Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This is 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 spy/ nurse whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.
43. VULTURES OF THE WHITE DEATH (April 1937) – Introducing a new villain for G-8, Bull and Nippy to tackle: Professor Unger. This professor – Felix Unger’s grandfather no doubt – is a brilliant chemist who wants nothing more than to see the Allied Powers lose the war.
To that end Professor Unger has provided the Central Powers with a deadly new super-scientific weapon: apparent snowfall which is actually a chemical solution that dissolves human flesh! Allied pilots and soldiers are dying in large numbers and once again it is up to our heroes to get to the bottom of the situation and thwart a mad genius’ scheme to alter the course of the war!
The Central Powers can coat an area of the front with a layer of the deadly snowfall then send in their troops to occupy the area, now filled with corpses instead of Allied troops. Dog-fights, fist-fights, gun-fights and last minute escapes are all featured in this thrilling G-8 adventure. All that plus G-8 showing off his Ju-Jitsu skills once again, this time against one of Professor Unger’s German bodyguards.
44. FLIGHT OF THE DRAGON (May 1937) – Chu Lung is back! Historians who belittle China’s contribution to the Central Powers’ war effort are clearly ignorant of the resources this Chinese genius dedicated to the destruction of the Allied forces.
Turns out Chu Lung survived his previous encounter with G-8 after all and has hatched another plan plus devised a new super-weapon. The deadly figure takes to the skies in an enormous dragon-shaped aircraft that shoots flame from the “nostrils”.
Allied planes are being burned from the sky at an alarming rate and our heroes go forth to battle the gigantic Dragon Plane as well as the army of Chinese soldiers Chu Lung has staffing the aerial colossus (insert your own Spruce Goose joke here). See G-8 battle to survive Chu Lung’s snake pit death trap, too!
45. FLIGHT FROM THE GRAVE (June 1937) – After two super-scientific menaces in a row it’s back to a supernatural threat for this adventure! Julito, the VooDoo King has formed an alliance with the Central Powers and has conjured up an army of the living dead to help them in their war effort. Our hero’s girlfriend R-1 is in action again in this story, which also introduces her friend Betsy, an African American cook who becomes another member of our supporting cast.
G-8 witnesses Julito raising some of his zombie army from their graves and realizes that – for the umpteenth time – he, Bull and Nippy will be up against foes from the realm of the dead. Can G-8 and his Battle Aces defeat men who can’t be killed AND maintain a believable air of tension even though they’ve stopped similar foes a half-dozen times already? Find out!
At any rate it turns out Betsy spent two years in Haiti and her knowledge of VooDoo lore plus her skill with a shotgun help save the day. There’s a terrific moment with our heroes investigating a cemetery at night when zombies begin climbing up out of every grave in the place. The action highlight of this tale finds G-8 going mano-a-mano with Julito on a German plane while the VooDoo King simultaneously chants an incantation to reanimate a German corpse in a nearby coffin.
And fans of G-8’s manservant Battle will be interested to hear that the unlikely ladies’ man asks G-8 to be his Best Man when he marries his latest temporary girlfriend, Gwendolyn, after the war. Needless to say we never hear of Gwendolyn again after this story.
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
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