Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of 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 supernatural 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 nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed.
7. SQUADRON OF CORPSES (April 1934) – G-8’s archenemy Doktor Krueger is at it again! Once again the devilish German scientist has come up with a scientific menace that manages to prey on the superstitions of mankind. Dead German aces are back from the dead and flying into action again against the Allied pilots in the skies over No Man’s Land.
The animated, shambling corpses are impervious to bullets and retain the aerial combat skills they had in life, making them doubly dangerous since they can’t be killed a second time. Even more perplexing is the way Krueger has managed it so that each time a dead German flying ace is “resurrected” an Allied pilot falls ill and dies.
G-8, Nippy Weston and Bull Martin battle the macabre undead menaces and even manage to capture one. This capture further confounds them as it confirms the German aces from beyond the grave really are moldy, decomposing corpses animated by Doktor Krueger like hellish marionettes. Can our heroes prevail? Of course they can!
8. THE INVISIBLE STAFFEL (May 1934) – This story introduced another recurring figure in G-8’s Rogue’s Gallery of Villains: Lakurji the Hindu Mystic. Lakurji sees the Great War as an opportunity to get the British Empire out of his homeland India and throws in with the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.
Lakurji’s first foray into the war finds him using his magical conjurations to render an aircraft and its pilot invisible. This unseen but lethal flyer takes to the skies and racks up an impressive number of kills in some very odd sorties that seem to be more than a little lacking in rhyme or reason.
It turns out Lakurji has plans to make an entire squadron of Central Powers planes and pilots invisible, the better to drive the Allied Powers from the skies and establish total air supremacy! G-8 and his Battle Aces must thwart Lakurji before he can acquire all he needs to complete his deadly plans. All this plus G-8 in disguise as a nobleman of the Austro-Hungarian Empire!
9. THE DYNAMITE SQUADRON (June 1934) – Author Robert J Hogan exploited the comparative novelty of dynamite in World War One in this story. The Central Powers have launched a sort of “Aerial Grenadier” squadron of dynamite hurlers. These flyers practice their craft with deadly precision.
G-8, Nippy and Bull are the Dynamite Squadron’s most dedicated foes in this story that lacks the usual supernatural or super- scientific flair of the other G-8 pulps. This lack of a hook or gimmick has caused this to become one of the least appreciated of Hogan’s stories but if you’re a World War One geek like I am you’ll enjoy the tale’s preoccupation with ordinance and equipment.
Moreover, if you’re one of those pulp fans who try to establish timelines for the adventures of the various pulp heroes you could have fun trying to fit into this particular tale references to the infamous Battle of Pozieres Heights. That battle took place the night of July 26th to 27th, 1916 and involved Grenadiers of both sides just throwing explosives back and forth against each other. It was the biggest grenade/ explosives battle of the war. At any rate, a tale featuring G-8 disguised as an old woman is worth remembering.
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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