Balladeer’s Blog resumes its look at 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 super- natural 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.
76. SKY-GUNS FOR THE MURDER MASTER (January 1940) – Introducing an all-new foe for G-8 – Count Maulwurf! The Count is fondly regarded by World War One geeks like me because he was clearly based on the real life Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, “the Rommel of World War One”.
Lettow- Vorbeck was sort of a “Jungle Fox” to Rommel’s Desert Fox. He was the most effective German General in Africa during the First World War and was still on the loose when the surrender was signed on November 11th, 1918.
In this story his fictional counterpart Count Maulwurf is summoned back to Europe by the Kaiser to see if his African successes can be duplicated against G-8 and the Battle Aces. Maulwurf is outfitted with a super-scientific tunnel-digging machine that can be used for laying massive mines and for tunneling beneath – and ultimately behind – the Allied forces. The machine automatically sealed the tunnels with concrete as it moved along.
Nippy’s fluency in French is featured for the first time in this story.
77. WHITE WINGS FOR THE DEAD (February 1940) – And the hits keep coming this time around with another memorable story against an all-new threat! That threat is The Order of White, at first blush an exclusive order composed of the creme de la creme of Germany’s greatest warriors.
On deeper examination they might be a super-secret organization of white-skinned and white-eyed humans who are pulling the strings of all the Central Powers behind the scenes. What is the secret agenda of this pre-Bilderberg group of conspirators? And are their manipulations limited to the Central Powers or are they secretly controlling the Allied Powers as well?
And perhaps most importantly – is their white-eyed and white-skinned physical appearance just a disguise or is it the true form of these odd humanoids? Is The Order of White really an other-worldly race using World War One as a convenient cover for their scheme to take over the Earth?
This tale includes G-8 commenting that after the war he plans to continue to serve the government in some capacity, a comment that fuels the tongue-in- cheek theory that G-8 was really Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt’s son.
Firehammer was a hunch-backed inventor who created a globular machine capable of producing lightning. The mad inventor claimed to have been eloctrocuted to death by his own invention. A second strike of his device’s lightning brought him back to life, giving Firehammer an eerie, sinister supernatural air that was very effective.
It also gave him Cajun-blackened skin like G-8’s foe the Raven in another example of the repetitious nature of the Pulps. Firehammer’s secret lair was beside a hydro-electric dam on the Moselle River from which he fired lightning up into the skies to wipe out Allied planes. In the exciting climax Firehammer transfers his lightning-weapon to a German Gotha bomber and takes to the skies to unleash large-scale destruction on Allied aircraft and the ground troops below.
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
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