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.
64. RAIDERS OF THE SILENT DEATH (January 1939) – Doktor Krueger is back! Once again G-8’s deadliest adversary returns with yet another super-scientific invention intended to help the Central Powers win the war.
This time around it’s a collection of guns of various sizes that fire deadly artillery and which not only can be transported noiselessly through the skies but can be fired in complete silence. Our heroes are hard-pressed to put the kibosh on Doktor Krueger’s ultimate stealth weapons before they can change the course of the war. Nippy at one point disguises himself as Krueger to bluff some Germans!
When he escapes Krueger’s clutches in a German Fokker G-8 finds himself in danger of being shot down by uncomprehending Allied artillerymen. Plus at one point in this riveting tale G-8 disguises himself as a 70 year old man.
65. THE SKY SERPENT FLIES AGAIN (February 1939) – Chu Lung strikes again! No matter how much historians belittle the real-life contributions that China made to the Central Powers’ war effort there’s no denying that the sinister genius Chu Lung did more than his share!
As usual I find Chu Lung to be just a pale imitation of Fu Manchu and Wu Fang but I enjoy the fact that his stories always serve as a reminder of the often-forgotten fact that China joined the War in the summer of 1917.
For this story Chu Lung is using a reconstructed version of his flying dragon plane as a diversion to keep G-8 and his Battle Aces busy while he launches his real plan. From a souped-up railroad car near the front lines the sinister Chinaman plans to use a sonic ray-gun to deafen no less than A MILLION American, French and British soldiers with head-shattering sounds that will leave them in no shape to resist the Central Powers advance.
All that plus Chu Lung has G-8 strung up by his thumbs with metal coils, dips him in water and subjects him to electric shock torture.
66. THE BLACK WINGS OF THE RAVEN (March 1939) – Introducing a new supervillain for our heroes to fight! Originally Baron Kurt von Ravenfeld was just another deadly ace for the Germans. When G-8 happened to shoot down and kill Kurt’s younger brother and fellow pilot his life changed forever.
Von Ravenfeld challenged G-8 to an aerial duel and was shot down by the American ace. He survived his crash-landing but his skin had forever been burned a black color like the wings of a raven. (I guess his already convenient last name wasn’t enough to inspire him to use the nom de guerre “The Raven”, he needed Cajun blackened skin, too.)
At any rate, now calling himself the Raven our villain established a laboratory and torture chamber in an abandoned mine underneath his ancestral castle. For this introductory tale the Raven designed special gas-bombs with raven wings that could be remotely controlled by him to fly with deadly precision at their targets.
It’s up to G-8, Bull, Nippy and R-1 herself to save the day against this early example of “smart bombs” and defeat the Raven’s nefarious plans for vengeance against his brother’s killer. For trivia buffs Bull says “Holy Herring” no less than TWELVE times in this story, second only to the fourteen times in Red Fangs of the Sky Emperor. Also, Battle’s longest-lasting girlfriend Arabella Hawkins appears again.
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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