Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
G-8. G-8 was created by Robert J. Hogan (Captain Combat, Greaseball Joe, Red Falcon, Secret Six, Smoke Wade, Wu Fang (III)) and appeared in 111 stories in G-8 and His Battle Aces and Dare-Devil Aces from 1933 to 1944, beginning with “The Bat Staffel” (G-8 and His Battle Aces, Oct. 1933).
G-8 was the greatest of the pulp air aces. G-8, whose real name is never revealed, is an air ace and agent of Allied Intelligence during World War One. Initially G-8 is saved by two superior pilots, Bull Martin and Nippy Weston, who bicker with each other but can always be relied upon to help G-8. Soon enough both became G-8's aides and he became a better pilot than either. Weston is a small, quick, blond amateur magician who scorns superstition and who flies Spad #13. Martin is tall (twice Weston's size), broad, a former All-American half-back, and very superstitious, which is why he flies Spad #7. G-8 learned the art of disguise from his manservant Battle, who is highly skilled in that area. Occasional guest-star Red Falcon undoubtedly taught G-8 a few tricks. And he most likely learned some things from R-1, the beautiful blonde pilot of the American Intelligence Service.
G-8 is of only average height, though athletically built, and has "sandy" hair and "steel gray" eyes. He and the Battle Aces work from an airdrome located near Le Bourget, north of Paris. G-8's Rogues Gallery is extraordinary and is one of the greatest in the pulps. In addition to supernatural monsters, including vampires, werewolves, and zombies, G-8 deals with a number of recurring Yellow Peril Japanese and German villains. The worst is Herr Doktor Krueger, the evilest Mad Scientist Germany ever produced--the G-8 stories were full of Mad Scientists, but Krueger tops them all--a man completely dedicated and devoted to evil and viciousness solely for their own sake. His plans range from killing all the humans between the Rhine and Paris by way of giant, poison-breathing bats to using captured American pilots against their own side in suicide attacks. Krueger is a little man with teeth filed to a point, and he always wears his trademark gray cutaway coat. Besides Krueger there is Baron von Todschmecker, a schemer and pilot who carries on despite a knife, thrown by G-8, lodged in his brain. There is also Chu Lung, the Chinese "Master of Death" and a flying spy for the German military. Chu Lung is a gaunt giant with "glowing jade-green eyes" and an aerial arsenal, including poisonous clouds, artificial, death-dealing banshee wails, and a gas-powered, fire-breathing dragon plane. Herr Matsu is a small, soft-spoken Japanese freelancer who hires out to the Germans to fight G-8, and then returns as Chu Lung's ally. There is Stahlmaske (Steelmask), a Prussian genius. With one well-aimed shot G-8 mutilates Stahlmaske’s face and destroys most of his memory, forcing Stahlmaske to wear a black steel mask at all times. Stahlmaske creates fear and loathing among even the German High Command, and invents a number of deadly weapons and vehicles to kill the Allies and help Germany.
G-8 also fights Herr Grun, the beauty-hating American ape-man; the Vampire Hag, "queen of the winged dead;" the Raven, a "beak-faced avian travesty," who swears vengeance against G-8 for the death of his younger brother and for his own facial disfigurement; the enormous Man In Armor, who wears full plate armor when he flies his fighter plane and who leads "an army of bloated corpses;" Dr. Schlemmer, a Mad Scientist who creates bloodthirsty "gorilla-men;" Herr Feuer, the asbestos-clad German firebug; and, finally, Herr Doktor Wormer, the "Death Master," the German Mad Scientist who plans to blow up the entire world.
* I'm including the G-8 stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they are the archetypal pulp air adventure stories. There were ever so many air adventure stories and two-fisted heroic pilots in the pulps, and some of them were very entertaining indeed. But only G-8 appeared in over a hundred stories for eleven years and had a gonzo crazy Rogues Gallery. Only G-8 inspired imitations and acted as the mountain to other creators, in that they were either in G-8's shadow or influenced enough by G-8 to avoid being in his shadow. And of course the G-8 stories are horribly bigoted toward the Germans and outrageously racist toward the Japanese--something that should emphatically not go without saying. That they are horribly racist and bigoted doesn't make the G-8 stories any less archetypal in the pulps, though.
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