Balladeer’s Blog re-sumes 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.
79. WINGS OF THE DRAGON LORD (April 1940) – The Chinese genius Chu Lung strikes again! In real life China entered World War One in August of 1917 but the nation’s internal turmoil prevented it from having much of an impact on the war. Chu Lung, a variation of Fu Manchu and Wu Fang, picked up the slack for his country, at least in Robert J Hogan’s G-8 stories.
The aristocratic scientist has discovered literal dragon creatures living in China’s Gobi Desert and seeks to harness them for the nation’s war effort. He’s not just going to waste them in frontal assaults on the Allied armies, though – his plans are much more sinister and far-reaching.
The saliva of these dragon creatures is a deadly poison, a poison so unfathomably fatal that a mere pint of it dumped in a city’s water supply would kill a million people. Chu Lung plans to unleash total warfare by using this poison to contaminate the water supply of all the major cities in each of the Allied Powers nations!
80. THE GREEN SCOURGE OF THE SKY RAIDERS (May 1940) – Even at this late date some of G-8’s most memorable recurring foes were still making their debut. This story introduced the American traitor called Herr Grun (“Mr Green”), interchangeably referred to as Grun (“Groon”) the Primeval. Just as G-8’s enemy Steel Mask prefigured later figures like Doctor Doom and Darth Vader, Grun the Primeval had elements that were later echoed in fictional characters like the Hulk and the X-Men.
Born to a wealthy New York woman, Grun was a mutant with green skin, an apelike face and the long arms of a gorilla. He also had an extraordinary intellect. No father was ever mentioned but given the periodic appearance of aliens in the G-8 stories it’s possible Grun’s father was an extraterrestrial since he was born far too early to be “a child of the atom” like the mutants in X-Men comic books.
Whatever the cause of his mutation, after killing his mother and framing an innocent man for the deed the 21 year old Grun used his access to the family fortune to track down and gather about him fifteen more freaks of nature like himself. Hating everything about his family Grun offered his team’s services to America’s enemies the Central Powers, who welcomed him aboard.
In this debut adventure the super-villain took to the skies in a Zepellin that carried his team and his invention – a wireless ray that would cause all the ammunition on Allied planes to explode before they could even fire at enemy aircraft. It was up to G-8, Nippy and Bull to end Grun the Primeval’s aerial reign of terror.
81. RED WINGS FOR THE DEATH PATROL (June 1940) – To the surprise of nobody Grun survived his apparent death in an explosion at the end of the previous story. While recovering from his wounds he tapped into his previously unknown psychic powers, which gave him hypnotic abilities as well as a telepathic link with each of his fellow mutants.
Grun made an abandoned mine shaft under the Black Forest the next base of operations for himself and his band of misfits. Because his mother had spirited him away to Haiti to raise him away from prying eyes ever since he was two months old Grun had grown up well-versed in the practices of Haitian Death Cults and now ran his outfit along similar lines.
Grun’s main goal now was the obliteration of all “normal” people in the world so that he and his kind could literally inherit the Earth. This new ambition made Grun the Primeval a sort of proto- Magneto as well. The villain was still pretending to cooperate with the Central Powers, to have access to their resources. He and his team kidnapped Battle and threatened to behead him as bait to lure G-8 and his Battle Aces into their subterranean lair in order to kill them.
Our hero’s girlfriend R-1 sees action again in this tale, which also features guest appearances by Hogan’s other flying ace Pulp heroes, the Red Falcon and his sidekick Sika.
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
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