Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.
G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. The regular cast was rounded out by our hero’s archenemy Doktor Krueger, by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.
25. CLAWS OF THE SKY MONSTER (October 1935) – Doktor Krueger is back! G-8’s nemesis, like all mad scientists in fiction, is a master of all disciplines and this time he’s engineered an aerial fleet of gigantic vultures. The vultures – Geieren in German – are so huge that Central Powers pilots can ride them and control them like men on horseback.
These immense vultures are mounted with machine guns and can carry bombs in their claws – bombs that can be dropped at the discretion of the “pilots” flying on the gigantic birds. As added motivation Doktor Krueger has offered a reward of one hundred thousand German marks for any Geier pilot who can kill his hated foe G-8.
At one point G-8 exploits the reward offer by tricking a German airman into stealing his plane so that a Geier-Pilot will destroy the plane, thus tricking Krueger into thinking G-8 was in it and is now dead. This is another G-8 story that cries out for cinematic or at least television treatment. At the very LEAST I can’t believe Gamers haven’t latched onto the fun of the G-8 Pulps. Balladeer’s Blog’s mythology pages are popular with gaming sites so how about some love for G-8 and his Battle Aces?
26. STAFFEL OF INVISIBLE MEN (November 1935) – An enigmatic message from a fellow special operative back stateside alerts G-8 to a new super-scientific menace conjured up by the Central Powers. Why does the warning originate back in the U.S.? Is an American traitor helping their country’s enemies develop super-weapons?
The menace in this story – as the title indicates – are men who can be made mostly invisible and therefore have an advantage in espionage and commando raids. The Central Powers are trying the Invisible Men out in small numbers at first and our heroes must sabotage the whole operation before an entire army of the unseen can be created and change the course of the war!
The invisibility process cannot yet render weapons or machines invisible and even when it comes to people it only works on midgets, making this another story filled with the straight-faced silliness that so many of us love about the old Pulps. If only they’d gone all the way and titled this tale Staffel of Invisible Midgets.
27. STAFFEL OF FLOATING HEADS (December 1935) – Remember what I said above about how Gamers should get into the G-8 stories? That goes double for this bizarre adventure. I’d love to know what kind of drugs Robert J Hogan was using when he wrote these stories.
At any rate you can’t accuse Hogan of misleading readers with the title. This Pulp story does indeed feature the Central Powers devising a fleet of giant floating heads with horrific faces. Not only that but the floating heads shoot bullets from their eyes. Yes, you read that right. This deadly yet absurd menace takes to the skies to either terrify Allied pilots while shooting them down or distract them by making them laugh while shooting them down, you can take your pick. (And any resemblance to Dr Gurnig’s X-Ray Eye is purely coincidental)
Once again it’s up to G-8 and his Battle Aces Nippy Weston and Bull Martin to thwart a secret weapon of the Central Powers before too many lives are lost. Personally speaking though, wouldn’t it really kick ass if there had to be history books saying that the war was won when one side introduced floating head weaponry? Would all the other countries in the world have started working on floating head fleets of their own? Alas, we’ll never know thanks to the efficiency of good old G-8.
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
For more on G8 and other neglected pulp heroes click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/
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