Monday, July 2, 2007

Sun Koh, the German Doc Savage!

This picture is from volume 1 of his exploits: Sun Koh, Heir of Atlantis: A Man Falls from the Sky.

That's right! Germany had its own Pulp magazines and its own stable of heroes (heldromans). And Sun Koh was their own Aryan version of Doc Savage: super smart, super rich, super strong, and of the super race! He was the Nietzschean √úbermensch. The series was written by Paul Alfred Mueller under the house name "Lok Myler" from 1933 to 1936. The documentation I have seen says that this series started AFTER Doc Savage and so it is likely Sun Koh was derivative from him, not vice versa. Sun Koh made his last appearances in 1938 in some of the adventures of the pulp character Jan Mayen. As war approached, pulp magazines were no longer published in Germany. Sun Koh had a total of 150 published adventures. In 1939, the pulps were no longer printed. Only official Nazi publications were allowed after that. Sun Koh's adventures were republished several times in modified form after the war. The modifications usually were to remove racial or anti-Semitic slurs.

Sun Koh was the ideal Nazi hero. He was an Aryan racial supremacist, a Prince of the lost continent of Atlantis who had mysteriously fallen form the sky over London in 1932 with no memory of his past. He was tall, bronzed, blond haired, and blue eyed with a map of ancient Atlantic tatooed on his back and continuing to his left side. He was dressed only in robes that were typical of the dress in Atlantis. He had been sent because a new ice age was coming and his mission was to facilitate the re-emergence of the lost Continent and a re-establishment of Atlantean (that is ARYAN) dominance over the world. It would be survival of the fittest: that is of the Aryan master race. Lesser races were meant to be subjugated, and the villains in Sun Koh stories were usually agents of world Jewry or the like bent on thwarting the rise to world dominion of the Master Race. Blah, blah, blah.... You get the picture.

Sun Koh was a Nazi party member and an (informal) agent of German Military Intelligence. He was an advocate of eugenics and enslavement of non-Aryans. His goal was to turn Greenland (Thule) into arable farm land for white people to settle. In his stories, the 'inferior races' capitulated to his will without a fight unlike what really happened in World War II. His treatment of the subject races was precisely what the Nazis were advocating in the 1930s. The stories advocated aggressive eugenics policies.

Sun Koh was not a German name, but it sounded exotic in German and was "Atlantean" in origin. He is endowed with similar attributes as Doc Savage and has been considered to be a German "knock off" of the Man of Bronze, except that Sun Koh does not hesitate to take lives. In fact he was a casual killer who took lives without a second thought. In addition to the usual super strength, super speed, super senses, super dexterity, super calculating ability, and eidetic memory, Sun Koh also had a "Danger Sense" which warned him of an impending threat to his person like "Spider Sense". He also was a "man of destiny" favored by fate to find leibensraum for Germans and other white people . (Shades of you-know-who from Mein Kampf. No accident.)

He had aides as well. Jan Meyen was a detective/adventurer/inventor who flew around the world in an atomic powered Air Craft. And Alaska Jim Hoover was an explorer, trapper, and all around tough guy. He apparently had other assistants as well. These were not men of education but adventurers committed to decisive action.

The series ended when Sun Koh successfully raised Atlantis, made Greenland green again, and conquered the world inside the Hollow Earth. Let the Ice Age come! The Aryan race was secure.

It is interesting that the Sun Koh stories stopped just before the start of World War II. Allegedly he fulfilled his destiny and there were no worlds left to conquer. But if Doc Savage and Sun Koh were contemporaries it is possible that they came into conflict with each other and the fittest actually did survive: Doc Savage! Could this explain why Sun Koh disappeared before World War II?

I will consult my confidential sources and we will see.

Here are some Sun Koh websites:


Michael said...

I had never heard of Sun Koh until very recently. I read your posts here about him, and listed to the recent podcast.

I would be interested in reading his stories, but wonder how readable they would be even if you remove the objectionable stuff.

Art Sippo: said...

The original Sun Koh stories were very imaginative and had an influence on other german Pulp and Sci-Fi Characters including Perry Rhodan which many Americans may be familiar with from the translations that Forry Ackerman did in the late 1960s.

Jess Nevins tells me that there were many things in the original Sun Koh stories that would be "politically incorrect" today. But the Racism and Anti-Semitism in those stories was similar to what was found in American series such as Tom Swift and British series like Bulldog Drummond.

I have tried to re-imagine Sun Koh for a modern audience in a way that is faithful to the original setting but with full knowledge of how stupid and ultimately evil the whole Nazi program was.

The Sun Koh pulp series was ultimately cancelled by the Nazi government in 1938 because they considered him "frivolous." This was just before they began their wars of conquest and their formal programs of extermination. Sun Koh was never a part of any of that, so it gives us a chance to 'redeem' him.

Frankly, it would be ashame to waste such an interesting character. ;-)


Michael said...

Well, I actually have a complete set of US Perry Rhodan books, tho I stopped reading them about the time that Atlan appeared. I had hoped they would restart the series here in the US, but has yet to happen.

I have read a few of the original Tom Swifts (I have a near complete collection of TS, Jr, and many Rick Brants). It should be easy to remove such nonsense without losing the general story.

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