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The Bridge Bombers

Link - Posted by David on August 18, 2013 @ 3:02 pm in

Back with another of Frederick Blakeslee’s “The Story Behind The Cover.” This time we’re featuring Blakeslee’s cover for the April 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces. Another of his nighttime covers that are so striking and only seem to appear in the first year of Dare-Devil Aces’ 15 year run. So, without further ado, “The Bridge Bombers” The Story Behind the Cover by Federick Blakeslee…

th_DDA_3204THERE is a river in northern France which a certain German army corps will never forget. Every bridge had been blown up and the French had made a strong resistance from the south bank for two days. German intelligence discovered a weak spot in the defense, however, and here they determined to cross at night.

Soon after dark Boche engineers began their work. Huge guns came out of concealment and were hurried to the riverside. The bridges, which were being built six at once, seemed to fairly leap across and as quickly as they were completed the troops started to march over them. It was then that things began to happen. The Germans became conscious of a pulsation which quickly became a rumble, then a roar, as two squadrons of fighting Scouts swept down upon them, spraying the bridges with lead and dropping small bombs. The Jerries broke and ran in both directions.

Then came the bombers, dropping high explosives, blowing men and bridges to kingdom come. In the meantime a hot ground fire started to drive back those Germans who had succeeded in reaching the south bank. As soon as the low-flying planes had gone, French artillery opened on the enemy who remained on the north bank. The damage by infantry, artillery and planes was terrific and all but annihilated a complete army corps.

The Germans eventually crossed the river, but at a tremendous price. Later they were to return to that river, as eager to get to the north bank as they had been to get to the south.

The Story Behind The Cover
“The Bridge Bombers: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick Blakeslee (April 1932)

Check back again. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations.

Blakeslee’s Bombing London

Link - Posted by David on August 9, 2013 @ 12:32 pm in

Frederick Blakeslee painted the covers for Dare-Devil Aces‘ entire fourteen year run. Every one of those covers tolds a story, and Blakeslee had a page with which to do so. We present Blakeslee’s cover for the November 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces—”Bombing London.”

th_DDA_3211THE COVER shows a night raid on London by a squadron of Gothas—one of the most cruel and useless gestures of the War. The Germans seem to have had the idea that these raids would break the morale of the English people. In that respect they utterly failed, for they made England fighting mad and stimulated recruiting as nothing else could have done. The average Englishman took the raids philosophically. Instead of flocking to the cellars a great many went to the roofs to watch the sport. The following anecdote shows their reaction. In a hotel where the people were on the verge of panic during a raid, one of the guests heard the banging of anti-aircraft guns, put down his paper and said in a loud voice, “Come in!” Everyone laughed and the tension was broken.

However, raids were not jokes. They were horrible, serving no useful military purpose and killing hundreds of non-combattants. Most of the raids were at night, although a few were carried out in broad daylight. One such raid killed 104 people and injured 423 in the congested area around the Liverpool St. Station.

The Germans sometimes paid for these “murder raids.” During one of them, perhaps the greatest that took place over London, forty Gotha machines were used. Six were brought down in combat by anti-aircraft and one as the result of engine trouble.

Because of the many failures of Zeppelins to return from raids on London, the Gotha was designed to take its place. It had a wing span of 77 ft. and was powered by two 260 h.p. Mercedes engines, which gave the ship a speed of 73 m.p.h.

The Story Behind The Cover
“Bombing London: The Story Behind The Cover” by Frederick M. Blakeslee (November 1932)

We published a small collection of 10 of Blakeslee’s “Story Behind The Cover” features in The Three Mosqitoes: The Thunderbolt Ace which can be ordered from Amazon. We will be presenting more of Blakeslee’s Stories behind his cover illustrations so check back again…

Coming to PulpFest…

Link - Posted by David on July 22, 2013 @ 9:19 pm in

PulpFest 2013 gets underway on Thursday, July 25th and the whole Age of Aces crew will be in attendance. We’ll be promoting our new book—our biggest yet—Battling Grogan and the Dragon Squadron. “Battling” Grogan is an American flyer in command of the Chinese Dragon Squadron fighting to repel the invading Imperial Japanese. The stories are written by Robert M. Burtt who is probably best known as co-creator and writer of such radio classics as The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen, Captain Midnight, and Sky King.

Since we wouldn’t have the third Philip Strange book ready in time for the convention, we decided to try to get together a special book just for sale exclusively at the convention. In looking around at what we had scanned and ready to go, we hit upon Coffin Kirk by the prolific Arch Whitehouse. These six stories of Coffin Kirk and his trained-gorilla tail-gunner Tank and their fight against “The Cirlcle of Death” were available in our Age of Aces Presents section a few years ago. We removed them when we were intending on releasing them as an eBook online so it seemed only natural to put them out as a print book.

We had initially planned to offer the book only at the convention, but we thought we’d make it available on Amazon for the week of the convention for those who can’t attend, but would still like to pick up a copy of the book.

new releasesArt Director Chris Kalb show off our two new titles.

So stop by our table and meet the crew and check it out or pick up any of our other titles at special Pulpfest discounts. If you can’t make it—keep your eyes on ageofaces.net to find out more about our new books. And hurry over to Amazon where, for a limited time, you can pick up a copy of The Adventures of Coffin Kirk!

Battling Grogan and the Dragon Squadron are here!

Link - Posted by David on July 9, 2013 @ 11:20 pm in

grogan_3dAfter a bit of a break Age of Aces is back with our biggest book ever! 470 pages big! We have posted a few of The Battling Grogan stories a number of years ago and thought they we so great we set about to collect all 14 of the stories and put them together in one big volume.

The stories are set in China between the wars when Imperial Japan was trying to make inroads on China. Battling Mordray Grogan is an American pilot who leads the Chinese Dragon Squadron. He’s ably assisted by his three valiant flight commanders, Monty St. John, the lanky Limey, slender Hank Goyen, the dapper Frog, and last but not least, the imperturbable Ah Im, Grogan’s boyhood chum of old Nanking days, now premier olive-toned ace of the Dragon clan.

Battling Grogan is the brainchild of WWi pilot Robert M. Burtt who wrote the 14 stories between 1932 and 1934 for Flying Aces Magazine. Burtt is probably best know as the co-creator and writer of aviation-themed radio serials The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen (1933-37), Captain Midnight (1938-49), Hop Harrigan (1942-48) and Sky King (1946-54).

So click on the book image above or cruise on over to Amazon and check out our latest release!

The Spider takes on the Empire State in comics — and this time he’s bringing some friends!

Link - Posted by Chris on November 28, 2012 @ 2:37 am in

Masks #1 cover by Alex Ross

Today Dynamite Comics releases Masks, an eight-part mini-series teaming the company’s Pulp-era licensed characters for one epic battle. What menace could be big enough to draw together The Spider, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato and Zorro? Writer Chris Roberson (iZombie, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love) explains in an interview with Newsarama:

The genesis of the idea was a well-known storyline that ran in The Spider pulp magazines in the 1930s, over the course of three novels: The City That Paid To Die, The Spider At Bay, and Scourge of the Black Legions. In the original story, written by Norvell Page (as Grant Stockbridge), a political organization called the Party of Justice takes over New York State, and quickly institutes a fascist police state. It was an allegory for what was happening in Europe at the time, and saw the Spider go from being a vigilante who fought crime to being a full-blown freedom-fighter protecting the citizenry from an oppressive government.

Yes, the Spider’s “Black Police Trilogy,” which Age of Aces Books had the privilege of putting back into print (as The Spider Vs. The Empire State), is coming to comic shops! And the New York Rebellion of 1938 is bigger than ever: In addition to The Spider, The Green Hornet, The Shadow and (a 1930s-era) Zorro, the struggle against the Party of Justice will see the rise of “new” heroes too — The Black Bat, Miss Fury, Black Terror and The Green Lama. With so many 1930s vigilantes sharing the spotlight, the narrative necessarily deviates from Norvell Page’s 1938 tale, yet — judging from the capsule descriptions of future issues — The Spider thread of the story remains pretty much unchanged. As Roberson told Check Point Interviews:

The idea was that, while the Spider was off having his adventure, the other vigilante characters who were operating at the time would have also had to deal with this fascist police state.

(more…)

“Patrols of Peril” by Frederick C. Davis

Link - Posted by David on September 14, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

This week we have a short story by renowned pulp author Frederick C. Davis. Davis is probably best remembered for his work on Operator 5 where he penned the first 20 stories, as well as the Moon Man series for Ten Detective Aces and several other continuing series for various Popular Publications. He also wrote a number of aviation stories that appeared in Aces, Air Stories and Wings. “Patrols of Peril” was published in the premiere issue of Air Stories magazine in 1927.

Tragedy and spitting lead fly swiftly in the wake of a joke with a startling climax on the brink of Eternity.

“Soft Thunder” by Frederick C Painton

Link - Posted by David on August 31, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

The Strange Enemy of our new book Captain Philip Strange: Strange Enemies, Fraulein Doktor, pops up in the oddest places. Here she is causing trouble in Frederick C Painton’s “Soft Thunder” a year and a half before her first appearance in Donald Keyhoe’s Philip Strange stories.

We’ve posted a number of Frederick C. Painton’s stories in this space already including a few of his Dirty Dozen-esque Squadron of the Dead stories. He’s a great writer with a background in newspapers as this short autobiography from the April 1942 issue of Blue Book Magazine attests:


Click to enlarge in a new window.

Unfortunately he died of a heart attack on a Guam airfield while covering the Pacific war.

He was just a kid who played Tennis to those two hard-boiled soldiers—but there was stuff in his make-up that kept him battling in the flaming skies. It was a grim game they played—they stuck to the rules and played like sports, but they knew that the loser would find flying death. And then into their game kited a kid who seemed soft—but there is lightning with even soft thunder.

Strange Enemies Desktops

Link - Posted by David on August 28, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

We have more of Chris Kalb’s great splash page designs for the second volume of our Captain Philip Strange series. It was hard to pare it down to only three, so we’re throwing in a bonus wallpaper and making it four! So we have the cross-shapped daggers raining down from Devil’s Bait; Strange vs the giant black Zeppelin of Raid of The Red Reaper; the flame belching U-boat of Dromes of Hades; and the the Bat Staffel itself from Drome of the Bat Staffel! Of course you can check out all of Chris’ designs from Strange Enemies on the Strange Enemies Design page!

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They are available in our Age of Aces Desktops Gallery in a variety of aspect ratios—pick the one that best suits your computer!

The Strange Story of Fraulein Doktor

Link - Posted by David on August 24, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

enemies-3d 
 
The latest volume of our Captain Philip Strange series collects the eight stories featuring Philip Strange’s strangest enemy—Fraulein Doktor. The good Doktor is Germany’s loveliest spy and an instructor of spies in Antwerp. But they had a history together—a history from before the war. For before she had become Fraulein Doktor, she was Karol von Marlow—a slender, dark-eyed girl on a small Mecklenberg estate on a fragrant June night where a young Philip Strange had been given refuge…

    Strange did not hear the rest. He was back in the year before the war—a frightened youngster, pursued from Berlin by a money-grubbing uncle. A scene in Mecklenburg, a hideout from the police inspired by the uncle’s posted reward. An injury to his ankle, and a German who had taken him in at his small estate. A kindly man, Herr von Marlow, and his lovely French wife. And there had been a daughter, a slender, dark-eyed girl, his one bright memory of those unhappy days.

    There had been a bond between them. She, too, spoke several languages, but it had been more than that, this bond. They had written frequently—and then the war had come. He had not forgotten. In his desk at his Chaumont retreat was a small picture of a dark-eyed girl, smiling. On the back, words had been written by a feminine hand:

    “To Philip, in memory of happy days—Karol von Marlow.”

    Fate had played them a scurvy trick. By a hideous mistake, the parents of Karol von Marlow had been shot as spies by the French. Fired by desire for vengeance, she had offered herself as an agent. The flame of revenge had died, he knew, but not until she had become the famous Fraulein Doktor, noted alike for her daring and her skill as a teacher of spies.

    That same mocking Fate had made him an enemy, cursed by the Boche as the “Brain-Devil of G-2,” with a price of twenty-five thousand gold marks upon his head.

Somehow the “Brain-Devil of G-2″ and Fraulein Doktor manage to help one another avoid death or capture and still fulfill their respective missions while keeping just this side of treason. In one of the stories, Strange is Court Martialed for his perceived assistance of the enemy! They both still hold their love for one another in their hearts, even though this may be in conflict with their loyalty to their countries.

    A bloody war lay between them—but some day, when it was over, they would meet again…

Remembering Sid

Link - Posted by Bill on August 14, 2012 @ 11:39 pm in

If you have been following our dispatches then you already know that we lost our good friend Sid Bradd recently. Sid’s passing has left a void here at Age of Aces that just can’t be filled. And with Pulpfest 2012 happening so soon after his death, we were looking for a proper way to honor his memory.

Sid was blessed with an incredible loving family, and we decided that the best thing we could do would be to express our feelings in person to his wife Johanne. We called her, and as luck (or fate) would have it, she extended an invitation for us to visit her on Sunday during our return from Pulpfest. Most years, the last day of Pulpfest is kind of depressing, knowing that it will be another year before you can get together again with your fellow pulpsters. But this year, for Chris, David, and I, Sunday would be the highlight of our trip.

We made it to the Bradd’s home by late afternoon. Johanne met us at the door, along with her and Sid’s daughter Andrea. We presented them with a copy of our latest book. It was the last one Sid assisted us on, and we dedicated it to him. They were very proud of Sid’s abilities and talents as an aviation expert and historian, and we wanted them to know how much we appreciated his contributions to our work here. It was very moving to see their reactions when reading our dedication. It was clear how much it meant to them to know that Sid would be remembered by all of us here in the pulp community.

Johanne and Andrea brought us upstairs to Sid’s incredible aviation library where we sat and reminisced for a while. Johanne told us a funny story about his unabashed collecting habits. While on their honeymoon, he convinced her that he needed to stop at a bookstore. When he came out he had a couple pulps in his hand. When she expressed disbelief that he would interrupt their honeymoon to buy new pulps, he looked at her mischievously and said, “These aren’t new, they are just in better condition than the copies I already have!”

Johanne also told us how Sid crossed paths with some of the legends of both aviation and aviation pulps. He had met people such as Henry Steeger, Robert Hogan, Donald Keyhoe, and Charles Lindbergh. Johanne related a story about Lindbergh and Keyhoe that provided the most surreal moment of the day.

Before he became an author, Keyhoe was a military pilot. He was appointed to fly Lindbergh on his tour around the country after his famous solo flight across the Atlantic. Keyhoe published a book about his adventures on this tour called Flying With Lindbergh. Over the years Sid had used his friendly charm to strike up conversations with many people. On one occasion—many years after the Lindbergh tour—while Keyhoe was giving a speech, he sat behind Lindbergh in the audience.  Afterwards he got Keyhoe to inscribe his copy of Flying With Lindbergh.

His library contained many such books signed by some of the most notable names in aviation like Lindbergh and Earhart. One of the things Andrea wanted to convey to us was how meticulous Sid was with his collection and how much care he took when reading one of his books. She reached onto a shelf, grabbed a random book, and opened it. We were all stunned to see the title of the book she had pulled down. It was Flying With Lindbergh, and the page she had opened it to was the one that Keyhoe had signed. Andrea said that Sid must have guided her hand to that book. I totally agree with her!

Johanne related another touching story to us. Because Sid’s life revolved so much around aviation, he had a deep interest in all of it’s legends and mysteries. So while speaking about their father at his funeral, one of Sid’s daughters remarked that he would now finally know what had happened to Amelia Earhart, Lindbergh’s baby, and Flight 19.

Since you don’t visit the Bradds without having some of Johanne’s great German food, she went down to prepare a little something for us while Andrea finished showing us around the library. It seems Sid had a real passion for collecting in general, not just books. We saw his collections of old toys, old license plates, and old bottles.

Sid was an accomplished painter and there were also many of his aviation paintings hanging in various places around the library. Andrea was also kind enough to show us the unfinished painting Sid was doing for her when he died. It was of the living room of his childhood home as he remembered it. But he was dissatisfied with how he had painted his mother sitting at the piano so he had partially erased her image leaving a ghost-like form behind.

After eating dinner we unfortunately had to get back on the road. And while it was sad saying goodbye to Johanne and Andrea, we felt really good about having spent that time with them. Hopefully we can make that visit a regular stop on our Pulpfest excursion.

Finally, many people have asked us if we knew what would happen to Sid’s library. Happily we learned that it will be finding a good home. While the plans aren’t finalized, they are hoping for it to be the centerpiece of a brand new aviation library and research center at the Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island in Hawaii.

Just in time for PulpFest . . .

Link - Posted by David on August 4, 2012 @ 8:40 pm in

seteaser

We’ll be debuting the second volume of our Captain Philip Strange series at PulpFest on Friday. So if you’re in attendance stop by our table and meet the Age of Aces crew and pick up a copy of Captain Philip Strange: Strange Enemies (and The Three Mosquitoes: The Thunderbolt Ace if you haven’t yet).

He hope to see you there!

“The Sky Cop” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on August 1, 2012 @ 8:48 pm in

To get you excited about the new Captain Philip Strange book set to come out soon, we have a story from the fertile mind of Donald E. Keyhoe. This story has everything: An amazing new invention—smashing battles and cold-blooded murder high above New York skyscrapers—take-offs from catapults atop huge city buildings—parachutes coming to earth along the Great White Way. The first story of its kind and you’re sure to enjoy it!

We’ve posted several stories by Donald E. Keyhoe on the site and collected his Vanished Legion stories from Dare-Devil Aces into a volume as well as our new series of his Captain Philip Strange stories that ran for nine years in Flying Aces. The first of which appeared just a year after this story in August 1931.

Rest in Peace Sid

Link - Posted by Bill on July 18, 2012 @ 10:47 pm in

If you are a fan of the air war pulps, or have read some of Age of Aces’ pulp reprints, you have heard the name Sid Bradd. He has been writing articles about the air pulps for over 40 years. Many people know him from his essay in Nick Carr’s The Flying Spy, which detailed the life and adventures of G-8 and His Battle Aces. He was a supporter and contributor to our work here at Age of Aces. But more importantly, he was our friend.

Sid_G8

Sid died on June 19, 2012. He left behind his wife of 50 years, Johanne, and three daughters. He also left behind a countless number of fans and people who have been touched by his friendship and generosity.

While I have been reading Sid’s writings for many years, I didn’t meet him until 2007. I had contacted him to get permission to use some of his research on Robert Hogan for our first “Red Falcon” book. He not only agreed to that request, he would go on to help us on many of our other projects.

Sid had been to many Pulpcons in the past, but it had been several years since he had attended one. When it was announced in 2008 that the very first Pulpfest would be held in Columbus I thought it would be great if Sid could get there from nearby Cleveland. I talked to him about it, and I offered to drive him there and back. He took me up on it, and in July 2009 I finally got to meet Sid in person.

Of course when I got to his home, the first thing I wanted to do was see his legendary aviation and pulp library. But Johanne insisted that we have lunch first. She is an awesome person, and was incredibly kind to me on my visit. After eating, Sid led me up to his library.

He had converted the entire second floor of his house into a place to hold his extensive collection of aviation books and magazines. Every wall was bookshelves from floor to ceiling. His pulp collection had its own separate room. They were all carefully bagged and boxed alphabetically. I couldn’t wait to start digging through them.

The first ones Sid wanted to show me were his pride and joy, his complete run of pristine copies of “G-8 and His Battle Aces”. Sid explained that he had become acquainted with Henry Steeger of Popular Publications. When Sid mentioned to him that he wanted to upgrade his G-8 collection, Steeger gave him a complete run of unread G-8 magazines from his files.

Steeger wasn’t the only pulp magazine legend Sid had known personally. He had also spent some time with Robert Hogan and Donald Keyhoe. In fact it was Sid’s urging that convinced us to publish Keyhoe’s “Vanished Legion” stories in 2011.

Eventually I had to drag myself away from his library so we could drive to Columbus. That drive is something that I will cherish forever. For a couple hours, Sid entertained me with tales of his experiences around the pulp and aviation worlds. The time just flew by.

We spent a lot of time together that weekend, and by the time I dropped him off at home Sunday evening, I knew I had made a friend for life. Sid seemed to really enjoy that trip, especially meeting all the Age of Aces crew. I know we enjoyed spending that time with him.

Sid had another commitment and was unable to attend Pulpfest 2010. He and Johanne drove up to Columbus and he spent a couple hours one day at Pulpfest 2011. And they were both planning to attend this year’s Pulpfest, but sadly Sid left us before that could happen.

After my first visit, Sid gave me an open invitation to come back any time. And the whole Age of Aces crew was planning a visit this year on our way to Pulpfest 2012. I did talk to him on the phone many times, but I regret not seeing him again. He was a wonderful person and a good friend.

Artist and pulp historian David Saunders recently wrote about Sid’s passing. He summed up perfectly what I was feeling but struggling to put into words:

“Sid Bradd’s authority on aviation history, his inventive mind and inspiring life experience can never be replaced. He generously contributed his skills and expertise to our projects, and in so doing raised our standards higher than we had at first thought possible. Although we always thanked him in our “acknowledgements” we could never adequately express our gratitude for his reliable expertise, his inspiring encouragement and his warm-hearted friendship.

If any of our future projects should happen to sustain a veneer of authority it will be primarily due to the lasting impact of Sid Bradd.

It’s fun to imagine a ten-year-old Sid Bradd in 1935 reading G-8 and his Battle Aces and discovering his own lifelong inspiration.”

Rest in peace Sid. We will miss you.

Sids library

The Thunderbolt Ace!

Link - Posted by David on July 17, 2012 @ 7:52 pm in

thunderbolt_3dStreaking swiftly through Hell skies, their three Hisso engines thundering, we find The Greatest Trio of Aces! The famous and inseparable “Three Mosquitoes,” the mightiest flying combination that had ever blazed its way through overwhelming odds and laughed to tell of it, take off in four more exciting adventures from the pages of Popular Publications! Yes, Kirby, impetuous young leader of the great trio, lanky Travis, eldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes, and the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito—“Shorty” Carn are all back and ready for action. This time up we have two tales from 1932 issues of Dare-Devil Aces and two from 1933 that were published in Battle Birds. If you enjoyed the pride and glory of the 44th’s last two books then you’ll surely want to pick up this volume. And if you are new to The Adventures of The Three Mosquitoes, what better place to start than with The Thunderbolt Ace!

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“They Had What It Takes – Part 39: Tony Fokker” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on July 16, 2012 @ 6:07 pm in

With the 39th installment of Alden McWilliams’ “They Had What It Takes” in Flying Aces, he chronicles the man who is maybe the greatest aircraft designer of all time—The Flying Dutchman himself, Anthony Fokker!

Fokker was training as an automotive mechanic in Germany when he built his first plane—”The Spider”—in 1910. That plane was subsequently destroyed when his partner flew it into a tree. Fokker built another and managed to gained his piolt’s licence flying it. By 1912 he had started his own Airplane Company and quickly established a reputation for building some of the fastest and most stable planes flying at the time. One of the keys to his success is that he personally tested all the planes he designed and kept the pilot in mind asking their opinions on the planes. He sought out the advice of the men on the flight line and brought in the best engineers he could find.

With the outbreak of WWI, Fokker’s designs were very much in demand and soon the greatest names in German aviation—Voss, Immelmann, Boelke and Richtoffen—were being cursed at while flying his planes.

After the war he returned to his native Holland establishing a company there and later emigrating to America where his tri-motor planes helped establish the fledgling airlines and some of the great airplane records of the 30’s. Fokker unfortunately died at 49 in 1939 from pneumococcal meningitis after having been ill for three weeks.

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