Balladeer’s Blog concludes its look at the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This has been 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. Here are my reviews of the 109th and 110th issues of this massively underappreciated Pulp magazine.
109. WINGS OF THE DEATH MONSTER (April 1944) – G-8’s FINAL BATTLE WITH STEEL MASK, the German supervillain who hid his disfigured face behind a metal mask decades before Dr Doom and Darth Vader came along.
Just like our hero’s final encounter with his arch-enemy Doktor Krueger a few issues back this already exciting story gets an extra boost from pure nostalgia, marking as it does the last meeting between G-8 and his second-most memorable foe.
Steel Mask still boasts a talent for weapons design that would shame even the 1960’s-era Tony Stark in Iron Man comic books. The German madman’s Death Monster is a new and improved version of the 100 feet high super-tank that he used a while back. For this new model wings and the element of flight threaten to make it the ultimate super-weapon for the Central Powers.
Can G-8, Bull Martin and Nippy Weston stop Steel Mask and his deadly new creation? Nope. They fail, get killed and the Central Powers win the war. I’m kidding!
Another noteworthy item about this final issue is one of those printing errors that so intrigue stamp collectors and Pulp magazine fans: despite the plural title on the cover the inside title is the singular Wings of the Death Tiger.
In the past our heroes have battled American, French, Japanese and Italian traitors who were working with the Central Powers against their own respective countries. This time around a British traitor shows up in the form of big-game hunter Sir Gregory.
G-8 and company find themselves once again in India and Afghanistan as Sir Gregory allies himself with the Central Powers to try to drive the British Empire out of the Near East. His weapon: a group of tiger-headed warriors specially created by the nefarious Sir Gregory. It’s up to our heroes to stop him and his Tiger-Men before the traitor can create an entire army of these nearly unstoppable hybrid-creatures.
After this issue the global paper shortage brought on by the war finally killed off G-8 and His Battle Aces for good, ending this fun and memorable series with the proverbial whimper instead of a roar.
WELL, THAT WRAPS UP BALLADEER’S BLOG’S FOURTH STORY-BY-STORY EXAMINATION OF A NEGLECTED PULP HERO! BE HERE NEXT WEEK FOR AN ALL-NEW SATURDAY FEATURE!
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