get individual titles. Covers are taken from the Bantam editions, exceptions are noted. None of them are credited. Occasionally, the covers have been altered slightly (mostly reversed), usually the borders got chopped off a bit, sometimes they got mixed up; details can be found in the list below. Kenneth Robeson is always given as the author, translators are fairly stable but change over the years. The plot synopsis is usually, but not always, a direct translation of the Bantam synopsis.

The number of pages varies within certain limits only, which leads me to suspect that texts were again abridged to fit the allotted number of pages.
For that reason I have included in the list the number of all pages of text, including 1/1‑page ads (the first to appear im #24). I suppose that the overall number of pages was set (though it varied over the years), and texts were either abridged to make room for ads, or ads were put in to fill up the pages (less likely, in my opinion).
Individual prices begin at 2,80 DM in 1972 and end at 3,80 DM in 1979.
The Pabel paperbacks were magazines, strictly speaking. They did not have an ISBN number and could not be ordered from a bookshop – or bought in most of them, for that matter. It was off to the newsagent if you wanted your fix.

The table includes the German series number, the Bantam number, original title, translator, date of publication and the number of pages (minus the number of full-page ads). Information is as taken from the books; I have tried to point out when any information given in the books is incorrect.

The Flying Goblin
WG Werner Gronwald
FM Fritz Moeglich
ES Dr Eva Sander
KH Karl Heinz
GK Gert Königsberger
KP K.H. Poppe
HK H.C. Kurtz
GH Günter Hehlmann

Nr. B# German Title US Title Transl. PubDate Pages (text-ads) Notes
1 1 Der Chef The Man of Bronze WG Dec 72 154–0
2 2 Drei schwarze Schlüssel The Thousand-Headed Man FM Feb 73 153–0
3 3 Der blaue Meteor Meteor Menace FM Feb 73 153–0
4 4 Das Wrack im Eis The Polar Treasure FM Mar 73 153–0
5 5 Im Zeichen des Werwolfs Brand of the Werewolf FM Apr 73 153–0
6 14 Insel der Sklaven The Phantastic Island (correct title: The Fantastic island) FM (deceased), ES May 73 153–0 compare The Most Dangerous Game
7 22 Die Glocke des Grauens The Czar of Fear KH Jun 73 154–0
8 16 Die unsichtbare Legion The Spook Legion GK Jul 73 153–0 the only time where chapter numbers are in square brackets; cover is mirror image of original
9 20 Feuerzeichen am Himmerl The Secret in the Sky KH Aug 73 153–0 Doc, Monk and Ham use the formal mode of addressing each other (Siezen instead of Duzen, for speakers of German); note that though this is the second published story translated by KH, it must have been translated before #8
10 27 Die Stadt im Meer Mystery under the Sea GK Sep 73 153–0
11 10 Doc in der Falle The Phantom City KH Oct 73 151–0 the Doc Savage logo is not superimposed on the actual cover painting; rather, the top part of the cover got chopped of, with a uniform black underneath the logo; cover is mirror image of original
12 8 Land des Schreckens The Land of Terror GK Nov 73 153–0 lots of corpses in that one, Doc’s pretty tough here
13 26 Der silberne Tod The Death in Silver KH Dec 73 155–0 cover is mirror image of original
14 6 Die verlorene Oase The Lost Oasis GK Dec 73 153–0
15 18 Das Meer des Todes The Sargasso Ogre KH Jan 74 155–0
16 23 Die Festung der Einsamkeit The Fortress of Solitude KH Feb 74 137–0
17 17 Im Tal des roten Todes The Red Skull GK Mar 74 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
18 11 Die Teufelsinsel Fear Cay KH Apr 74 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
19 64 Die Todesstrahlen The Motion Menace GK May 74 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
20 25 Tomahawk des Teufels The Devil’s Playground KH Jun 74 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
21 24 Der grüne Adler The Green Eagle GK Jul 74 137–0
22 7 Die Monsterbande The Monsters KH Aug 74 137–0
23 33 Terror in der Navy The Terror in the Navy GK Sep 74 139–0 cover is mirror image of original
24 31 Der Superkiller The Annihilist KH Oct 74 137–1 the spine bears the title of #22, Die Monsterbande; cover is mirror image of original
25 34 Die unheimlichen Augen Mad Eyes KH Nov 74 139–1
26 32 Der Inka in Grau Dust of Death GK Dec 74 137–1
27 35 Der Mörder aus dem Jenseits The Squeaking Goblin GK Jan 75 139–0
28 55 Das Gold der Mayas The Golden Peril KH Jan 75 137–0
29 36 Die Auferstehung Resurrection Day GK Feb 75 139–0
30 37 Hannah, die Hexe Hex KH Mar 75 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
31 38 Roter Schnee Red Snow GK Apr 75 137–1
32 15 Invasion aus der Tiefe (Murder Melody) May 75 137–1 wrong cover, the right one can be found German #52; this cover comes from the British edition of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (Thanks, Howard)
33 30 Die Blutfalken The Flaming Falcons KP Jun 75 139–1 cover is mirror image of original
34 40 Der flammende Dolch (The Dagger in the Sky) Jul 75 137–0
35 59 Die gelbe Wolke The Yellow Cloud HK Aug 75 139–2
36 44 Der Gespensterkönig The Sea Magician HK Sep 75 139–1
37 77 Südpol-Terror South Pole Terror KH Oct 75 137–0 correctly The South Pole Terror
38 75 Land der Angst The Land of Fear KH Nov 75 137–0
39 19 Pazifikpiraten (Pirate of the Pacific) Dec 75 137–1
40 52 Der Todeszwerg (The Vanisher) Jan 76 137–1
41 9 Der schreckliche Mullah The Mystic Mullah KH Jan 76 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
42 12 Die Wikinger von Qui Quest of Qui KH Feb 76 137–0 cover is mirror image of original
43 48 Der gefiederte Krake The Feathered Octopus HK Mar 76 139–1 mix-up with following issue: incorrectly stated to be Land of Always-Night; cover is mirror image of original
44 13 Das Höhlenreich Land of Always-Night HK Apr 76 137–1 mix-up with preceding issue: incorrectly stated to be The Feathered Octopus
45 47 Die Macht des Shimba Land of Long Ju-Ju KH May 76 139–0 cover is mirror image of original
46 28 Tod aus dem Vulkan The Deadly Dwarf KH Jun 76 139–1
47 53 Der Dschungelgott The Mental Wizard HK Jul 76 139–1 cover is mirror image of original
48 45 Die Armee der Leblosen The Man Who Smiled No More HK Aug 76 139–1 correctly: The Men Who Smiled No More
49 39 Das Monster auf der Kuppel World’s Fair Goblin HK Sep 76 139–0
50 51 Gefahr unter dem Eis The Haunted Ocean KH Oct 76 139–1 cover is mirror image of original
51 67 Der gefleckte Hai The Freckled Shark KH Nov 76 139–2 translator’s name given as Karl-Heinz, which just might be KP’s first name (K.H.Poppe), but probably is just KH misspelled
52 50 Der Mann vom Mond Devil on the Moon KH Nov 76 139–0 one of my favourites; wrong cover (taken from Bantam #15/German #32), the right one can be found German #58
53 69 Tod im ewigen Schnee The Mystery on the Snow HK Dec 76 139–0 cover is mirror image of original
54 66 Stausee des Todes Mad Mesa KH Jan 77 139–2
55 71 Der Allwissende Murder Mirage HK Feb 77 139–1
56 76 Der schwarze Tod The Black Spot HK Mar 77 139–2
57 65 Die grünen Mumien The Green Death KH Apr 77 139–1
58 49 Das Ungeheuer aus dem Meer The Sea Angel KH May 77 139–1 cover is mirror image of Bantam #50 (German #52, which has the wrong cover) instead of the proper one
59 56 Der lachende Tod The Giggling Ghosts HK Jun 77 139–0
60 83 Die Stadt unter dem Meer The Red Terrors HK Jul 77 139–1
61 46 Die Gedankenmaschine The Midas Man KH Aug 77 139–1
62 80 Das Unheimliche Königreich The King Maker KH Sep 77 139–3
63 85 Der Boss des Schreckens The Boss of Terror HK Oct 77 139–2
64 87 Der Maskenmann The Spotted Men HK Nov 77 139–2
65 86 Angriff aus dem Dunkel The Angry Ghost KH Nov 77 139–1
66 84 Die Todesspinne The Mountain Monster KH Dec 77 139–0
67 57 Die Giftinsel Poison Island HK Jan 78 155–1
68 81 Das geheimnisvolle Tal The Stone Man HK Feb 78 155–1 it doesn’t have the same cover as Bantam #81, which is the wrong one anyway (it correctly appears on Bantam #77) – instead, it’s the figure of Doc Savage taken from Bantam #67 with the background (a bit of freckled spark) replaced by a uniform green
69 42 Die Höhlenmänner von Crescent City The Gold Ogre HK Mar 78 155–1 cover is mirror image of original
70 61 Die Welt der Unterirdischen The Living Fire Menace HK Apr 78 155–1 cover is mirror image of Bantam #41 (German #89, which has the cover that rightly belongs here)
71 88 Die Höhlen des Satans The Roar Devil HK May 78 155–1
72 89 Die Zauberinsel The Magic Island Jun 78 155–1
73 90 Der fliegende Tod The Flying Goblin HK Jul 78 155–0 every chapter begins on a new page
74 82 Der teuflische Plan The Evil Gnome HK Aug 78 155–1 whereas the Bantam cover for this book repeats a detail of Bantam cover #38, here the whole cover is re-used (compare German #31) every chapter begins on a new page
75 21 Der Kalte Tod Cold Death HK Sep 78 155–0
76 63 Angriff aus der Tiefe The Submarine Mystery HK Oct 78 155–2
77 62 Der Schatz des Piraten The Pirate’s Ghost HK Oct 78 155–0
78 70 Das Spuk-Loch Spook Hole HK Nov 78 155–0 chapters aren’t numbered or marked in any way
79 29 In einer anderen Welt The Other World HK Dec 78 155–2
80 78 Die rote Schlange The Crimson Serpent GH Jan 79 155–1
81 79 Die Geißel des Dschingis Khan The Devil Genghis HK Feb 79 155–2
82 60 Die indische Verschwörung The Maji HK Mar 79 155–0
83 92 Das Höhlenmonster The Awful Egg HK Apr 79 155–0
84 72 Der Metall-Meister The Metal Master HK May 79 155–0 wrong cover, but resembling the correct one; INFORMATION WANTED – where does this cover come from?
85 73 Die Achat-Teufel The Seven Agate Devils HK Jun 79 155–0
86 74 Das Bohrloch-Monster The Derrick Devil HK Aug 79 155–1 cover is mirror image of original
87 91 Der purpurne Drache The Purple Dragon HK Oct 79 155–2 cover is mirror image of original
88 93 Der Todes-Tunnel Tunnel Terror HK Nov 79 155–4 cover rightly belongs to German #57 and is re-used here instead of the proper one
89 41 Der teuflische Tod Merchants of Disaster HK Jan 80 155–0 cover is mirror image of Bantam #61 (German #70, which has the cover that rightly belongs here)

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