The Charm of The Bronze Gazette

21 Jun

BG01-Cover-Upright-211x300I am way too young to have been a Doc Savage fan back in the 1930s, but reading The Bronze Gazette is like being a kid again.

The Bronze Gazette is a fanzine focusing on the life and adventures of Doc Savage, Man of Bronze. Doc was the larger-than-life creation of Lester Dent back in 1933. For 181 issues—most of them monthly—Doc and his Fabulous Five took on bad guys the world over with high adventure, keen gadgets, and overall derring-do. Doc is the precursor to many things, including Superman, Batman, James Bond, the Fantastic Four, CSI, and every other ‘team’ on TV and movies. He is the “Superman” to the Shadow’s “Batman”: good-hearted, courageous, and a dozen other adjectives.

Doc’s fandom grew almost instantly in the 1930s and carried on through World War II. But, as is so often the case, the Doc Savage magazine was eventually cancelled. Doc lay dormant for a few years before Bantam began publishing the stories again in the 1960s. Here, instead of the original painted covers by Walter Baumhofer, Bantam commissioned new art from James Bama. This is the Doc many people think of if they think of Doc: big, buff, sporting a widow’s peak, and with a shirt always ripped to shreds.

220px-ManofbronzebamaFandom of Doc kicked into another gear as a new generation of readers fell in love with Doc’s adventures. Enter The Bronze Gazette. Frankly, I have never seen an issue before the most recent one, No. 76. For 75 issues, dating back over 25 years, Howard Wright founded, published, and kept the Bronze Gazette going. With issue 76, a new team has come on board to carry the baton going forward.

I got my first issue today, and boy is it stellar! I’ll be honest: when I think of ‘fanzine,’ my first thoughts are of xeroxed pages, stapled together, with black-and-white hand drawn illustrations. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Bronze Gazette is a professionally bound journal with a great cover and color pictures scattered throughout. There are over a dozen articles including a couple by Will Murray, the preeminent Doc scholar and author of The Wild Adventures of Doc Savage, the new novels being published.

I was already thrilled to receive my first fanzine and first Bronze Gazette, but there was one thing that put a huge goofy grin on my face. There is a code inside. It’s a Mayan alphabet with a symbol for each English letter. And it’s up to you to decipher it.

Come on! With the attention to detail like this, the charm of this, I hope the Bronze Gazette continues for many years to come. I know I’ll be buying every issue.

Thanks to Chuck Welch (editor), Kez Wilson (art director), and Terry Allen (publisher) for keeping the fire of Doc Savage going into the 21st Century.

One Reply to “The Charm of The Bronze Gazette”

  1. Pingback: Yellowed Perils | Bits of pulp: Ape man, bronze man

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.