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Richard Knight in “Falcons from Nowhere” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on November 17, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THE unstoppable Donald E. Keyhoe had a story in a majority of the issue of Flying Aces from his first in January 1930 until he returned to the Navy in 1942. Starting in August 1931, they were stories featuring the weird World War I stories of Philip Strange. But in November 1936, he began alternating these with sometime equally weird present day tales of espionage Ace Richard Knight—code name Agent Q. After an accident in the Great War, Knight developed the uncanny ability to see in the dark. Aided by his skirt-chasing partner Larry Doyle, Knights adventures ranged from your basic between the wars espionage to lost valley civilizations and dinosaurs. The mysterious Four Faces—a criminal cabal that seek to control all crime on the earth—has found a way to turn people to stone, which comes in handy while they continue to build their air fleet of stolen ships!

Through the growing twilight sped a powerful Northrop, and from its front pit peered Richard Knight. He saw no other ship in the sky; the secret of their mission was safe. But Richard Knight was unaware that an unseen hand was reaching through that descending pall to tear away an invisible veil—to loose upon him a hideous fate that had never before been faced by man. That fate was the ‘doom of stone’—and it had been streaming across the boundless wastes of eternity since the dawn of time.

Richard Knight in “Death Flies The Equator” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on September 15, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THE unstoppable Donald E. Keyhoe had a story in a majority of the issue of Flying Aces from his first in January 1930 until he returned to the Navy in 1942. Starting in August 1931, they were stories featuring the weird World War I stories of Philip Strange. But in November 1936, he began alternating these with sometime equally weird present day tales of espionage Ace Richard Knight—code name Agent Q. After an accident in the Great War, Knight developed the uncanny ability to see in the dark. Aided by his skirt-chasing partner Larry Doyle, Knights adventures ranged from your basic between the wars espionage to lost valley civilizations and dinosaurs. In this, his third adventure, Knight and Doyle come up against the mysterious Four Faces—a criminal cabal that seek to control all crime on the earth.

A haunted look came over the Admiral’s face. “That lost Wapiti,” he told Knight, “was found high on the beach at Crazy Day Atoll—that tiny mid-Pacific dot lying exactly at the point where East meets West, and North meets South. Underneath the island’s single palm tree sat the pilot and observer. Their bodies were stark as in death—yet they still lived! Their eyes were open—but they were eyes which only stared unseeing over the broad wastes of the sea.”

Donald Keyhoe: To Tell The Truth

Link - Posted by David on September 4, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

IN 1956, Donald E. Keyhoe co-founded the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). He was one of several prominent professional, military or scientific figures on the board of directors, which lent the group a degree of legitimacy many of the other contemporary “flying saucer clubs” sorely lacked. With Keyhoe in the lead, NICAP pressed hard for Congressional hearings and investigation into UFOs. They scored some attention from the mass media, and the general public (NICAP’s membership peaked at about 15,000 during the early and mid-1960s) but only very limited interest from government officials.

Following a widely publicized wave of UFO reports in early 1966, the popular CBS panel show, To Tell The Truth featured UFO Investigator Major Donald Keyhoe as a guest on April 11th, 1966. Hosted by Bud Collyer, a panel of four celebrities—Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean, and Kitty Carlisle—question three people all claiming to be UFO Investigator Donald Keyhoe and must determine who is telling the truth.

As he states in his sworn affidavit:

I, Donald Keyhoe, am a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, a retired Marine Corps pilot and have been an aviation writer for many years. Currently I am working in Washington DC as director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. NICAP is a scientific organization which was especially created 10 years ago to investigate the facts surrounding unidentified flying object known as ufos or flying saucers. Recently there’s been another rash of reports of strange things in the sky. in the past 20 years there have been over 10,000 such sightings of UFOs. While many of these flying objects have been satisfactorily explained as a result of natural phenomena, others so far defy logical explanation. It is the position of NICAP that there is nothing to be gained by secrecy and that a thorough and intensive scientific investigation of unidentified flying objects would give the subject the dignity and importance it deserves and quite possibly reveal some startling facts.

signed Major Donald Keyhoe.


Three men all claiming to be Major Donald Keyhoe on
TO TELL THE TRUTH from April 11, 1966.

Click on either image to enjoy the show. Unfortunately for the imposters, Keyhoe knows his facts cold.

As a bonus: See if you can spot Tony Goodstone, author of the seminal The Pulps as he and two imposters try to fool the panel!

And be sure to check out the latest volume of Donald E. Keyhoe’s Philip Strange—Captain Philip Strange: Strange Hell—The German Empire has unleased Hell on Earth! The dead are climbing out of their graves and giant skeletons attack the living. Heads are detonating and soldiers are turning to bronze. But flying to the rescue like an avenging angel is America’s own “Brain Devil,” Captain Philip Strange, the phantom ace of G-2 Intelligence. Whether it’s deadly bridges or killer broadcasts, when the Allies need a miracle they pray for Philip Strange! When World War I gets weird, only America’s own “Phantom Ace of G-2” has a ghost of a chance against the supernatural slaughter. Captain Philip Strange in his strangest cases yet from the pages of Flying Aces magazine!

Pick up your copy today at all the usual outlets—Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

The Real Strange War: Capt. Fernand Jacquet

Link - Posted by David on August 14, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Donald E. Keyhoe’s Philip Strange battles all manner of strange and wild planes and their pilots. How many times has the ‘Brain-Devil of G-2′ come up against planes or pilots that seem to be skeletons floating in the inky darkness of night? Too many times. But maybe all that wasn’t just from the fertile imagination of Mr. Keyhoe. . .

Case in point: Captain Fernand Jacquet. Jacquet was Belgium’s first pilot to score an arial victory, and subsequently became that country’s first ace! And he did all of this primarily while flying a Farman F.40! Inspired by Roland Garros, who had equipped a Morane monoplane with a machine gun, Jacquet fitted one to his Farman pusher—a biplane used primarily for reconnaissance and observation. By mid-1916, he had painted the nose of his plane with a ghoulish insignia of a skull.

Jacquet survived the war with 7 credited victories (and 2 uncredited) and was the only Belgian awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross. He left the Belgian military in 1921 and with his old gunner Louis Robin, he started a flying school near Charleroi, at Gosselies.

When the Germans once again invaded Belgium, at the start of World War II, Jacquet returned to his nation’s service—as an active member of the Belgian Resistance until he was imprisoned in Huy Fortress in 1942 where he was held until war’s end.

Fernand Jacquet died in Beaumont, Belgium, on October 12th, 1947.

You can read more of Donald E. Keyhoe’s Philip Strange tales in the latest volume of his collected adventures—Captain Philip Strange: Strange Hell—The German Empire has unleased Hell on Earth! The dead are climbing out of their graves and giant skeletons attack the living. Heads are detonating and soldiers are turning to bronze. But flying to the rescue like an avenging angel is America’s own “Brain Devil,” Captain Philip Strange, the phantom ace of G-2 Intelligence. Whether it’s deadly bridges or killer broadcasts, when the Allies need a miracle they pray for Philip Strange! When World War I gets weird, only America’s own “Phantom Ace of G-2” has a ghost of a chance against the supernatural slaughter. Captain Philip Strange in his strangest cases yet from the pages of Flying Aces magazine!

Pick up your copy today at all the usual outlets—Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

Now Available!

Link - Posted by David on July 28, 2017 @ 10:00 am in

IF YOU can’t make it to PulpFest in Columbus this weekend, you can still get copies of our new books online from the usual outlets. Both of our new books—Harold F. Cruickshank’s Sky Devil: Ace of Devils and Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange: Strange Hell—are now available to order online from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

While you’re waiting for the books to arrive, why not check out some of the extras we’ve put on line for each book to whet your appetite. For Cruickshank’s second volume of Sky Devil tales Ace of Devils we’ve posted the original pulp scans from Dare-Devil Aces magazine of the opening page art so you can see how it would have looked if you were reading the stories back in the 1930’s when they were originally published. You can also read the opening of the stories in the scans.

For the latest release of the weird World War I adventures of Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange we have the original full page scans of the opening artwork for each of the six stories collected in Strange Hell! As we did for the last volume, we’re posting the full page scan so you can read a bit of story and enjoy Eugene M. Frandzen’s art in all its glory from the pages of Flying Aces magazine. Painton’s Squadron also uses Frandzen’s art, but here in the bedsheet sized issues of Flying Aces you get those glorious painted images Frandzen would do—much better than his line art.

And the piece de resistance of any Strange book—Chris’ great cutout artwork he does for each of the stories! There are only six this time—but they’re all winners. You can check them out on the Strange Hell Design page!

Both books are available for $16.99 wherever our books are sold, so pick up both today! You can order online from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

Premiering at PulpFest 2017!

Link - Posted by David on July 24, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

AGE OF ACES will be back at PulpFest again this year where we will be debuting our two new titles!

First, we have the lastest in our Captain Philip Strange series—back with six more weird WWI stories in Strange Hell! A mental marvel from birth, who used his talents on stage as a boy, Philip Strange is now known as “The Phantom Ace of G-2″ by the Allies during WWI. The German Empire has unleased Hell on Earth! The dead are climbing out of their graves and giant skeletons attack the living. Heads are detonating and soldiers are turning to bronze. But flying to the rescue like an avenging angel is America’s own “Brain Devil,” Captain Philip Strange, the phantom ace of G-2 Intelligence. Whether it’s deadly bridges or killer broadcasts, when the Allies need a miracle they pray for Philip Strange! When World War I gets weird, only America’s own “Phantom Ace of G-2” has a ghost of a chance against the supernatural slaughter. Captain Philip Strange in his strangest cases yet from the pages of Flying Aces magazine!

Our other title is from the prolific pen of Harold F. Cruickshank. Sky Devil: Ace of Devils collects the second half of Cruickshank’s stories about The Sky Devil and his Brood—Lieutenants “Chuck” Verne, “Slug” Walton, Mart Bevan, “Slim” Skitch and the maverick peelot, Tom Foster! Nowhere along the Western Front could you find a more feared crew, both in their element and out. The Sky Devil and his Brood could always be counted on to whip Germany’s best Aces, out-scrap entire squadrons of Boche killers, or tackle not one, but two crazed Barons with an Egyptology fetish! But what happens when they find themselves up in a dirigible fighting a fleet of ghost zeppelins, or down in the English Channel battling ferocious deep water beasts, or even behind enemy lines dealing with a crazed Major Petrie?

This volume is bursting with fifteen action-packed air tales of those riders of the Hell trail—including the seminal story we unwittingly left out of the first volume where Dawe is rooked out of command of the 120 Squadron in leu of the frequently simpering Major Petrie.

In addition to these two volumes we’ll have all of our other titles that are still in print as well as our convention exclusive—Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Kirk. So if you’re planning on coming to Columbus for PulpFest this year, stop by our table and say hi and pick up our latest releases!

“Flying with Lindbergh” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on July 20, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

IN MAY 1927, ninety years ago, a little known U.S. Air Mail pilot became the first person to fly non-stop across the atlantic from Long Island, New York to Paris, France. Two months later, that aviator, Charles Lindbergh, embarked on a three month Good Will Tour of America that would see Lindbergh visit 82 cities in all 48 states and deliver 147 speeches and ride in countless parades. It’s estimated he was seen by more than 30 million American—one quarter of the nation’s population at the time.

The Tour’s purpose was the promotion of Aeronautics and to raise interest in commercial aviation. Lindbergh flew in the famed Spirit of St. Louis and was accompanied by a crew of three that flew along separately arriving a half an hour ahead of Colonel Lindbergh at all stops. Heading up the crew was Capt. Donald E. Keyhoe of the aeronautics branch, US Department of Commerce who is acting as Colonel Lindbergh’s aide and business manager of the tour; piloting Capt. Keyhoe’s plane was Philip R. Love, inspector, aeronautics branch, US Depatment of Commerce; the third member of the crew—arguably the most important—is Theordore Sorensen, expert mechanic of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, Paterson, NJ, who’s job it is to keep the Wright Whirlwind, nine-cylinder motor of The Spirit of St Louis in shape for the 13,000 mile grind.


The tour’s participants (left to right): Donald E. Keyhoe, Philip Love, Charles Lindbergh,
with C. C. Maidment, and Milburn Kusterer.

Heralded everywhere they went, the Tour was a great success. Lindbergh followed it up with a Good Will Tour of sixteen Latin America countries between December 1927 and February 1928.

Captain Donald E. Keyhoe wrote a book about his experiences flying with Lindbergh on the Good Will Tour. It was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 1928. As promotion for the book—simply titled “Flying with Lindbergh”—Keyhoe himself went on a bit of a promotional tour speaking at various schools across the country.

Below is a recounting of Captain Keyhoe’s talk to the packed crowd at the high school in Belvidere, Illinois.

 

PAL OF LINDY TALKS TO BIG SCHOOL CROWD

Belvidere Daily Republican, Belvidere, IL • Tuesday, November 27, 1928

LIEUTENANT DONALD KEYHOE TELLS OF ODD SENCE OF HUMOR OF THE “FLYING COLONEL” AND RELATES SWIFT PROGRESS OF AVIATION IN THIS COUNTRY—ADDRESS MUCH ENJOYED

By far the most enjoyable and instructive of the attractions yet offered during the progress of the high school lyceum program was the appearance and address given Monday afternoon by Lieut. Donald Keyhoe, who accompanied Col. Charles Lindbergh on his goodwill trip over the United States following his epochal solo flight to France.

Lieut. Keyhoe, who has been publicity director of the U.S. bureau of aviation of the department of commerce, appeared before the crowd that entirely filled the high school auditorium attired in a marine uniform.

He punctuated his highly informative and interesting talk with interesting experiences he has had in the flying game and while all were much enjoyed especially so were those with Col. Lindbergh. “Lindy” he described as a man without a nerve in his body and utterly without fear. He said he detests hero worship and will frequently quit hotels by riding down on a freight elevator at the rear rather than encounter crowds waiting for him in front.

The colonel, he said, has an odd sense of humor and told of how he and another flyer had shaved off one half of the speaker’s mustache, forcing him to remove the other half. Keyhoe also recounted an incident wherein Lindbergh had sewed up his clothing while he slept and also stitched tightly in his pocket his billfold. Lindbergh remarked to the hotel clerk while Keyhoe was endeavoring to get it out that it merely showed his Scotch training and that he sewed it in his pocket that way every night.

The desire to fly, Keyhoe said, started back in the stone age but the first real attempt was not made until 1783 when the first smoke balloon made a successful flight with animal passengers in the basket. “There are no dull moments in the flying of balloons,” he said pointing out that they are left to the whims of the elements.

There has been some criticism of the U.S. government, he said. over the building of dirigibles but pointed out that the two now being constructed for the navy overcome all objections.

The greatest advance in flying has been in airships. He traced the steady progress of aviation since the first Wright plane had been sent aloft and said it received its biggest boost during the late war. Rapid strides have been made since the coming of peace until today there are airplanes from coast to coast with airports and beacon lights to assist flyers.

“Your training days will be the happiest of your education,” he told the big crowd of students.

Commercial aviation got its big boost from Col. Lindbergh’s goodwill flight and since that time there has been a steady and rapid increase in air mall, air mindedness, etc.

The speaker said that flying is becoming more and more safe and that much unfavorable newspaper publicity concerning accidents has been a retarding factor. Government regulations, he pointed out. tend to discourage stunt flying.

He painted a picture of the future of aviation and said that it will be but a short time until practically everybody “will be tacking to the air.” Although
there are still some doubters concerning aviation he prescribed as a cure a ride with a trusty pilot.

Plenty of thrills may be had 
from flying he said without resorting to ddoing “stunts” in the air.

Lieut. Keyhoe was introduced by Supt. R.E. Garrett and given a rousing welcome by the students.


The aviation committee of the Chamber of Commerce was present and held a short conference with him following his address.

If you’d like to read of Keyhoe’s experiences flying with Lindbergh, here’s a copy of Keyhoe’s book sourced a few years ago from archive.org:

“Hell Flies High” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on May 5, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

THE unstoppable Donald E. Keyhoe had a story in a majority of the issue of Flying Aces from his first in January 1930 until he returned to the Navy in 1942. Starting in August 1931, they were stories featuring the weird World War I stories of Philip Strange. But in November 1936, he began alternating these with sometime equally weird present day tales of espionage Ace Richard Knight—code name Agent Q. After an accident in the Great War, Knight developed the uncanny ability to see in the dark. Aided by his skirt-chasing partner Larry Doyle, Knights adventures ranged from your basic between the wars espionage to lost valley civilizations and dinosaurs. This, his second tale from January 1937, is more espionage than lost civilizations (like his first).

“Washington to Gray, Flight Eight . . . Washington to Gray . . . Report your position . . .” No sooner had that message rung across those leaden skies when just ahead of his speeding Northrop Richard Knight glimpsed a huge Douglas transport roaring through the snowy blur. And as he saw that ship he cringed. Gray had reported for the last time. For out of that craft’s windows there stared dilated, terrified eyes—the unseeing eyes of the dead. And the faces from which they peered were—a hideous green!

Editor’s Note: His first story, Vultures of the Lost Valley (November 1936, Flying Aces) can be found here.

It’s Our 10th Anniversary!

Link - Posted by David on March 23, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

IT’S HARD to believe it’s already been ten years since we introduced you to Jed Garrett, aka Captian Babyface, and his faithful dog Click, the hell-hound, but it has. It was ten years ago today Age of Aces Books published it’s first—Captain Babyface: The Complete Adventures, gathering together all 10 of Steve Fisher’s tales of Captain Babyface and his battles against the skull-visaged Mr. Death that ran in the pages of Dare-Devil Aces in 1936.

Over the past ten years we’ve published the best names in weird World War I fiction from the tattered pages of the old pulp magazines. In addition to Steve Fisher, we’ve published work from the illustrious likes of Robert J. Hogan (The Red Falcon and Smoke Wade), Donald E. Keyhoe (Captain Philip Strange, The Vanished Legion and The Jailbird Flight); C.M. Miller (Chinese Brady), Ralph Oppenheim (The Three Mosquitoes), William E. Barrett (The Iron Ace), Robert M. Burtt (Battling Grogan), O.B. Myers (The Blacksheep of Belogue), Arch Whitehouse (Coffin Kirk), Harold F. Cruickshank (Sky Devil), William Hartley (Molloy & McNamara), and Frederick C. Painton (The Squadron of the Dead). That’s quite a list and we’ve got more to come!

We’ve tried to make our website a place to help you Journey back to an Age of Aces by not only featuring content about our books—the authors we’ve published and artist we’ve printed, but also other aspects of the old air pulps that don’t make it into our books as well—The pulp covers and the stories behind them, the lives of the aces in pictures, and their most thrilling sky fights!

And there’s free fiction Fridays when we frequently post stories that can be downloaded and read! Since it’s our tenth year we’re trying to have more frequent content up on the site and more stories—trying to increase from one or two a month to practically every Friday—and from the authors we’ve published as well as recurring website favorites—Joe Archibald’s Phineas Pinkham and Lt. Frank Johnson’s Silent Orth.

So stop back often to journey back and here’s hoping for 10 more great years bringing you the best of old air pulps in a new package!

Now Available!

Link - Posted by David on July 23, 2016 @ 9:34 am in

IF YOU can’t make it to PulpFest in Columbus this weekend, you can still get copies of our new books online from the usual outlets. Both of our new books—Frederick C. Painton’s Squadron of the Dead and Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange: Strange Spectres—are now available to order online from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

While you’re waiting for the books to arrive, why not check out some of the extras we’ve put on line for each book to whet your appetite. For Painton’s Squadron of the Dead we’ve posted the original pulp scans from Sky Birds magazine of the opening page art so you can see how it would have looked if you were reading the stories back in 1935 when they were originally published. You can also read the opening of the stories in the scans. Orignally we had posted a few of the Squadron of the Dead stories on our site—we had enjoyed them so much that we we had found all eight stories we decided to collect them into a book. The first one is still available here if you want to sample the book.

For the latest release of the weird World War I adventures of Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange we have the original full page scans of the opening artwork for each of the six stories collected in Strange Spectres! For the last few volumes we’ve only been posting cropped artwork, this is the first time we’re posting the full page scan so you can read a bit of story and enjoy Eugene M. Frandzen’s art in all its glory from the pages of Flying Aces magazine. Painton’s Squadron also uses Frandzen’s art, but here in the bedsheet sized issues of Flying Aces you get those glorious painted images Frandzen would do—much better than his line art.

And the piece de resistance of any Strange book—Chris’ great cutout artwork he does for each of the stories! There are only six this time—but they’re all winners. You can check them out on the Strange Spectres Design page!

Both books are available for $16.99 wherever our books are sold, so pick up both today! You can order online from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

Premiering at PulpFest 2016!

Link - Posted by David on July 18, 2016 @ 6:00 am in

Age of Aces will be back at PulpFest again this year where we will be debuting our two new titles!

First, we have the lastest in our Captain Philip Strange series—back with six more weird WWI stories in Strange Spectres! A mental marvel from birth, who used his talents on stage as a boy, Philip Strange is now known as “The Phantom Ace of G-2″ by the Allies during WWI. “Horrors of war” takes on a whole new meaning when WWI erupts with paranormal activity: Flaming planes piloted by charred skeletons; Battleship crews that mysteriously vanish; Medieval knights falling from the sky; The spirit of the Red Baron himself haunting the frontlines! When World War I gets weird, only America’s own “Phantom Ace of G-2” has a ghost of a chance against the supernatural slaughter. Captain Philip Strange in his strangest cases yet from the pages of Flying Aces magazine!

Our other title is from the pen of Frederick Painton, a prolific pulp author and venerated newspaper man. We’ve collected eight of his stories that ran in the pages of Sky Birds magazine in 1935 and are publishing them under the title Squadron of the Dead. The Squadron of the Dead contained all the hellions of ten armies! Men without hope; men courting death; men who loved to kill; men who laughed and fought, drank and cursed, lived hard, and died harder. Americans, British, Russians—even Germans—made up their ranks, and only one bond held them together: Death lay ahead of them. They were assigned the grim missions no other squadron dared to take—for they had all been condemned to die!

Painton’s Squadron of the Dead is a departure from our usual titles that feature a scrappy band of aviators flying through various adventures. Each of the eight stories in Painton’s Squadron of the Dead is the story of a different pilot who has been condemned to death and sent to the squadron to serve out his sentence. And die they did, dropping spies, bombing impossible places, strafing infantry for harassed Allied battalions. These men flew recklessly, savagely, knowing they could live again only when death really claimed them. Then their names would shine once again in the casualty announcements and they would be posthumously awarded the Legion d’Honneur.

In addition to these two volumes we’ll have all of our other titles that are still in print as well as our convention exclusive—Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Kirk. So if you’re planning on coming to Columbus for PulpFest this year, stop by our table and say hi and pick up our latest releases!

The Jailbird Flight—Resurrecting the Dead Man’s Drome

Link - Posted by David on September 7, 2015 @ 12:54 pm in

WHEN you’re collecting pulps after the fact rather than buying them off the newsstands you rarely acquire issues in their publication order. As such when you find a character or series, you don’t often read those stories in sequence. For some characters that is not essential, for other series you realize after reading two or three stories that you need to collect all the stories and then read them in order to appreciate the continuity that runs throughout the series. Such is the case with Donald Keyhoe’s Jailbird Flight.

I discovered Keyhoe and his Jailbird Flight stories in Dare-Devil Aces. Here was a band of convicts who chose to die flying suicide missions and fighting for their country—the very country that condemned them to life in prison—rather than rot in said prison. They were a rough and tumble bunch assembled by Colonel Rand from the bowels of Blois:

The Flight, at is core, is comprised of Bruce Kirby—Below the Rio Grande he had once been known as “The Killer,” now he flew through hell skies, leader of the strangest squadron that ever dared face death from flaming Spandaus; “Big” Durgin, the hugest Jailbird of all, a mountain of a man with pile-driver fists and a fierce, battered face that masked the gruff kindness beneath his hard exterior; “Tiger” Haight, whose dark eyes ever smoldered as at some hateful memory, perhaps of the day which had turned his hair to silver, though he was but thirty—no one knew his past—no questions were asked in the Jailbird Flight; Cartwright, the tall, urbane Englishman who looked like a British lord; the lanky Tinker with his drawling humor and comical, homely face; and last and by no means least—Kid Denison who reminded Kirby of his ill-fated young brother who had been brutally sacrificed by a drug-mad S.C.! All bore the notorious brand—the sign of the Jailbird Flight—a broad arrow burned on the back of their right hand—but they made it stand for courage!

Dare-Devil Aces was my entry into air war pulps—they were plentiful and relatively cheaply priced at the time (this is like 15 or 20 years ago we’re talking). Finding most issues was relatively easy save for a few—the January 1935 issue which has G-8 appearing in Hogan’s Red Falcon story that month; a couple of 1934 issues—February and July; and the first year of issues from 1932. Condition was not really a concern at the time—I just wanted to read the stories. The initial core of my collection was a lot of 17 issues that Editor Emeritus Bill Mann sold me at PulpCon one year for $100!

The Cyclone Patrol
THE OPENING SPREAD of “The Cyclone Patrol” by Frederick Blakeslee (February 1933, Dare-Devil Aces). This is not the original copy I had read, but an upgraded issue with the cover still attached. The previous owner, J.B., felt so strongly about this story that he printed his succinct review in the margin—”This story is NUTZ, , and so is KIRBY.”

Being familiar with Robert J. Hogan and G-8 and his Battle Aces, I initially read the Red Falcon stories in the issues. But my attention started to wander to the other stories in the wealth of issues as it does and that’s when I came upon the February 1932 issue and its lead story—”The Cyclone Patrol” by Donald E. Keyhoe. Frederick Blakeslee’s two page illustration for the story was shear pandemonium! At first glance, it appears to be two arrow emblazoned planes zooming down to strafe a bunch of armor-clad knights with rifles! Kooky. But as you study it more as you do—you start to notice that there are a bunch of much smaller figures running in fear and that Blakeslee’s perspective is not off and these knights are giants(!) and the smaller figures are normal-sized men! Reading the blurb at the bottom of the picture hooked me—

Pilots twelve feet tall—mammoth planes—rifles big as cannons—this was the squadron of giants, Bocheland’s newest sky horror. Armies fled in terror before them—until Killer Kirby took up their awful challenge, dared defy the strength of these super-aces with the gutty courage of his Jailbird Brood!

I had to read it! And I did—it was an electric story of a mad German Scientist, von Horde, who had appropriated another’s invention—the Q ray—to turn normal people into twelve foot tall giants which he planed on using to defeat the Allies once and for all. While trying to get into von Horde’s castle, Kirby comes across the Q-ray’s creator Kauben who wants to rescue his girl from von Horde’s clutches. They team up to break into his castle, smash the device, get the girl and put an end to von Horde’s mad schemes! It’s a great story—Kirby even comes upon one of his own Brood in von Horde’s dungeons that has been transformed into one of his giants—showing Kirby the enlarged scar on the back of his hand when he doesn’t believe it possible.

After finishing that story, I looked through my other issues to see if I had any more stories of this Jailbird Flight. At the time I had one other story—”The Red Lightning Ace”—as the blurb puts it: “For the Fourth time the Terror had struck What was this new War weapon—this terrible wheel of flame that roared out of the night skies to bring destruction—death—to all it touched? Grimly Kirby followed that fire sky trail, straight into the most hell-bent adventure he or his dare-devil Brood ever tackled.” More wacky WWI super-science action as only Keyhoe could write it!

In looking for The Jailbird Flight in indexes I found there were only two more stories in Dare-Devil Aces in issues I didn’t own at that time as well as one in the first issue of Battle Birds which would precede the four Dare-Devil Aces stories, and seven earlier tales in the even harder to find Battle Aces. A whole wealth of stories—12 in all—I just had to find them.

So I would haunt eBay and AbeBooks and similar places and do websearches and such and over the years I was able to get the other two stories in Dare-Devil Aces and the last two Battle Aces stories—for some reason, the later 1932 issues of Battle Aces seemed to be easier to find that the 1931 or earlier ’32’s.

When we started Age of Aces Books in 2007, I always had a goal of getting all the Jailbird stories so we could collect them into a book. As it turns out—two books. We discussed printing them out of order or maybe just the Dare-Devil Aces stories just to get them out there, but in the end we decided we should do them in order in two volumes. As it worked out, the story in the first issue of Battle Birds—”The Jailbird Patrol”—works as a great introduction to the series and so it and the four Dare-Devil Aces stories could be one book while the seven stories from Battle Aces of various lengths would be the first volume.

I was finally able to track down the first five Jailbird stories through eBay—the hardest to obtain being the March 1932 issue with a Red Baron cover! When I finally got the first Jailbird story from the September 1931 Battle Aces around Thanksgiving 2013 I read it with excitement! I wasn’t sure what to expect—if it would contain the oft mentioned incident that landed Kirby in Blois—the killing of his drug-addled S.C. who had sent his green-pilot of a younger brother on a suicide mission—or maybe the formation of the Brood—or would it just start already in existence. “The Jailbird Flight”—the first story—was a present. It contained everything! The first chapter is one of the best aviation tales I’ve read—there we meet Bruce Kirby coming back from patrol when he comes upon an obviously inexperience flight of Allied pilots being attacked by von Falke’s Hate Staffel! Amongst the besieged is Kirby’s own little brother! whom he see’s gunned down before his eyes! Crazed he returns to his base and confronts the S.C. only to find him hopped up on drugs unable to handle his job. Kirby offers him a fair chance to defend himself as he had done in his life before the war south of the Rio Grande.

    Killer Kirby stood like a statue, facing him. His hands hung at his sides, but the fingers were curled like talons. When he spoke his voice was strange and unnatural.
    “Better take that drink, Dorsey,” he said. “It’s the last drink you’ll get this side of hell.”
    An awful pallor crept into Dorsey’s face under the jaundiced skin.
    “What do you mean?” he whispered. His right hand crept toward the desk.
    “Jimmy—my brother.” A strange film came over Kirby’s eyes. The pupils had become mere pin points, black, menacing. “He’s dead, and it was you who killed him!”
Dorsey sank back before the look in Kirby’s face.
    “No, no,” he cried. “I swear to God I didn’t mean to do it! You can’t—”
    “Draw your gun!” rasped Kirby. “It’s there in your desk. Draw it—or I’ll burn you down!”
    “It’s murder!” Dorsey shrieked. “You’re mad—”
    “Murder! Yes, and you murdered him! Draw!”
    With a crazy scream, Dorsey jerked his pistol from the drawer. His hand threw the weapon upward. Instantly, Kirby’s hand flashed down. The gun seemed to leap into his clutching fingers. There was a crash as two shots came at once. Dorsey’s face turned a hideous gray as he staggered back. His gun fell from his hand. Suddenly he crumpled up and fell like a log.
    Startled voices sounded outside. Men burst into the squadron office. Kirby turned and faced them. He held out his pistol butt foremost, while a red stream trickled from his left arm.
    “Here’s my gun,” said Kirby slowly. His face was black as granite. “You needn’t call the surgeon. I shot him through the heart.”

Chapter two picks up as Kirby sits a dank cell in Blois awaiting eventual transfer to the Federal Prison at Leavenworth, Kansas to be imprisoned for the rest of his life. That is until Colonel Rand shows up and makes Kirby an offer—one he initially turns down until he hears their first mission will be a suicide flight against von Falke and his Hate Staffel!

And that’s just the beginning!

Our new book The Jailbird Flight: Dead Man’s Drome collects those seven hard to find stories from the pages of Popular Publication’s Battle Aces. As a Labour Day Special to whet your appetite, here are the first two chapters of the first story to get you hooked!

The Jailbird Flight: Dead Man’s Drome, like all Age of Aces Books, can be order from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books, and, of course, Amazon!

Strange Staffels Now Available!

Link - Posted by David on August 24, 2015 @ 6:00 am in

Yes! The fourth in our series of themed stories of Donald E. Keyhoe’s Captain Philip Strange is now available! The book premiered at PulpFest this month, and although we had copies there, our printer informed us there was a problem with the files and one of the spreads needed to be tweeked and resubmitted.

This time around Captain Philp Strange faces off against seven of Germany’s Strangest Staffels! America’s enemies have assembled squadrons of flying furies, exploding skeletons, and invisible airplanes to turn the tide of the First World War. From the backalleys of Paris to the skies over Germany, Strange finds high-flying fortresses above the clouds, cursed aerodromes, strafing skulls, and other wild weapons of mass destruction!

Strange Staffels, like all Age of Aces Books, can be order from Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books, and, of course, Amazon!

“The Sky Raider Pt15″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 31, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. In the last installment . . .

    With Carmichael’s help, Dick manages to catch Perez, but the line-chief refuses to talk. In an effort to loosen his lips, Dick takes Perez up in his plane and puts it through every heart-stopping trick he can think of. In the end Perez begs to be put down saying he will talk. He admits to sabotaging Lawson’s gas-gauge, but will not name any of his co-conspirators. Dick does get Perez to sign a confession that he hopes will be enough to free Old Man Rand. Dick dashes off to Starkville with the confession…

Will Dick get there in time with Perez’s confession? Who helped Perez kill Lawson and steal the Federal Reserve money? Find out who really killed Lawson and masterminded the plan to steal the money in the final installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

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“The Sky Raider Pt14″ by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by David on December 29, 2014 @ 12:00 pm in

Continuing with Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider, a serialized novel from 1929. A lot has happened. In the last installment . . .

    With Wilson’s help, Dick manages to make his night-time sky-writing device a reality. Trying it out on a run to Henshaw Field, Dick finds he needs to work out the releasing interval. The news of Dick’s success does little to lighten Mary’s heavy heart. She makes Dick promiss that he will somehow free her father before his execution.
    The wreck of Lawson’s plane is released from the locked hanger it’s been stored in and Dick finds evidence of sabotage while inspecting it—the gas-gauge was crimped with pliers to give a false reading. Asking Wilson who checked over Lawson’s plane before his fateful run, Dick finds out it was the line-chief Perez…

Was it really Perez who killed Lawson? Was he working alone? And can Dick get the bottom of all this before Old Man Rand faces death that night? Find out in the fourteenth installment of Donald E. Keyhoe’s The Sky Raider!

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And come back on Wednesday for the exciting conclusion!

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