Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This continues 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.
28. THE BLOOD-BAT STAFFEL (January 1936) – Doktor Krueger strikes again! This time our hero’s archenemy has created menaces that seem more in line with something the Austrian villain Dr Mollfuss would come up with.
Scores of monstrous man-bats are flying through the skies over No Man’s Land, terrifying and killing Allied pilots in this latest super-scientific offensive by the Central Powers. G-8 recognizes the hand of his nemesis Doktor Krueger behind this deadly and horrific threat (though as I mentioned above I’d have laid my money on Dr Mollfuss given his love of animal-men). The man-bats are also able to shoot bolts of electricity from their fingertips for no apparent reason!
It’s up to G-8, Nippy Weston and Bull Martin to defeat the little madman’s latest plan: a far-reaching scenario which would – in Krueger’s own words – have America and all the other Allied nations begging him for mercy. All this plus G-8 disguised at one point as a very old clockmaker!
29. SKELETONS OF THE BLACK CROSS (February 1936) – Doktor Krueger makes his first consecutive appearances since the sixth and seventh G-8 stories. This exciting tale opens up in Krueger’s castle headquarters in Germany with G-8 already in his clutches. The mad doctor demonstrates his latest secret weapon to his chained-up adversary. That weapon: black rays that slowly and painfully burn away the flesh and muscle from any human being’s body, leaving behind animated skeletons that obey Doktor Krueger’s every command.
Krueger plans on sending forth these skeletons both on foot and in balloons marked with black crosses for land and aerial assaults using guns that shoot the infernal black rays. Each victim of the black rays will in turn become another obedient skeleton and go forth with a black ray-gun of its own to add even more living skeletons to Krueger’s army. This geometrically reproducing force will eventually overwhelm all of the Allied forces and win the war for the Central Powers, then pave the way for global conquest.
G-8 escapes Doktor Krueger’s castle and tries to return to the Allied lines in a cat and mouse game which finds him pursued by his archenemy’s forces every step of the way. This story features thrilling escapes, recaptures and additional escapes until our hero at last returns to his headquarters. After G-8 warns the Allied commanders about what they will soon face he takes to the skies with his Battle Aces to try to thwart this macabre menace before Krueger’s plans can come true. Want to see a man’s face shot off bit by bit? Want to see an army of living skeletons in military parade formation? This gruesome story has all of that!
30. THE PATROL OF THE DEAD (March 1936) – As this adventure opens up G-8, Nippy and Bull are partying hard in Paris on some well-earned leave after defeating Doktor Krueger’s army of skeletons. While whooping it up they run into Jack Murdock, an old friend of G-8 from before the war. Murdock is flying with the Brits in the RAF and as the two old pals get reaquainted they find themselves having to save a French prince from a handful of would-be robbers.
Turns out the would-be robbers were after the prince’s ring: a ring found in Egypt during Napoleon’s campaign there over a century earlier and eventually handed down in the prince’s own family as an heirloom. The ring once belonged to Cleopatra herself and possesses secret powers that have two Central Powers agents trying to obtain it. The Mad Baron is a German who wants the ring for the Fatherland’s war effort and Renases is an Egyptian Muslim who wants to reconquer Egypt for the Ottoman Empire, just like G-8’s earlier foe Amen Sikh.
Renases and the Mad Baron eventually get the ring and use its weird powers to create an army of mummy-men (despite the misleading depiction of skeletons on the cover of this Pulp adventure). Once again G-8 and his Battle Aces must try to thwart a supernatural menace conjured up by the Central Powers. All this plus a battle to the death between G-8 and one of the Mad Baron’s HUGE German henchmen in the most Indiana Jones-ish G-8 adventure of them all!
I WILL BE EXAMINING MORE G-8 STORIES NEXT TIME!
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