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“Vulture Coast” by Lester Dent

Link - Posted by David on January 15, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

Lester Dent is best known as the man behind Doc Savage. But he wrote all number of other stories before he started chronicling the adventures of everyone’s favorite bronze giant. Here we have one of his earliest stories to appear in the pulps. From the pages of the September 1930 issue of Air Stories, it’s “Vulture Coast!”

It started as a test flight for the new amphibian. Then came the offshore rescue, pirate craft out of the China Sea, and a grim, terrible test for Power O’Malley, pilot.

 

If you enjoyed this story, Black Dog Books has put out an excellent volume collecting 8 of Lester Dent’s early air adventure stories! Dead Man’s Bones: The Air Adventure Stories of Lester Dent includes “Vulture Coast” as well as seven other two-fisted sky adventures! It has an introduction by historian Will Murray and appendices featuring background material, outlines and story submission notes from Dent’s personal papers! A great read! Pick it up from their website! It’s Dead Men’s Bones by Lester Dent!

And as a bonus, here’s a short plucky article from the Norman, Oklahoma Sooner State Press!

 

Fiction Field Beckons To Tulsa Tribune Man

Sooner State Press, Norman, OK • 20 December 1930

Lester Dent, who for the past four years has been an Associated Press operator and maintenance man detailed to the Tulsa Tribune, writing fiction on the side, has received an offer from Sky Riders, fiction magazine in New York, suggesting that he join the staff of this publication, according to the Tribune of December 8.

Less than two years ago, Dent turned his attention to fiction writing. He sent out 13 stories, all of which were rejected, then wrote the fourteenth, and found a market for it. He has sold to Popular Stories, Air Stories, Top-Notch, Action Stories and Sky Riders.

Some of the earlier titles were: “Pirate Cay,” “Death Zone,” “Buccaneers of the Midnight Sun” and “The Thirteen Million Dollar Robbery.” Later he wrote “Vulture Coast,” “The Devil’s Derelict,” “The Skeleton From Moon Cay,” and most recentlv “Hell Hop.”

“Famous Sky Fighters, July 1938″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 13, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the October 1933 issue of Sky Fighters and running almost 5 years, Terry Gilkison’s “Famous Sky Fighters” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Gilkison would illustrate in a two page spread different Aces that rose to fame during the Great War.

Although Gilkison was probably better known for his syndicated newspaper work, he also provided black and white story interior illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Gilkison provided similar features in a few other Thrilling Publications—there was “Famous Soldiers of Fortune” and later “Adventure Thrills” in Thrilling Adventures, Famous Crimes” in Thrilling Detective, and the fully illustrated air adventure stories of Buck Barton “The Flying Devil” in The Lone Eagle! He signed most of this work with only his initials “T.G.” to maintain a low profile and preserve his reputation as a syndicated newspaper cartoon artist.

The July 1938 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Georges Thenault, Lt. Jimmy Bach, Mario Galderara, and Captain John H. Towers!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Major Jimmie Doolittle, Armand Pinsard, and Captain Bruno Loerzer! Don’t miss it!

“Akbar the Black” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on January 8, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week, he have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author O.B. Myers! Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He wrote hundreds of stories for the pulps—primarily in the detective and air war pulps. We’ve collected a few of his best he had in Dare-Devil Aces as The Black Sheep of Belogue: The Best of O.B. Myers.

Memo, to all intelligence operatives, and to all Air Squadron Commanders:

    Wanted, for desertion, as a renegade and spy, the following: Full name, Akbar Swaalii Ajjaszid, known as Akbar or Akbar the Black (le Noir). Half-breed African, mixed negroid and Arab parentage; skin dark brown in color. Born in French Somaliland, about 1890; left Jibuti to come to Paris in 1915 as the body-servant of a major of Spaliis. Left his master after arrival, to join a gang of apaches. Involved in stabbing affray in Cafe Fouleau in August, 1915. Enlisted, French Foreign Legion, September of same year. Assigned by request to flying service; trained Pau, Avord; sent to Front in January, 1916, with 5th Escadrille de Chasse (Pursuit). In three months of action gained two accredited victories. Disappeared April 19th; believed to have deserted to the enemy, and to be at the present lime actively engaged in their flying forces. Report of his capture, or evidence of his death, will please be sent to this office at once.

They called him Akbar the Black. His cannibal ship spewed hate through black skies—but even outlaw wings must crack when the ghost of the past calls “Time!”

“Von Satan’s Lair” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on January 1, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

ALTHOUGH we just gave you twelve stories last month instead of just four or five, it’s Friday, so let’s make it a baker’s dozen. And who better to feature that our old pal Harold F. Cruickshank. We have three good reasons for this: First, Harold F. Cruickshank was not represented last month among our twelve tales of Christmas 1931; Second, this is kind of a teaser for next month when we’ll be featuring Canada’s favorite son and looking at his trio of Aces—The Sky Devil, The Red Eagle and The Sky Wolf, as well as his Pioneer Folk tales; and last, but by no means least, It’s just a darn good story to get the year going!

Jack Malone’s flight has been dwindling down at the hands of the evil Baron von Satan! When his former deputy leader returns badly injured, his face surgically altered, and fighting off some kind of mind control—Malone believes there’s still hope to find other members of his flight, and that he can save them before they too go under the sinister knife of von Satan!

From the pages of the April 1934 issue of Sky Fighters, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Von Satan’s Lair!”

Corporal Jack Malone Sails the Sky Lanes Grimly in this Gripping Drama of Sinister Secrets of Hun Hate!

Stand To Your Glasses Steady

Link - Posted by David on December 31, 2020 @ 6:00 pm in

Ring out the Old and ring in the New with the classic Air Corps Toast!

“Web of the Spider” by Arch Whitehouse

Link - Posted by David on December 30, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

WE’VE come to the final story of our twelve tales from the Christmas 1931 issues, and what better way to go out, than with a story from the ever-reliable Arch Whitehouse! Always a crowd-pleaser, Whitehouse wrote hundreds of tales for the air pulps with many featuring series characters. Possibly his longest running series was Buzz Benson! Buzz was featured in every issue of Sky Birds starting with the February 1930 issue. When Sky Birds closed up shop, Buzz moved over to Flying Aces where he continued for two more years.

Billy “Buzz” Benson is a flying reporter for the Los Angeles Mercury newspaper, but his real job is much more dangerous—he is a secret agent and pilot extraordinaire for the U.S. military. In this month’s issue, deadly forces have stolen the latest high-powered submarine, the Baracuda, as well as kidnapped the designer’s daughter. It’s up to Buzz to get them both back!

The Navy had named their newest submarine the Barracuda, after the deadliest fish that infests tropical waters—that sharp-toothed killer that will attack anything for the joy of battle. Then that sub turned against its masters—and Billy “Buzz” Benson took off on the blood-strewn trail of the killer ship!

“Aces Back to Back” by E.W. Chess

Link - Posted by David on December 28, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

OUR penultimate of our twelve tales from Christmas 1931 issues is another by E.W. Chess—he was a busy man that month with both this as well as a story in Aces! This time we get the bizarre tale of gambling and a four–sided love triangle!

A gambler, was Major Arthur Lem, C.O. of the 25th Yank Pursuit Squadron. All his life he’d gambled—and won, for he bet only when the odds were in his favor. But now, in those flaming skies over the Western Front, the game was different. Young Philip Mayson and those seven hotheaded replacements were gamblers of another breed— and to bet with them. Major Lem had to learn a new way to play his cards! The most unusual air story of the year!

From the pages of Sky Birds, it’s “Aces Back to Back” by E.W. Chess!

If you haven’t check it out, Pulpflakes posted an excellent post about the life of “Elliot Chess—Fighter pilot, Author” last year.

“The Frozen Fate” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 25, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

AH, CHRISTMAS! As our present to our faithful readers on this fine Christmas morning, we give you a curious tale from the Teufelhund Jagdstaffel. It’s those flying leathernecks, Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Devildog Squadron! At the same time Keyhoe was writing the Philip Strange stories for Flying Aces, and the Jailbird Flight stories for Battle Aces, and the Vanished Legion stories for Dare-Devil Aces, we was also telling tales of those flying marines known as the Devildog Squadron for the pages of Sky Birds magazine. A marine flyer himself, Keyhoe imbues the tales of “Cyclone” Bill Garrity and The Devildog Squadron with a realism in their unrealistic events you just don’t find everywhere.

The Germans have developed an unstoppable behemoth that shoots a clod light ray that freezes whatever it passes over on contact! While out scouting for the big ship, Luck Lane is forced down and finds himself right in the thick of things! But he finds help in the most unlikely of places! From the December 1931 Sky Birds, it’s Donald E. Keyhoe’s “The Frozen Fate!”

Upon that desolate drome, where stark black trees reared up grimly from the stripped ruin of the tarmac, those Devildogs landed their ships. Biting cold rose up from the ground on that sweltering August day—and near the deadline lay three figures—frozen to death! A thrilling Devildog mystery.

And look for the first volume of the complete tales of the “Cyclone” Bill Garrity and the Devildog Squadron coming soon!

“The Noël Patrol” by Edgar L. Cooper

Link - Posted by David on December 23, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THE Stockings are hanging from the mantle with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there. But we still have time for one more story before the big day—and this time it’s an actual Christmas themed story by Edgar L. Cooper.

All Lt. Duke Rittenhouse wanted for Christmas was that last victory that would make him an Ace. And he was determined to get it even if he had to go out in a raging snow storm on Christmas Eve to do so, but it was the gift Baron Rupprecht von Hentzau—the ‘Werewolf of Austria,’ gave him that night, that he’d remember forever.

So pull up a chair and light a fire, get a good drink and enjoy Edgar L. Cooper’s “The Noël Patrol” from the December 1931 War Birds!

Christmas Eve—and the dogs of war were leashed. But Ace-Up remembered his vow of a fifth by Christmas, and the fangs of the Austrian Werewolf were still unpulled.

“Specter Strafe” by O.B. Myers

Link - Posted by David on December 21, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

IT’S Christmas week! And what better way to start it off than with a bit of a ghost story. Our eighth tale of Christmas is O.B. Myer’s “Specter Strafe!” Myers was a pilot himself, flying with the 147th Aero Squadron and carrying two credited victories and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Stack Sherman accidentally shoots down an Allied plane, but his C.O. tells him not to worry about it until he’s asked to testify. Easier said than done! Although Sherman tries to forget about it and move on, his conscience won’t allow it.

And then the pilot’s brother shows up at the 44th—and he’s assigned to Sherman’s flight! From the December 1931 War Birds, it’s O.B. Myer’s “Specter Strafe!”

Riddled with Vickers lead, that Yank ship hurtled down to oblivion—and only Stack Sherman and the specter that haunted him knew on whose gun trips rested the murder’s guilt!

For all his many published stories, O.B. Myer’s didn’t really have any series characters. The few recurring characters he did have in the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, we’ve collected into a book we like to call “The Black Sheep of Belogue: The Best of O.B. Myers” which collects the two Dynamite Pike and his band of outlaw Aces stories and the handful of Clipper Stark vs the Mongol Ace tales. If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love these stories!

“Death’s Double” by Frederick C. Painton

Link - Posted by David on December 18, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

SIX down, and six to go! For the seventh story from the Christmas 1931 issues of the Air pulps we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author and venerated newspaper man—Frederick C. Painton. Paint known to our readers for his gritty Squadron of the Dead.

The War Department sends Jerry Gallens to the 92nd Pursuit Squadron with a film crew in tow to make a movie! Gallens is the American flapper’s big crush, the swoon of old maids, the envy of every young American man, the sweetheart of the United States. He is America’s outstanding musical-comedy star, a Broadway matinee idol. He is a great movie actor, the only one outside of Charley Chaplin who’s had his pictures translated into the Chinese. But he also longs to be a real Ace like he’s portraying on screen! From the December 1931 issue of War Birds—it’s Frederick C. Painton’s “Death’s Double!”

Into the hard skies of war-aged pilots came a movie idol under special orders. They hated his guts and called him yellow, until that red day when hell broke loose over their heads—and a man was born.

Painton has once again named the squadron adjunct something along the lines of Willie-the-Ink. This time it’s Johnny-the-Ink, but it’s the same character. And not too dissimilar from Dugger Banks, the squadron leader in Painton’s “Aces Fly High” (Sky Fighters, November 1933), he’s named the squadron leader of the 92nd Pursuit “Digger” Banks!

“Death Takes The Stick” by R. Sidney Bowen

Link - Posted by David on December 16, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TODAY we have a short but poignant story from the prolific pen of Robert Sidney Bowen. Bowen was a war pilot of the Royal Air Force, as well as the editor of one of the foremost technical journals of aviation in addition to penning hundreds of action-packed stories for the pulps.

“Chunky” Towers was not a particularly good Jerry hunter. As a matter of fact he was just an ordinary product of Field No. 8 at Issoudun, with perhaps a better than the average portion of guts. He was always on the lookout for a possible scrap—especially with a certain German pilot who always flew a pale green Fokker—”Green Bird” as Chunky had nicknamed him. The real name of the pilot he did not know, and he didn’t care. Green Bird was not some great German ace who sent Allied pilots down like so many clay pigeons before his yammering guns. To tell the truth, Green Bird was a very ordinary pilot, and a rotten shot—just as rotten a shot as was Chunky.

They had met several times and on each occasion both spewed costly ammunition at thin air. By some queer trick of fate neither could get in the fatal burst when opportunity offered, and opportunity had not been stingy by any manner of means. It just seemed as though each was immune to the other’s bullets. Until that fateful morning…

Even after the Grim Reaper took over the controls, that Fokker obeyed its pilot—and showed a Yank how the dead repay chivalry.

“Ask No Questions” by Frederick C. Davis

Link - Posted by David on December 14, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

OUR fifth tale from the Christmas 1931 issues of the Air pulps is 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.

Lieutenant William Ballentine—a big name for such a small pilot. He looked like a ten-year-old dressed up in his big brother’s flying togs, he was so small. As a matter of fact, he was just a half-portion of pilot. But what he lacked in size he seemed to make up in joie de vivre. But when the C.O. told him to follow orders and “Ask No Questions”—unfortunately, he did just that.

Too much courage was Half-Pint’s burden—then came the day when he softened the C.O.’s anger and showed that even feathers have wartime uses.

“The Laughing Major” by George Bruce

Link - Posted by David on December 11, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TODAY we have a story from the highly prolific George Bruce. Bruce, a former pilot, began writing in the 1920’s and became noted for his aerial war stories—several publications even bore his name. In the 1930’s and ’40’s he transitioned into screenwriting for Hollywood action films and then into tv in the 1950’s and ’60’s.

The Fourth Squadron hated Major Powers. That hatred seeped out of the soul of the lowliest of the ground crew exactly as it surged unceasingly in the souls of the pilots.
He never seemed burdened by fatigue. His eyes never lost the half-feverish, half-mocking light—never lost a peculiar brilliancy which seemed to feed upon his soul. His face was never anything but a pale mask, contorted by a never-changing grin which drew his thin lips back over his white teeth—and made every man on the field harbor the insane desire to smash his fist against Powers’ face and drive those wolf-like teeth down the Major’s throat. Yes, The Fourth hated Major Powers—that is, until they got to know him.

The pilots of the Fourth fought black-crossed ships, but they kept their hate for the man who led the way into the sky. They hated his sneer, his jeers, his scorn—but most of all they hated his laugh.

From the December 1931 issue of Aces, it’s “The Laughing Major” by George Bruce!

“The Devil on Wings” by Edgar A. Manley

Link - Posted by David on December 9, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TODAY, for our twelve stories of Christmas 1931, we have an excellent tale by Edgar A. Manley from the pages of the December 1931 Sky Birds magazine!

Destiny had linked Chuck Bland strangely with that mysterious pair on the train from Paris. One a French artillery officer, the other a French flyer—one a murderer, the other a murdered man. And Chuck Bland did not know which was which—until one night, weeks later, in the messroom of a French drome!

From the pages of Sky Birds, it’s “The Devil on Wings” by Edgar A. Manley!

You may recognize the art for this story—it was also used for the Philip Strange story “Hell’s Gateway” (Flying Aces, April 1932)

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