“Guile of the Griffon” by Arch Whitehouse
Join Kerry Keen and Barney O’Dare as “The Griffon” returns with another exciting adventure.
Down through the ebony night dived a strange, black amphibian. Glistening in the reflected light of the great Montauk beam, it glided to the water and taxied to a ramp where two men stood in the shadows. And from the cockpit of that eerie craft crawled a hideously deformed creature—a man whose very existence was a cruel mockery of the grave. “I built—” he croaked, leering at the taller man, “not one plane, but two. The other,” he continued in a queer cackle, “went to a man whom you, Keen, will kill—though as yet you’ve never even heard of him . . . .”
Empire State Extras
We have just posted three new galleries related to our latest release, The Spider Vs. The Empire State! The first gallery is for the pulp covers by John Newton Howitt, which we were not able to reproduce in color in the book. The second shows ALL of the interior illustrations by John Fleming Gould as they originally appeared in the three issues that were collected for the volume. This means, if you own a copy of Empire State, you can see how each image was filled out to make a complete two-page spread (strictly using Gould art, mind you). This gallery also includes the character portraits from each story which didn’t find a place in the book. The third gallery is actually photographs of the book, both inside and out. We opted to do this because so many people have said that, though the cover is stirring, when they saw the whole book in person they were even more impressed with the design. So, if you own a copy of Empire State, enjoy these “dvd extras” — and if you don’t, take a look and maybe you’ll be inspired to pick up a copy!
“Don’t Shoot” by Robert J. Hogan
Sammy Stein joined the grease-monkey squad to be safe; but after the first bombing raid, he struck a bargain with the C.O. and hocked his safety for his life, collecting a net profit of Spandau lead and glory.
“The Squadron Without a Name” by Donald E. Keyhoe
Once again the Devildog Squadron is roaring into action!
Under guard in his hut—on a double charge of treason and murder! He had led two men out on a secret mission and they had not returned—but he had brought straight to his hidden drome a flock of Boche. And that night he was found beside the body of the man who had called him a spy—and the man was dead, shot through the heart! Yet for Larry Brent, one of those twenty loyal hellions the Boche had named Devildogs, there was always a way out—even though it led to the Squadron Without a Name.
Arch Whitehouse: WWI Pilot and Pulp Writer
One of our favorite aviation pulp writers here at Age of Aces is the extraordinarily prolific Arch Whitehouse. The series characters he created for Flying Aces and Sky Birds were extremely popular with the readers back in the 30’s and 40’s, and they are among the most popular downloads in our “Age of Aces Presents” section. Month after month he brought these colorful aces to life. They had names like Buzz Benson, Tug Hardwick, Coffin Kirk, Crash Carringer, the Casket Crew, and many more.
Seventy years ago this month Flying Aces magazine ran an illustrated profile of Whitehouse’s life, including his exploits as a WWI pilot. Here it is as it appeared in the October 1939 issue.
While Whitehouse’s account of his war record is entertaining, experts have attacked it as, at best, an exaggeration. And at worst, outright fabrication. It seems that the line between fiction and non-fiction was a little blurry for Arch Whitehouse.
Today is the first Friday of the month. If we were living in the Thirties, a new issue of The Spider magazine would be hitting newsstands today, such was it’s publication schedule. In fact, 71 years ago we may have shown up a little early, rushing to our local vendor in anticipation of “The Spider at Bay,” the second chapter in a continuing story — a rarity for The Master of Men. Would Richard Wentworth finally defeat the dreaded Black Police this month? The title didn’t sound promising. Today, of course, you don’t have to wait another month for the ending — you can buy the “Black Police Trilogy” complete in one book: The Spider Vs. The Empire State!
Another cool thing to think about, if it was the first Friday of September in 1938: As we clutch our mint copy of “The Spider at Bay,” principal photography for the first Spider serial, The Spider’s Web, had only just started on Monday! And — as Ed Hulse discovered fairly recently — star Warren Hull had only been cast one week ago, after John Trent dropped out at the last minute. You have to wonder if The Spider’s Web would be considered one of the top cliffhangers of all time without this genius stroke of recasting — and if Hull himself would have gone on to embody other serial heroes such as Mandrake the Magician or The Green Hornet?
Bringing it back around to the “The Spider at Bay” … As this was the current issue of The Spider at the time, it is this magazine that figures prominently in The Spider’s Web photography and promotional materials. At right is Kenneth Duncan, who so ably played Ram Singh in The Spider’s Web and The Spider Returns, posing with the story that we just reprinted in Empire State. According to the Web promotions book, there were five stills of the actors posed with The Spider magazine to capitalize on the title’s popularity. Personally, I’ve only seen the Duncan portrait, and one of the Spider used in the magazine’s own two-page ad for the serial, pictured below. This ad ran in the January 1939 issue, which, as you probably guessed, hit newsstands on December’s first Friday.
War Skies of Shanghai by Arch Whitehouse
Reporter/Flying Ace Billy “Buzz” Benson returns with a new adventure. Westward toward Shanghai, where smoldered a fire of war that threatened to blaze forth and enflame the whole world, a Yankee submarine cut through the waters of the Pacific. Deep in its hold was the Sea Hawk, the plane chosen to carry Buzz Benson straight through the Japanese air zone with secret orders that would mean war or peace. But not twenty cable lengths away steamed a Japanese sub, and in its hold was another Sea Hawk—awaiting the moment when Benson should begin his mad air race to Shanghai!