Will Murray's Pulp Classics #26
G-8 and His Battle Aces Audiobook
#1 The Bat Staffel
by Robert J. Hogan
Read by Doug Stone. Liner Notes by Will Murray
They called G-8 the Flying Spy. History never recorded his exploits—and for good reason! No one would ever believe World War I was that wild!
G-8, the high-flying ace pilot of World War I, was born in the front seat of a car barreling through the Holland Tunnel. His father was Robert Jasper Hogan, who had made quite a name for himself as a prolific pulp writer specializing in aviation fiction during the glamorous era now styled Between the Wars. Among practitioners of that now-lost art, this school of writing was styled Yammering Guns, after the sound of contending synchronized machine guns in furious action.
It was the summer of 1933, and despite the Great Depression, Popular Publications was booming. Part of their Autumn expansion plans entailed launching The Spider, and a companion title to be aimed at the legions of readers who drank up fictionalized accounts of World War I Allied aces versus Imperial Germany’s various bi-winged counts and barons, red and otherwise.
One of Popular’s star writers, Hogan was doubtless the first writer publisher Harry Steeger considered when casting about for a suitable scribe. The unnamed magazine was on the schedule as a monthly. The designated author would have to know his rudders and ailerons—and be reliable. Hard drinkers need not apply. And Hogan had been an air cadet during World War I, although the armistice came before he could ship out and see action.
Steeger and Hogan hashed out an idea. It was part Eddie Rickenbacker and part What Price Glory?—which was a popular Maxwell Anderson stage play turned into a motion picture. Price stressed the horrors of war as counterpoint to the sentimental comradeship of the Allies in the trenches. Only in this case, by horror, Popular Publications meant something far more horrific than mustard-gas trench warfare atrocities.
For, envisioning the expected strain on the writer’s imagination a monthly novel would enact, Steeger and Hogan agreed that the new series would soon grow stale if they didn’t spice it up with elements of the fantastic. This recipe ranged from merely super-scientific death rays to the unabashedly supernatural manifestations. Nothing was taboo in G-8. Hogan was a pioneer of over-the-top plotting generations before the term was coined.
Normally, pulp publishers put house names on such fare, to protect themselves from ill, drunken or unreliable authors. But Hogan’s byline was pure pulp gold, so Steeger took a chance. The series would carry the author’s true name. Hogan never let him down.
Driving home to New Jersey from Manhattan, Hogan passed through the Holland Tunnel. While in traffic, he worked out the details of G-8’s first wild adventure. He named his hero after a Colorado ranch where Hogan worked one summer. G-8 never had another name. His wingmen, Bull Martin and Nippy Weston, were modeled on a pair of real-life flyboys named Bull Nevin and Nippy Westover. Pulp fans have accused Hogan of copying the friendly rivalry of Doc Savage’s wartime buddies, Monk Mayfair and Ham Brooks, in his depictions of Bull and Nippy. In fact, all those characters were derived from What Price Glory?’s memorable Captain Flagg and Sergeant Quirt.
The premier tale, which appeared in the October, 1933 issue of G-8 and His Battle Aces, exemplified the outrageous approach Steeger and Hogan envisioned for the series. Hogan called it The Bat Staffel. Therein he introduced a German mad scientist who would bedevil his new hero the length and breadth of the series—some eleven tortured years. This first time out, Herr Doktor Krueger unleashed monster bats as big as bi-planes on Allied Sopwith Camels and Spads. It made for fearsome reading.
With his canvas limited to the skies over No Man’s Land during the four years encompassed by what was originally called the Great War, Hogan went for broke, escalating from terrifying tales such as The Skeleton Patrol and Squadron of the Scorpion to unchecked phantasms of terror like Satan Paints the Sky, Here Flies the Hawks of Hell and The Bloody Wings of the Vampire. Hogan had a predilection for half-human antagonists, which manifested in an annual parade of beast-men, wolf-men, leopard-men, panther-men, even rhino-men. For G-8 and his battle buddies, the War to End All Wars proved to be a very long and hairy conflict.
Once, Hogan outlined a particularly gruesome G-8 plot for a queasy but mesmerized Popular Publications staffer. “My editor was nauseated,” he recalled. Readers ranging from ten years old to outwardly mature stockbrokers ate it up, however. They were so captivated by the Flying Spy that even the glamorous new all-metal aircraft dominating the skies of World War II didn’t squash their interest in the glorified kites of the prior conflict. It took a crushing shortage of pulp paper to force Steeger to finally and reluctantly cancel the magazine. After penning over a hundred G-8 novels, Hogan took it in stride and blithely switched over to writing quality stories for The Saturday Evening Post. His last editor was aghast. He didn’t think Hogan had it in him.
Before it was all over, G-8 battled weird menaces ranging from Martians to Zombies, with assorted undead minions of the Kaiser in between. If Hogan couldn’t concoct a fresh beast-man, why, a clutch of cave men or freshly-defrosted Viking berserkers would keep readers riveted. Recurring foes came and went. G-8 finally vanquished Herr Doktor Krueger late in the series. Or did he? Maybe they renewed their feud for World War II. If so, Hogan failed to record those encounters. No doubt they would have captivated ever-loyal fans of the one and only Flying Spy.
Through it all, Robert J. Hogan never seemed ashamed to have his Christian name attached to effusions bearing overblown titles like The Flying Coffins of the Damned. And he a minister’s son.
This inaugural G-8 audiobook is narrated by the talented Doug Stone. Stand clear! Contact! Zoooom! Tac-tac-tac-tac! Yammering Guns live again!
Nick DeGregorio composed the music for the G-8 and His Battle Aces series of audiobooks.
#1 The Bat Staffel
by Robert J. Hogan
Read by Doug Stone
Chapter 1: Condemned to Die
Chapter 2: The Bat Breath
Chapter 3: Hell Island
Chapter 4: The Vanished Ace
Chapter 5: G-8, Special Agent
Chapter 6: Battle Aces
Chapter 7: The Secret Drome
Chapter 8: Bat Patrol
Chapter 9: The Village of Death
Chapter 10: Sealed Orders
Chapter 11: G-8, Special Messenger
Chapter 12: A Corpse Disappears
Chapter 13: The Tunnel
Chapter 14: Cave of the Bats
Chapter 15: Trapped!
Chapter 16: Find G-8!
Chapter 17: G-8, Prisoner
Chapter 18: The Death Patrol
Chapter 19: Fight of the Bats
Chapter 20: Hell Hole
Chapter 21: Vengeance Sky Guns
Chapter 22: Victory Wings
The Floating Runt
by R. Sidney Bowen
Read by James Gillies
The Iron Eye
by O. B. Meyers
Read by Roger Price
“G-8 fought a surreally supernatural alternate reality version of the War to End all Wars!”
Will Murray is the Series Producer for Will Murray’s Pulp Classics line of Pulp Audiobooks and Pulp eBooks. Will is the author of over 50 novels in popular series ranging from The Destroyer to Mars Attacks. Collaborating posthumously with the legendary Lester Dent, he has written to date twelve Doc Savage novels, with Skull Island, Death’s Dark Domain, Desert Demons, Horror in Gold, and The Infernal Buddha now available. For National Public Radio, Murray adapted The Thousand-Headed Man for The Adventures of Doc Savage in 1985, and recently edited Doc Savage: The Lost Radio Scripts of Lester Dent for Moonstone Books. He is versed in all things pulp.
Doug Stone was born in Toronto, Canada, where he had worked primarily on stage. Doug moved to Los Angeles in 1985 to star as 6 characters in the network cartoon series, M.A.S.K. Since that time he has voiced original animation, commercials, video games, industrials, anime and supplied voice-over for almost 1,000 TV shows and films, including series such as ER and Chicago Hope.
Animation has also included Lilo and Stitch, Felix the Cat, The Chipmunks, The Mutant League, 227 institials of The Adventures of Dynamo Duck with The Simpsons, Don Castellaneta starring. Doug's own Synchronicity Looping, supplied the voices for the entire 243 episodes of the Hercules and Xena TV series. He is the winner of 5 Golden Reel Awards for voice casting for looping and has also cast for games, anime and Interactives. His anime credits number well in the hundreds and include many major titles, and Doug has characters in many video game, perhaps most notably as Psycho Mantis in the popular Metal Gear Solid.
His commercial work includes being the voice for Hot Pockets products for many years, Bud Ice, Nissan Trucks, the Things Happen campaign for over 100 Insurance companies. Plus Industrials for clients as diverse as UCLA medical group, to BOTS cartoons, to McDonald’s Trivia Trek. Most currently he can be heard as his recurring character, “Speed The Turtle,” in the new video release in the Swan Princess series. And he has a lead role in the animated film, The Enchaunted House, scheduled for release in 2013.
Nick DeGregorio is a composer and conductor with over 100 theatrical musical direction credits including a Helen Hayes Awards, Best Musical Direction nomination for his work on DeafWest’s Big River at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC. Nick’s conducted and/or played for Randy Newman, Bernadette Peters, Marvin Hamlisch, Lorna Luft, Juliet Prowse, Morey Amsterdam, John Denver, Carol Channing and Glen Campbell and was MD for Hal Linden, Dorothy Lamour (5 years) and the LA Friar’s Club roast of Carl Reiner. He’s provided musical direction at many regional theatres around the country and was associate conductor for the Broadway tours of 42nd Street and Big River and the PCLO/Nederlander tour of Doctor Dolittle.
Nick’s conducted the Phoenix Symphony, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra and Les Brown’s Band of Renown and has played piano with the St. Louis, San Jose, Utah, Ottawa, Rochester, Baltimore, Winnipeg, Florida and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. On Broadway, Nick played piano for 42nd Street. Off-Broadway, Nick wrote the orchestrations for Fanny Hill and orchestrated for Lorna Luft’s show and Barry Manilow produced recording, Songs My Mother Taught Me. He’s done orchestrations for the Key West Pops and also for Mitzi Gaynor’s new show, Razzle Dazzle. As a composer, Nick has worked on projects for BBC-TV, Random House Entertainment, Mike Young Productions, Scholastic Entertainment, Coyne Communications and Paramount Pictures. He has also written seven musical comedies, the latest, High School Reunion, was recently listed in the Samuel French catalog.
James Gillies lives in the beautiful West of Scotland, and is a broadcaster, narrator, writer, producer and voice-artist with over twenty five years experience. When not reading the Six O’Clock News, narrating documentaries and promoting programmes, he spent over two decades on BBC One and BBC Two broadcasting to an audience of millions. These days, he is having great fun playing multiple characters for audio books (he has even played The Queen), discovering just how zany the vocal demands of on-line gaming can be and, occasionally, pulling on his old broadcasting ‘authoritative but avuncular’ hat for documentaries and presentations. Since leaving the BBC he has recorded for clients across the world, and can be heard everywhere from online games to the hallowed halls of Russia’s foremost museums. When not in front of the mic, he has taught theatre and educational drama, produced recordings of Baroque music and currently publishes e-books in the UK. He recently completed the first audio book of Rob Child’s Alexander Hamilton Trilogy, and is currently producing the first of Rosaleen Orr’s Bleeding Heart Murders.
Roger Price During his lengthy career as an entertainer, Roger Price has performed on TV, radio and the live stage. At one time or another he has worked as a stand-up comic, hosted a late night TV movie series as a character called “The Baron”, worked as a morning radio personality, hosted and emceed numerous live events, served as an entertainment news anchor and even worked as a ring announcer for professional wrestling. Comic book and pop culture fans know Roger Price as the creator, director and “voice” of Mid-Ohio-Con, one of the largest and longest running shows of its kind.Currently, in addition to his work with RadioArchives.com, Roger works with a wide variety of clients as a popular announcer and voice actor, specializing in character/cartoon voices and dialects.