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.
97. RAIDERS OF THE DEATH PATROL (April 1942) – This story features the return of G-8’s old foe Herr Butscher! The crazed genius who was thrown out of medical school so long ago has been busy since his last appearance devising a deadly green liquid that destroys the metal of tanks as easily as it destroys human flesh!
Herr Butscher’s Death Patrol are deployed along the Western Front, armed with modern-day catapults that hurl glass containers filled with the green liquid. As the containers are catapulted into the Allied lines the soldiers and armored weapons are devastated, threatening to change the entire course of the war.
Desperately, General Pershing and his subordinates try to locate G-8, the one man they are sure can save the Allies once again. Our hero can’t be found, however, as he’s already deep behind the Central Powers lines, risking his life to find a way of defeating Herr Butscher’s ghastly chemical weapon. Will he survive? And if so how many will die before he can convey his vital information to the Allied High Command?
At one point our hero’s British manservant Battle disguises himself as G-8 to distract the kidnap-minded thugs of Herr Butscher, only to wind up snatched in G-8’s place. Thinking he has our hero in his clutches Butscher plans to immerse him (slowly, of course) in a batch of his deadly green chemical.
Well, okay, the tattoos are just a by-product of his plan. Krueger has created an irresistable form of mass-hypnosis that can turn everyone – even civilians – into obedient and deadly soldiers for the Central Powers.
The hypnotic device leaves an odd-shaped tattoo on the heads of its victims … a tattoo that resembles the claw-mark of a vulture. Doktor Krueger’s massive legion of hypnotized and relentless human killing machines go forth to crush the Allied Powers and slay his enemies – with G-8 and his Battle Aces in the top spot on the list!
Battle gets captured by Krueger in this tale but when freed gets to kick some German butt by shooting them with an automatic and clubbing them with a rolling pin.
Von Grabbe addresses the German High Command and unveils his plan to win the war for the Central Powers. He’s invented a Living Death Ray Machine. No, not a Death Ray Machine that’s alive, mind you, but a ray machine that reduces its victims to a kind of living death.
You could argue that it’s just another variation on the many zombie-type threats our heroes have battled in the past and you’d have a point. Insert my usual comment about the repetitive nature of Pulp story-telling, especially in a long-running series like G-8. At any rate these zombified creations aren’t any more successful than any of the previous versions were.
On the plus side the story does feature G-8’s daring escape from Von Grabbe’s dungeon, following which he saves Nippy from a firing squad! There’s also a thrilling sequence in which G-8 and Nippy are fleeing in a German truck laden with explosives. At any moment the bullets of their angry pursuers could very well cause an explosion!
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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