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.
55. THE BLACK ACES OF DOOM (April 1938) – Doktor Krueger is back! This landmark tale presented another of the supervillain team-ups that the later G-8 tales were noted for. This time around Krueger joined forces with the elusive master assassin Herr Geist (“Mr Ghost”).
In their previous encounter G-8 eliminated all of Geist’s Gray Ghosts of the Skies, his band of specialized assassins. Doktor Krueger supplies his new ally with a host of men outfitted with bizarre high-tech black body armor. These Black Aces of Doom take to the skies armed with Krueger’s futuristic weaponry and boasting exotic training in the arts of murder provided by Herr Geist himself.
Making these weird figures even more menacing is the way the armor neutralizes the portion of the brain which controls fear, making the Black Aces relentless and utterly oblivious to their own personal safety. Can our heroes prevail? Well, yeah, but it’s still a great story!
56. THE FLAMES OF HELL (May 1938) – This tale introduced a new supervillain for G-8 to battle. He was an obsessed pyromaniac conveniently named Herr Feuer (“Mr Fire”). Captured by the German authorities after he used his incredible chemical concoctions to start destructive fires around Berlin Herr Feuer was given a choice: use his unique abilities for the Central Powers’ war effort or be executed.
Naturally the fire-loving fiend chose the first option and was soon killing thousands of Allied soldiers with weapons that spewed nearly infernal flames. Herr Feuer absolutely ADORED fire and had his henchmen maintain a blazing fire in the hearth of his castle headquarters on pain of death.
The villain’s most dramatic creation was a special glove that could produce fireballs that he would then hurl at G-8, Nippy and Bull during his face to face battle with them in his HQ. In the story’s climax our heroes launch an aerial assault on Feuer’s castle Die Festung, pitting their planes against his fiery fortifications including his flame-proof asbestos tank and body-suit. After this exciting finale G-8 crash-lands in the North Sea, where he gets rescued by a British cruiser full of fighting men who are big fans of his.
57. PATROL OF THE IRON HAND (June 1938) – This epic story features the return of one of G-8’s deadliest foes: Steel Mask, the villain who hid his disfigured face behind a metal mask decades before Dr Doom and Darth Vader came along.
As always Steel Mask’s specialty is weapons design and this time he’s rolling across the front routing the Allied Powers armies in his latest invention. That invention: a massive tank that is one hundred feet high and three hundred feet wide! One of the tank’s features is that it scoops up Allied soldiers, chops them to bits and then spits them out the back like grass clippings through a lawnmower.
Once again Battle falls into the clutches of Steel Mask, who hangs the British gentleman up by his thumbs for an excruciating interrogation scene. All this plus another appearance by G-8’s 1917 Cadillac Roadster as our heroes are chased by Steel Mask’s gigantic Iron Hand tank!
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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