The Suicide Squad – Books
By Emile Tepperman
Long before DC comics pooled the talents of Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and a host of other supervillains together to handle suicide missions; ACE G-Men Stories had already presented the world with its first Suicide Squad.
…they had made a blazing swath of gunfire through the underworld. There had been five of them at the start; then only four; then three – Kerrigan and Murdoch and Klaw. Tomorrow there might be only two, or one – or none…
Author Emile Tepperman wrote the adventures of the Suicide Squad with words that poured from the barrel of a sub-machine gun. His heroes were fearless, or better yet beyond fearless in their efforts to battle crime in all its forms. The series kicked off in 1939, running for 22 episodes in the pages of the last pulp to extoll the adventures of the G-man.
I read a mixed bag of the Suicide Squad adventures published by Adventure House as part of their in-house publishing efforts. Each story rattled with excitement, unfolding so smoothly and with such action, you can’t put them down. Two stories focused on battles with the underworld as our hero’s battle gangsters with armies of hoods at their disposal, but none rough or tuff enough to tackle the F.B.I’s Suicide Squad.
In The Suicide Squad – Dead or Alive, corporate politicians hold an entire town prisoner. They rule the courts, police, and town hall. Their crimes are hidden behind the legal system they managed, but when Kerrigan, Murdoch, and Klaw investigate, Hill City becomes a bloody battleground for justice.
The Coffin Barricade. When eight young special agents went out to get the Undertaker, they all came back in caskets and embalmed. That’s when the F.B.I sends in the Suicide Squad. Three men who have lived close enough to Death to be able to find the Undertaker, and put him six feet under.
Just as today, this country fears an attack from within its own borders. Leading up to World War II rumors of both the Japanese and the German clandestine group or agents attempting to undermine our nation’s solidarity were rampant. Tepperman used their fears to craft a number of his Suicide Squad novellas.
In The Suicide Squad Meets the Rising Sun, our three G-Men work to discover a hidden stronghold of Japanese soldiers ready to destroy the country from within. With NO knowledge of the Japanese language, but with guns blazing our trio faces the threat head-on.
Targets For the Flaming Arrow has our team in one of their most challenging adventures. A mysterious German, known only as Flaming Arrow, has unleashed his army of highly trained Korean bowman on America. Once pierced by their steel arrows, the victims burst into flames. Now with word that in four days this Nazi fiend is about to completely cripple the nation’s war efforts.
The classic pulp reprint disclaimer always denotes that these stories are a product of their times. The Suicide Squad tales don’t hold back on racial characterizations, profiling, violence in the name of justice, and a host of other things considered politically incorrect today.
However, they are ripping good yarns with door smashing, machine gun blazing, and hard knuckle fighting action. Trust me, once you start reading, you will not be able to put the story down until you’re finished.
Emile Tepperman’s prose also graces the pages of one of the most famous pulp creations – Operator #5. Although not the creator of the hero, his fast-paced doomed from the beginning storytelling would catapult the Op 5 series into the realm of pulp classic. His 13-part Purple Invasion saga captures the fears of a country worried about invasion. With the Operator #5 adventures, Tepperman makes that happen, and his view of America under siege is classic pulp fiction.
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