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“Sky Writers, February 1938″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on September 21, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the February 1938 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

Heroes of the Air: Richard Bell Davies by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on September 12, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Serge Drigin (or Sergie, Sergey or Serge R. Drigin) was born in Russia on 8 October 1894.
Without any formal training, Drigin managed to become a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s. He did illustrate at least one book in his native Russia in 1919—E. Venskii’s Skazka o rybakie I rybkie—before becoming big illustrating British magazines like The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

For a few years in the mid 30s he tried his hand at comics, drawing varioius episodes for Film Picture Stories and the serial “The Flying Fish” in Sparkler. By the early 40s he was working for War Artists & Illustrators who supplied material to War Illustrated, Sphere and other such magazines.

After the war, when paper shortages made it hard for illustrators to find work, Drigin turned to comic strips producing many one off strips from 1947 to 48 for the likes of Scion, Ltd, before hooking up with J.B. Allen in 48 and producing a number of series for his Comet, Sun and Merry-Go-Round comics until 49 and moving into contributing features and artwork to various annuals including Swift and Eagle.

Drigin was naturalized in 1932, married three times and died in 1977.

From the 2 April 1938 issue of Flying:

SQUADRON-COMMANDER RICHARD BELL DAVIES WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS AT FERRIJIK JUNCTION, NOVEMBER 19, 1915.

TWO officers were concerned in this gallant action, Commander Bell Davies and Flight Sub-Lieutenant G. F. Smylie, and the incident occurred during a raid on the borders of Bulgaria. Both officers were flying Nieuport Scouts. Near the objective Smylie’s machine was hit by anti-aircraft fire, and although he was compelled to come down, he first flew over his target and dropped nearly all his bombs. Having done this he landed in a marsh and at once took steps to destroy his machine to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy. Looking up, he saw to his dismay that Commander Bell Davies was preparing to land with the obvious intention of picking him up. Commander Bell Davies was, of course, landing as close as possible to the now burning machine, unconscious of the fact that an unexploded bomb was still in it. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie thereupon acted with great courage and presence of mind. Running up close to the bomb he fired at it with his revolver until he caused it to explode. By this time enemy troops were rushing forward to make the airmen prisoners, firing as they ran. Nevertheless, Commander Bell Davies landed near his companion on the ground, and under the very rifles of the enemy picked him up in his machine and carried him home to safety. The award of the V.C. appeared in the London Gazette on January 1st, 1916, and concluded with these words: “This was a feat of airmanship that can seldom have been equalled for skill and gallantry.”

“Skyway Robbery” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on August 26, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

The Boonetown miracle man, Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, and his unwitting hut mate Bump Gillis find themselves down behind Boche lines only to run into a fellow Boonetownian, but one who’s fighting for the Germans!

You can’t blame a fellow for wanting to make his mark. But over on the Heinie side of the Big-Fuss fence, marks were scarce. Yes, and when Phineas staged that “Bank Night of Germany” and hit the jack plot—they were even scarcer!

“Heir-O-Bats” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on July 29, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Berlin’s big guy—Kaiser Bill, by name—had suddenly taken a decided interest in a postage-stamp Balkan state named Pandemonia. That was because a wizard named Mymugiz Grotescu kept shop there—an hombre said to be 10½ times smarter than an inventor named Edison. Only that high Heinie named Bill counted a little too heavily on a dope named Carol Fzog. What’s more, he completely forgot about a gazabo named Phineas Pinkham!

“Cocarde Sharpers” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on May 27, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” You heard right! That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Looks like the Boomtown Miracle Man is public enemy No.1. Everyone wants Phineas Pinkham dead! The Germans are looking for him and bombing the 9th unmercifully in hopes of hitting their mark. As a result, everyone at the 9th Pursuits would like Pinkham to expire. Even his girl, Babbette wants that fiery-headed Yankee Peeg dead. What’s a Pinkham to do? Find out in Joe Archibald’s latest, larrupin’ laff fest—from the September 1938 Flying Aces, Phineas Pinkham puts the “poke” in poker in “Cocarde Sharpers!”

“Get das Pingham!” war-cried the flocks of squarehead flyers facing Bar-le-Duc. And when they proceeded to pour seven months’ output of Krupp poison onto the drome of the fighting Ninth in seven days, the battered and bomb-sprayed Major Rufus Garrity had to admit he was licked. “Pinkham,” he said, “for the safety of the rest of the service, go out—and get yourself killed!” And wasn’t Phineas always a man to obey orders?

And lest you think the legend that is Phineas Pinkham resides only in crumbling old magazines from 80 years ago, the modern day Flying Aces Club keeps his spirit alive! The field where they hold their competitions is named “Pinkham Field” after the great, grinning, jug-headed buffoon. In fact, he’s even been known to put in an appearance!


The FAC’s Information Technology Guru, Rick Pendzick was awarded the FAC Blue Max at the September Outdoor Contest at Pinkham Field in Connecticut. That’s Rick on the right with Phineas Pinkham.

“Tripe of Peace” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on April 29, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

The Germans have developed a new, sinister gas bomb that makes a person have no desire to fight and love their fellow man. What kind of war would that be? Needless to say, the Boomtown marvel sets out to find the source of this new deadly destruction and in the process inspires a put-upon German corporal named Adolph to dream big—real big!

When the Kraut concoction cooker-uppers caused a flock of Allied flyers to forsake their battle buggies in favor of a Western Front version of the Yassar daisy chain, Rufus Garrity roared, “It’s impossible!” Of course, when his own sky-scrappers got messed up with Kid Maxie, the Munich Mauler, the fiery Major’s opinion had to be revised. All of which was a mere trifle. For after Phineas deftly tossed his Uncle Thaddeus’s Sioux shillelah, Heinie-land’s whole history had to be revised—believe it, or else!

“Zuyder Zee Zooming” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on February 25, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“Haw-w-w-w-w!” That sound can only mean one thing—it’s time to ring out the old year and ring in the new with that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors—Phineas Pinkham. The Boonetown miracle is misdirected to the wrong train in Paris coming back from leave and finds himself knee-deep in tulips and treachery! It’s a Dutch treat special—it’s Phineas in Holland! from the July 1938 issue of Flying Aces, it’s “Zuyder Zee Zooming!”

Ludendorff was well satisfied. He already had his sand and gravel on the Holland canals, and now his eye was on the Hollanders’ ports. But when he began putting ants in their pants, Phineas raised the ante. All of which proved that there’s a limit—even to Dutchman’s breeches.

“The Spider and the Flyer” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 28, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

The Boonetown miracle man, Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, is attached to help Captain McSniff over in the Isle investigate rumors of Kraut skullduggery rife on his home soil. Apparently, Scottish folk along the Firth of Solway had begun to get the jitters and that a fisherman had claimed to have seen a Heinie pigboat slipping through the fog that always hung over the Firth as thick as porridge.

When that bonnie braw Kraut shooter, Captain Gregory MacSniff button-holed Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham regarding an “Annie Laurie” journey, that jaunty jokester didn’t appreciate it. He scowled about going to Scotland. And he groused about going grousing. But the flying headache of the 9th quickly found out that orders are orders, and cordite is cordite—even though fish aren’t always just fish.

J.W. Scott’s Sky Devils, Pt4

Link - Posted by David on November 22, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE back with Scott’s final Sky Devils cover! Scott painted covers for practically every genre of pulp—sports, western, detective, science fiction and aviation. Most notable of his aviation covers are the ones he did for Western Fiction Publishing’s Sky Devils, which only ran for seven issues. Scott was very adept at capturing people, so his aviation covers center on the pilots and gunners in the planes rather than the planes themselves for the most part. The issues contained no stories for these covers like other titles we’ve featured, but Scott’s magnificent work was just too good to not share! And besides, he captures the action so well, you can imagine the story that goes with the cover he’s painted.

The cover of the final issue of Sky Devils, the February 1940 issue, reused the painting Scott had done for the first issue back in 1938. Here is that final cover followed by how it was on the first issue!


Sky Devils, February 1940 by J.W. Scott


Sky Devils, March 1938 by J.W. Scott

Check out David Saunder’s page for J.W. Scott at his excellent Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists site for more great examples of Scott’s work!

“Kraut Fishing” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on October 29, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Not long after Lieutenant Phineas “Carbuncle” Pinkham had knocked off Herr Hauptmann Adolph August von Heinz—the Owl of the Ozone, whose nocturnal marauding had been driving the Chaumont brain trust to drunkards’ graves—the Allies had a meeting. And the motion was moved and seconded that a medal be struck off for the hero from Boonetown, Iowa. But two hours after the order was okayed by the Democratic board of directors, Major Rufus Garrity, boss of the turbulent Ninth Pursuit Squadron, wished that Phineas had let the Heinie alone. For irked no end by the news that von Heinz had been shellacked for a row of ammo dumps by Lieutenant Pinkham, a certain Boche bombing outfit hopped into their egg crates close to dawn of the day following the descendu of their Kraut hero who doted on darkness. In the confusion of the subsequent bombing of the Ninth by the von Schmierwurst’s gory Grim Reapers, The Owl flew the coup hiding in the woods full of his nocturnal friends!

Neither of the international shooting parties encamped in that noxious neighborhood bordering Bar-le-Duc was in a sugary mood. To the Teuton tracer-tossers, the capture of their sinister Spandau-ist, Hauptmann von Heinz, had proved a decided pain-in-the-neck. Likewise, von Schmierwurst’s gory Grim Reapers had become a pain-in-the-neck to the Democrats. And Phineas? You guessed it! He was a pain-in-the-neck to everybody!

J.W. Scott’s Sky Devils, Pt2

Link - Posted by David on October 25, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE back with two more of Scott’s great covers! Scott painted covers for practically every genre of pulp—sports, western, detective, science fiction and aviation. Most notable of his aviation covers are the ones he did for Western Fiction Publishing’s Sky Devils, which only ran for seven issues. Scott was very adept at capturing people, so his aviation covers center on the pilots and gunners in the planes rather than the planes themselves for the most part. The issues contained no stories for these covers like other titles we’ve featured, but Scott’s magnificent work was just too good to not share! And besides, he captures the action so well, you can imagine the story that goes with the cover he’s painted.

Here are the next two covers Scott did for Sky Devils—the October 1938 and January 1939 issues!


Sky Devils, October 1938 by J.W. Scott


Sky Devils, January 1939 by J.W. Scott

Check out David Saunder’s page for J.W. Scott at his excellent Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists site for more great examples of Scott’s work. And check back in two weeks for two more of Scott’s covers for Sky Devils magazine!

J.W. Scott’s Sky Devils, Pt1

Link - Posted by David on October 11, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

HERE, at Age of Aces Books, we have featured a lot of great aviation covers by Frederick Blakeslee (Dare-Devil Aces, Battle Aces and Battle Birds), Eugene M. Frandzen (Sky Fighters and Lone Eagle), Paul Bissell (Flying Aces) and C.B. Mayshark (Flying Aces). You can add to that list J.W. Scott! Scott painted covers for practically every genre of pulp—sports, western, detective, science fiction and aviation. Most notable of his aviation covers are the ones he did for Western Fiction Publishing’s Sky Devils. The title only ran for seven issues. Scott was very adept at capturing people, so his aviation covers center on the pilots and gunners in the planes rather than the planes themselves for the most part. The issues contained no stories for these covers like other titles we’ve featured, but Scott’s magnificent work was just too good to not feature! And besides, he captures the action so well, you can imagine the story that goes with the cover he’s painted.

Here are his first two covers for Sky Devils—those for March and July 1938!


Sky Devils, March 1938 by J.W. Scott


Sky Devils, July 1938 by J.W. Scott

As a bonus, here is David Saunder’s biography of J.W. Scott from his extensive Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists website!

J. W. SCOTT
(1907-1987)

John Walter Scott, Jr. was born on December 1, 1907 in Camden, New Jersey. His father of the same name was a second generation immigrant from Scotland, and was a draftsman at the Camden Shipyard. His mother was Helen L. Scott, who was of Irish ancestry. They lived at 7 Wood Street, which was one block from the busy riverfront piers. He and his father were avid fishermen.

During the Great War his father rejoined the U.S.Army and attained the rank of Captain before dying in 1919.

His mother took a job at the La France Tapestry Mill in Philadelphia, and in 1923 at age fifteen, he left school and began to work at the same mill.

The mill operator offered free night school classes in various facets of mill work to his child laborers, including design at the La France Art Institute.

In 1930 he finished his art training and began to pursue a career in freelance illustration. He worked under the name “J.W. Scott” out of emulation for the well-known pulp artist “H.W. Scott” as well as to capitalize on any resultant confusion over his professional status.

In 1932 and age twenty-five, he moved to 390 First Avenue in New York City.

His first published pulp cover appeared on the July 9, 1932 issue of Street & Smith’s Wild West Weekly.

He sold freelance pulp covers to All Star Fiction, Best Western, Complete Western Book, Detective Short Stories, Future Fiction, Ka-Zar, Lone Eagle, Marvel Science Stories, Mystery Tales, Quick-Trigger Western, Real Sports, Star Detective, Star Sports, Top-Notch Western, Two-Gun Western, Western Fiction, Uncanny Tales, Western Novel and Short Stories.

By 1938 he joined an advertising agency and began to find work in slick magazines. He became friends with R.G. Harris and other New Rochelle illustrators. In the Fall he married Eleanor Snyder, a banker’s daughter and socialite, but the marriage only lasted one year. There were no children.

During WWII he served in U.S. Army Corps of Combat Engineers. His detailed field drawings were sent by his Lieutenant to the editors of YANK Magazine, and he was soon invited to work on their art staff. He eventually wrote several articles and was promoted to the editorial staff.

After the war Scott found slick magazine assignments with Coronet, Elks, This Week, and Woman’s Day.

In 1946 he married Flavia Bensing. She was also an artist, as well as the daughter of an artist, Frank C. Bensing. They moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where they raised two daughters.

In the 1950s he began to work for men’s adventure magazines, such as Argosy, True, and Sports Afield. He continued to produce illustrations for Sports Afield for almost two decades.

In the 1960s he was commissioned to paint several impressive murals for The Church of Latter Day Saints and The Petroleum Museum of Midland Texas.

In his final years Scott worked on easel paintings of the Old West.

According to the artist, “I paint the pictures I am interested in painting. Much of contemporary art is about people who think they are IN. The quickest way to lose yourself is to lose your individuality. The important thing is to be yourself and forget about being IN.”

John Scott died in the Danbury Hospital at the age of seventy-nine on October 20, 1987.

Check out David Saunder’s page for J.W. Scott at his excellent Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists site for more great examples of Scott’s work. And check back in two weeks for two more of Scott’s covers for Sky Devils magazine!

“Hoots and Headlights” by Joe Archibald

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

THERE’S no fool like an April fool, and there’s no bigger April fool than that Bachelor of Artifice, the Knight of Calamity, an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham, the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa!

In the pit of a sinister Kraut Albatros slumped a grim, squat-bodied Kaiser hocher whose greenish eyes boded ill for a certain Yankee flyer who had knocked him for a row of Nisson huts six weeks before. “The Owl” was on the prowl again, and his feathers were ruffled from his high dudgeon. It was said across the Rhine that Herr Hauptmann von Heinz was so closely related to the owl species that the nocturnal birds were in complete harmony with him. Unfortunately for The Owl, Lieutenant Pinkham had a his own peculiar way of shining light on these matters!

More than one person on the Western Front was bent! Having prepared a succulent dish of stuffed owl, Chef Pinkham was bent on giving the bird to one Hauptmann von Heinz. Meanwhile, one Oscar Frump, of Waterloo, Iowa, was bent on giving the bird to Phineas. And before things went much further, one Francois LeBouche was busy sharpening his shiv. He was bent, too—bent on cutting himself a piece of throat.

“Sky Writers, December 1938″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on March 24, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

FREQUENT visitors to this site know that we’ve been featuring Terry Gilkison’s Famous Sky Fighters feature from the pages of Sky Fighters. Gilkison had a number of these features in various pulp magazines—Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Starting in the February 1936 issue of Lone Eagle, Gilkison started the war-air quiz feature Sky Writers. Each month there would be four questions based on the Aces and events of The Great War. If you’ve been following his Famous Sky Fighters, these questions should be a snap!

Here’s the quiz from the December 1938 issue of Lone Eagle.

If you get stumped or just want to check your answers, click here!

“Eclipse of the Hun” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on January 29, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

“HAW-W-W-W-W!” That sound can only mean one thing—that Bachelor of Artifice, Knight of Calamity and an alumnus of Doctor Merlin’s Camelot College for Conjurors is back to vex not only the Germans, but the Americans—the Ninth Pursuit Squadron in particular—as well. Yes it’s the marvel from Boonetown, Iowa himself—Lieutenant Phineas Pinkham!

Hauptmann Adolph August von Heinz—dubbed The Owl of the Ozone—was born on the stroke of twelve in the middle of the Black Forest, and it was rumored across the Rhine that every mouse in the Province scurried to cover when the stork dropped this Kraut squaller down the chimney of the Heinz menage. From that day on, von Heinz got blind staggers when he looked at the sun, and the War found him sleeping in the daytime and attacking at night! But that Boonetown marvel looked to the heavens to find a way to take out the Owl in broad daylight!

On the Western Front, things looked mighty dark for the minions of Democracy—so dark, in fact, that by contrast the pall over Pittsburgh resembled a bridal veil caressing a snowdrift. Once again the fly-by-night in the Entente ointment and cocklebur in the Allied rompers was that sinister Hauptmann von Heinz—The Owl of the Ozone. But what of Phineas? Well, he’d bought himself a book on the Cosmos. To put it poetically, Carbuncle was “lost in the music of the spheres!”

As a bonus…some fan art of the Boonetown Treasure!

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