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Dr. Thaddeus C. Harker is not often mentioned in the annuals of pulp literature. His entire output consists of three novellettes issued in 1940. He's a transitional figure who links the costumed heroes of the 1930′s with the cynical noir detectives of the 1950′s. He doesn' t have superhuman powers, but he does have a team who assists him. He has sharp reasoning abilities. He doesn't possess a Fortress of Solitude or secret base. But he has one thing no other hero has: his own traveling medicine show.
The introduction, by the intrepid Tom Johnson, gives us much information on the idenity of the creator of Doc Harker, Edwin Truett "Bud" Long. He also tracks down the locations mentioned in the three stories. All of them take place in the South Western USA, home for pulp cowboys instead of urban pulp heroes. There is also a list of titles attributed to Long at the conclusion of this anthology.
Doc Harker does strike quite a figure. We don't get a lot of information on his background, but we do learn he's a retired chemist devoted to the science of criminology. Doc Harker has a Colonel Sanders mustache and goatee, wears a Prince Albert waistcoat, carries a cane with him, and sports alligator shoes. He also likes his long cigars and bourbon. His cover for his crime-fighting adventures is a medicine show where he travels the country selling Chickasha Remedies ("a cure for practically every ailment of man and beast"). He's a complete southern gentleman and fastidious in his appearance.
Doc Harker is aided in his adventures by two people: the bucolic Hercules "Herk" Jones and the beautiful Brenda Sloan, whom he raised from an early age. Herk is 6'2″ and a former professional wrestler. He's good,loyal, strong, but suffers from one to many pile drivers to the head.Read more ›
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