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.
46. PATROL OF THE PURPLE CLAN (July 1937) – Not to be confused with the Purple Empire/ Purple Invasion storyline from the Operator 5 Pulp stories of the time. This tale is entirely unrelated. A squadron of purple-clad flying aces are terrorizing the skies over the United States itself, sabotaging American industry and preying on the population! The Purple Clan, as they’re called, are American traitors happily wreaking destruction throughout their homeland for a price – a fortune in gold being paid to them by the Central Powers.
As the American homefront mobilizes to deal with these attacks on its own soil G-8 and his Battle Aces are hurriedly dispatched to the U.S. on the naval cruiser Madison to help protect Washington D.C. from the airborne marauders. It turns out the leader of the Purple Clan is none other than G-8’s old foe Steel Mask, the deadly German who hid his disfigured face behind a mask of cold steel decades before Doctor Doom and Darth Vader did it.
Steel Mask has outfitted his purple-garbed mercenaries with guns that fire quick-solidifying, unbreakable glass, another of his ingenious super-weapons. He and his flying legion are determined to devastate Washington like the British did during the War of 1812, all while avenging himself on G-8. Everything culminates in an aerial showdown high above the many landmarks in America’s capital city!
47. VENGEANCE OF THE VIKINGS (August 1937) – Doktor Krueger has returned! In past G-8 stories the Central Powers have formed alliances with Martians and with a lost tribe of primitive cavemen from beneath the Earth’s surface. This time around our hero’s archenemy Krueger has defrosted and revived an army of huge Viking warriors frozen in ice for centuries. These Vikings ally themselves with the Central Powers.
A menace from the past is unleashed to slaughter Allied troops in a berserker rage as G-8, Bull Martin and Nippy Weston struggle to defeat the latest sinister plot of the one and only Doktor Krueger. Action galore marks this exciting “time machine” style battle that pits the present against the savage past as paladins of the skies take on relentless Viking raiders. G-8’s 1917 Cadillac Roadster makes another appearance as our heroes save General Pershing from the Viking assault on Paris.
At one point the German fiend is torturing our high-flying hero on a stretch-rack and, out of pure sadism, slices a big “X” on his chest with a sabre … then tosses a handful of SALT in the x-shaped wound! All this plus G-8 in the hospital after getting nearly decapitated by one of Krueger’s quick-thawed warriors.
48. FLIGHT OF THE GREEN ASSASSIN (September 1937) – Another of the super-villain team-ups that the G-8 Pulps often served up! G-8’s archenemy Doktor Krueger has rescued the Chinese genius Chu Lung from the imprisonment and torture he’s been enduring since the end of his last encounter with our hero and his Battle Aces. The not-so- good doctor restores the Chinaman’s health and convinces Chu Lung that neither of them can fulfill their plans until “the verdammt one” G-8 is eliminated once and for all!
Chu Lung joins forces with Krueger, combining his genius with the German madman’s own to construct deadly green projectiles that can change their course in mid-air to follow Allied planes and explode with a force hundreds of times greater than their size would indicate. The dangerous duo arrange for G-8’s man-servant Battle to be kidnapped, but at least the Englishman goes down with his rolling pin swinging.
All this plus a diabolical plot to use a flying ace called the Green Assassin to lure our heroes into a trap and end their lives in the most brutal and painful way imaginable. Battle reluctantly takes to the skies himself at one point disguised as said Green Assassin. This adventure also featured a detailed sketch of the living quarters of G-8, Bull and Nippy for trivia enthusiasts.
As always I consider Chu Lung to be just a pale imitation of Fu Manchu and Wu Fang but as a World War One geek I always enjoy the way the stories featuring him help remind people that China entered the war on the side of the Central Powers two months after the U.S. entered it on the side of the Allied Powers.
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
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