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, his two Battle Aces.
G-8 and his Battle Aces find themselves in India and Afghanistan this time around, where another native-born menace has joined forces with the Central Powers to try to drive the hated British Empire out for good.
His name is Akhan, High Priest of the fictional Khush sect, a Thugee-type cult who also dabble in raising the dead. An army of walking skeletons is conjured up and unleashed on British Empire forces with our heroes being the only chance of thwarting Akhan’s plans.
G-8 and company wind up pursuing Akhan through Ottoman Muslim Turkey and across Europe to the front lines in France with the madman summoning up legions of the dead all along the way.
95. HORDE OF THE BLACK EAGLE (December 1941) – G-8’s old foe the Raven is back! The German with skin as black as a raven’s wings from the fiery crash he survived still wants revenge on our hero for shooting down his brother and for his present condition.
Von Ravenfeld tries to bore G-8, Bull and Nippy to death with a plan that rehashes his own previous efforts as well as those of other members of G-8’s Rogue’s Gallery of foes.
Instead of a souped-up missile or a lethal gas the Raven’s creation this time is a silly combination of the two: a missile made purely out of a poisonous chemical. In flight the missile dissolves, and in its gaseous form kills Allied pilots and soldiers by the score. No doubt stifling yawns by this point our heroes set out to defeat the Raven once again.
The long run of the G-8 series as well as the built-in repetitive nature of Pulp storytelling are making this home stretch to the 110th and final story a bit of a slog. Baron Von Bitzer’s secret weapon is a fleet of aerial smart bombs called Death Divers … seemingly the 10th or so smart bomb threat our heroes have faced.
And yes, I know the rationale with Pulps was that many readers who read G-8’s early stories had probably matured to other tastes in entertainment by now and the young, new readers would not realize how recycled the tales were. True enough, but, like with the Moon Man’s stories it can kill the fun a little.
Still, fans of Bull Martin will enjoy the spotlight that is once again shone on him and his Herculean strength in a few fight scenes in this adventure. And if you force yourself to find something new in this story G-8 gets injured in his shoulder for the first time and has to be patched up at a front line medical station.
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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