Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Doc Savage - The Mayan Mutations!

I continue with my examination of Doc Savage's B&W adventures. Doc Savage #7 has yet another lush Ken Barr cover. The story written as usual by Doug Moench is titled "The Mayan Mutations" and it's illustrated this time by Val Mayerik on pencils with Tony DeZuniga on inks. 

The story begins with a giant moth attacking a boar in South America. Cut to New York City and the headquarters of Doc Savage where we find Doc's men interviewing folks looking for another worthy case. The first meet a Mutt and Jeff duo named Hanson and Harridan who talk about treasure in the South America, but since it's a seemingly for-profit venture they are sent away. Next is a man looking for help with his wife who he feels is cheating on him, and after some confusion he's also sent packing. Finally, two beautiful women appear, Vesper Hope and a silent beauty named Myrrana. They speak of strange culture in South America populated by Myrrana's folk and of attacks there which prompted her husband to investigate but never return and they talk of a giant moth. 

Doc takes the case, and they head off to board the Amberjack moored on the top of the skyscraper. A giant moth attacks but Doc kills it. The team of Harridan and Hanson show up and reveal themselves to be the villains of the story as they retrieve the moth. The team fly to South America and find a strange round plateau which is overcome with riotous plant growth along with select giant insects and animals. They encounter Myranna's people and discover a great arboreal society in which these descendants of the Mayans live totally within and off the giant trees. After some more investigation a pool is found in an abandoned city which seems to be the source of the radiation which makes the fantastic growth possible. Doc and his men investigate and discover a tale which Johnny extrapolates from the hieroglyphs to be a tale of ancient astronauts who left behind the stuff that has caused this plateau to exist. Then the villains appear and shoot Long Tom. Doc rushes him to a small surgery in the Amberjack and he and Vesper Hope (a nurse) operate using and using an artificial heart valve save his life. Doc then seeks out the rogues and instead encounters a mutated man-beast who turns out to be Myranna's husband who reluctantly she kills with Ham's sword-cane. Doc and his men round up the scoundrels and somberly head back to civilization leaving the Arboreans to their beautiful society. 

There is an article by Bob Sampson on Johnny which is typically detailed. This issue also features several poster-style images by Ed Davis of Doc and crew. These really have a great pulp feel. 

 More to come. 

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  1. Pretty nasty looking critter on that Ken Barr cover!

    1. It's nastier on the cover but bigger on the inside. Ken Barr's covers for these issues are very vivid, much in the grand pulp style.