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.
70. WINGS OF THE BLACK TERROR (July 1939) – The Chinese genius Chu Lung is back for another go-round with G-8! As always I consider Chu Lung to be just a pale imitation of Fu Manchu or Robert J Hogan’s own Wu Fang, the star of one of the short-lived Villain Pulps.
What I really like about the Chu Lung stories is that they serve as a reminder of the oft-forgotten fact that China entered World War One in August of 1917 on the side of the Allied Powers. In real life China’s inner turmoil prevented it from having much impact on the war but in the G-8 stories Chu Lung was a Chinese traitor who worked for the Central Powers and was one of the deadliest enemies the Allied Powers faced.
This time around the Chinese menace has created a lethal black gas that he releases in the form of enormous dark clouds to kill as many Allied pilots and soldiers as possible. The gas is produced and released by way of a convoluted Rube Goldberg device just begging to be sabotaged.
At one point in the story Chu Lung has captured G-8 and subjects him to a unique variation of Chinese Water Torture, one which mixes acid in with the water droplets to inflict physical as well as psychological pain.
71. PATROL OF THE IRON SCOURGE (August 1939) – This is one of the most fondly remembered G-8 stories of them all. Our heroes go up against an entire army of robots with skull-heads – the Iron Men or Iron Scourge, as they’re referred to interchangeably.
Such a memorable threat deserved to be associated with one of G-8’s greatest foes like Doktor Krueger or Steel Mask or the two teamed together but, unfortunately that was not the case. At any rate the Iron Men pose a potent enough danger to change the entire course of the war. Can G-8, Bull and Nippy hope to defeat a bullet-proof army which knows no fear and no pain? Three guesses.
This tale also featured our heroes plus Battle enjoying a swashbuckling picnic on the enemy side of No Man’s Land … a picnic interrupted by attacking Iron Men!
As my fellow World War One geeks will remember Japan was on the side of the Allied Powers in this conflict. Just as our heroes had battled American, British and French traitors this time they clash with a Japanese traitor in the form of Mr Matsu. This Japanese scientist sold out his homeland because the Central Powers offered him more money.
The villain of this tale may have a bit of novelty but his plan is pure Pulpish repetition. Mr Matsu unleashes the umpteenth deadly gas that G-8 and his Battle Aces have faced. Considering that a deadly gas was the weapon used by an Asian foe just two stories ago this is pretty weak even for the notoriously repetitive Pulps.
Mr Matsu’s gas destroys the bones of the human body and he manufactures it by mixing subterranean liquids with gasses from his HQ – an abandoned mine outside Dusselhoven. Battle is called into action once more in this adventure and even winds up flying an exhausted G-8 home at story’s end – the first time G-8 has trusted his flying pupil to take the stick (Don’t go there)! All that plus Battle’s longest-lasting girlfriend Arabella Hawkins makes another appearance.
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/
FOR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.