Previously Balladeer’s Blog has done a story-by- story examination of the neglected pulp heroes Silver John, the Moon Man and Northwest Smith. Now begins a look at the pulp adventures of the American World War One pilot code-named G8.
THE HERO: G-8 was the codename of an American flying ace of World War One. The character was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 and over the next 11 years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the daring figure. G-8, whose real name was never revealed, was a master of disguise in addition to his piloting and hand-to-hand combat skills. Hogan’s hero (see what I did there) was unswervingly patriotic and fiercely dedicated to the defeat of the Central Powers.
THE STORIES: With his two fellow operatives “The Battle Aces” G-8 conducted aerial commando raids, carried out special forces missions and even undertook espionage missions against the Germans, Austro-Hungarians and the Ottoman Muslim Turks. In true Pulp Story fashion the Central Powers threw a vast array of mad scientists, monstrous creatures and alien super-science against our heroes, who always prevailed in the end.
G-8’s 2 wingmen were Bull Martin, a brawny, less-than-brainy man who was very superstitious and flew a plane numbered 7; and Nippy Weston, a short, wisecracking iconoclast who was anything BUT superstitious and defiantly flew a plane numbered 13 to advertise the fact. G-8 had an English manservant named Battle who saw to his comfort in between missions (Don’t go there). The supporting cast was rounded out with our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American spy and nurse whose real name, like G-8’s, was never revealed but who aided the three flying aces in several stories.
G-8’s archenemy was Doktor Krueger, the German mad scientist whose deadly inventions would have won the war for the Germans and their allies if not for our hero’s efforts. Another frequent foe was Steel Mask, also a German. Long before Doctor Doom and Darth Vader Steel Mask was a stylish villain who hid his disfigured face behind a metal mask. His face was disfigured when G-8 shot down a German blimp which fell burning from the skies. Other foes were Grun the Primeval, the Raven, the Chinese scientist Chu Lung plus various mad Muslim alchemists as well as legions of revived Vikings, animated skeletons, flying tanks, vampires, tiger- men, werewolves, mummies, giant bats, headless zombies and every other conceivable menace.
G-8’s favorite piece of music was Ragging the Scale, which is referred to in several stories and would be a MUST as theme music for any G-8 television series. Our hero also drove a 1917 Cadillac Roadster in many of the stories.
The G-8 stories were a clear influence on the Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) adventures featuring their superhero Captain America. Next time I’ll begin a story by story examination of the tales of G8 and his Battle Aces. For more on G8 and other neglected pulp heroes click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/
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