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.
52. SATAN PAINTS THE SKY (January 1938) – Introducing an all-new villain for G-8 and his Battle Aces to take on! Baron Von Todschmecker, a haughty German aristocrat who is determined to see the Central Powers defeat the “assembled rabble” of the Allied Powers. Keeping the Baron forever unhinged: the remains of a knife lodged in his skull in a location too delicate to be surgically removed.
The insane Baron unleashes plague-carrying rats on the already hellish trenches of the Allied armies. He has planes drop baskets full of the diseased rodents on the men below. Troops are dying in ghastly numbers and it’s up to our heroes to locate Baron Von Todschmecker and his horde of disease-ridden rats and put an end to his plans before the tide of the war changes.
53. WINGS FOR THE DEAD (February 1938) – Herr Von Seiter is his name … needlessly complicated schemes are his game! The armored Austrian Herr Von Seiter is an odd villain in an odd yet engaging story.
Von Seiter has at his disposal a well-armed Zeppelin that he plans to use as part of his plan for unleashing a deadly disease behind the lines and devastate the civilian populations of the Allied Powers. Plus there’s a biological treatment that transform men into fearless warriors.
The common Pulp problem of repetition is VERY pronounced in this story, not only with the use of a disease in consecutive stories but the way Von Seiter is sort of a composite of some of G-8’s more interesting foes like Doktor Krueger, Steel Mask and others.
54. PATROL OF THE PHANTOM (March 1938) – This gripping tale introduced two villains at once in another example of the Supervillain Team-Ups that were a recurring feature of these later G-8 adventures. Herr Geist (“Mr Ghost”) is an enigmatic figure whose real name is never determined. He’s a skilled marksman, thief, escape artist and most importantly – assassin.
Koln the Butcher is Geist’s partner in this story. Koln lost his right hand during a test-flight of one of his experimental helicopters and uses a variety of weapons plugged into the stump: a sword, weighted whips and a hook.
Herr Geist and Koln the Butcher unleash a plan that involves luring G-8 to his death while simultaneously wreaking havoc through the skies with Koln’s perfected super-weapons: helicopters with propeller blades so long and so powerful they can slice up Allied planes like chainsaws through wood. The helicopters are remote-controlled by Koln and have skeletons in the pilot seats to psyche out Allied pilots. All that plus Herr Geist’s legion of assassins called the Gray Ghosts of the Skies!
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
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