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.
67. DEATH RIDES THE LAST PATROL (April 1939) – In a case of one of those print oddities that stamp collectors and Pulp fans love the inside title of this adventure appears as Death Flies the Last Patrol.
The Raven returns for another clash with G-8 and his Battle Aces! The man with coal-black skin is still out for revenge on our hero, the flying ace who shot down and killed the Raven’s brother. Helping the Central Powers win the war would just be a fringe benefit.
Von Ravenfeld’s experiments on the POW human guinea pigs in his castle’s dungeon laboratory have yielded a paralyzing gas. The villain takes to the skies intent on spraying Allied pilots and the Allied ground troops below, paralyzing them and leaving them helpless before the armies of the Central Powers!
At one point in this exciting tale G-8 is forced to engage in a swordfight with the Raven’s underling Hauptmann von Gelder, the greatest swordsman in the Kaiser’s army. The fencing duel takes place at night amid the glare of automobile headlights.
Our hero, Bull and Nippy face the terrible Teutonic trio of Doktor Krueger, the Raven and Steel Mask, the villain who hid his disfigured face behind a metal mask decades before Doctor Doom and Darth Vader came along.
The deadly trio have hatched an intricate plan that plays to each of their individual strengths. The object of their sinister plotting: the death of G-8 and his Battle Aces plus the end of the war in a Central Powers victory!
There’s some Old School G-8 fun in this story, too, as it features some of the most riveting dogfight descriptions ever penned by Robert J Hogan.
69. FLIGHT OF THE DEATH BATTALION (June 1939) – A new villain named Dr Runtz is on the loose in this story. Runtz is a crazed medical man who intrudes upon the territory of G-8’s Austrian foe Dr Mollfuss, which is why I wish Hogan had just brought Mollfuss back instead.
Anyway, Dr Runtz has taken vivisections to the umpteenth level, just like Mollfuss, and has created animal-men who combine the savagery of beasts with the intelligence and cruelty of human beings.
Runtz’s outfit is called the Death Battalion and they take to the air, striking fear into the hearts of Allied pilots with their deadly precision and monstrous faces. The old Pulp problem of repetitious storytelling rears its ugly head once again in a tale that rehashes other – and better – G-8 stories of the past.
This story does feature a movie-worthy sequence: one of the Death Battalion’s beast-men not only shoots G-8 down in a dogfight but flies close enough to cut our hero’s parachute rip-cord as he bails out. This leaves the intrepid G-8 battling to survive as he hurls toward the Earth below at an alarming rate.
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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