Tag Archives: Hoverboy Museum


Here we go again, fellow Float Fans!  It’s that day of the week, and time for the greatest bucket wearing hero of the twentieth century (and 2nd greatest bucket wearing hero of all time!) HOVERBOY!   This week:  Hoverboy goes DIGITAL!

We start with the Hoverboy: FLOATING FIGHTER video game of 1982, manufactured in the EXCITE-O-VISION format from Softie Games.  This unique format promised to be the first home-system 3-d graphics on the market, with an effect that was described by the designers as “graphics floating in front of your very eyes”.  Naturally with a slogan like that, they set their sites on the leading floating character in the super-hero market to launch their fledgling game company.

When Superman turned down Softie Games, they tried to get the license for Captain Marvel, and then Hawkman, followed by Dr. Fate, Ghost Woman, Sky-Man: The Helium Filled Detective, Thor, Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Blimp (from the Inferior Five), The Specter, Dr. Strange, Dr. Druid, Flight Boy, and a character I’ve never heard of elsewhere called “FLOATY: Clown Chimp of the Stratosphere”.

Eventually Softie settled on Hoverboy, and the rest is long forgotten history.

The first impediment to success was the design of the basic game.  Though the three-dimensional graphics of the EXCITE-O-VISION format were quite spectacular, the simple geometric figures and low-pixel backgrounds made the game seem dreadfully old fashioned for the sophisticated gamers of the eighties.   To top it all off, HOVERBOY: FLOATING FIGHTER was originally test marketed only in  the poorer counties of Louisiana and Georgia, a population made up mostly of low income African-American families, who had little or no awareness of Hoverboy, or indeed computer games for the home at that time.

The test-market scores for the game were exceedingly low, and the two phrases most often spontaneously given in written reviews were “Can I get my money now?” and “What the hell?  Who would do this for FUN?”

HOVERBOY: FLOATING FIGHTER was never released, and the money spent in developing it was lost.  Softie Games president, Lionel Jackson, was devastated by the adventure and swore off the game industry forever to his family and friends, mere moments before he was hit by a bus.

Another tragic loss, blamed on the HOVERBOY curse, by those too uneducated to know better.  Blamed on a drunken bus driver named Clement McManus, by the coroner for the city of San Fransisco, where the accident happened.

Next up:

Above is one of the more public tributes given to Hoverboy in recent years.  For fans of the movie “THE INCREDIBLES” there’s a moment near the beginning of the film, when Mr. Incredible heads up to his attic retreat, to wax nostalgic for his heroic past.   Eagle eyed Hoverboy fans like myself instantly noticed the clear nod to the Battlin’ Bucket on the top shelf to the right of the door.  Is that a HOVERBOY helmet up there?  It looks like the late sixties version, though it’s hard to say, considering how often the design changed from show to show, or even comic to comic.  At any rate, Incredibles Director, Brad Bird, is a well known Hoverboy fan, and has mentioned him in many interviews, so the familiar helmet isn’t all that unexpected.  Hoverboy references abound in Bird’s work, including The Simpsons, Iron Giant and Ratatouille (look for ‘em yourself, once you know they’re there, they’re easy to spot!)

As always, head on over to the nearly abandoned HOVERBOY MUSEUM for more about the history and future of this amazing and popular character from the world of Superheroes.

Coming up:  More Marvel March Madness as soon as I scan the Spidey Stuff.

Ty the Guy


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Two entries in a row on their correct days?  The calendar police have gotten to me, obviously.   They waterboarded me all night.  Well, I’m Canadian so it was more of a snowboarding—Hey!  Now an official Olympic Sport!

Today, we dig into the e-mail bag to post some Hoverboy appearances fans have spotted while going about their daily lives.    It seems that Hovermania is sweeping the land at astounding speed.  I can’t take full credit, obviously, as Stark and Nutt (the creators of Hoverboy, back in the thirties) had SOMETHING to do with it, but I like to think my online efforts are keeping the Bucket floating just a little higher.

First up:  A political cartoon aimed at those pesky obstruction republicans.  I think.  Another spot-on ribbing from the always witty FTR Simmons, or is that AZ Simmons, or maybe DJ Hummong**?  I can’t read it, but I’m sure he’s always witty.  He’s syndicated by the AQ Daily SPRUECK or something, so he must be good.  I can’t read any of that stuff up top, sorry.   This was sent in by a Richard Fader, of Fort Lee New Jersey, who noticed the cartoon in his local issue of the daily Sprueck, and sent me a scan of the image in a mere three or four months.  Richard:  To be fair, even though they are wearing superhero costumes, and Hoover-Boy does sound VERY much like Hoverboy, I’m going to assume this cartoon has something to do with the economy, and the reference is far more likely to be about J. Edgar Hoover-a well known millionaire, inventor of the vacuum cleaner, and the industrial dam. But thanks for trying.

Next up is a t-shirt that was for sale at a comic book and fantasy convention in Dallas last month.   Since I’m currently the owner of the Hoverboy trademark (along with Marcus Moore, curator of the Hoverboy museum) a vigilant fan in Dallas (David Waller) thought it was best to alert me to the obviously unlicensed and illegal use of the Hoverboy image on a shirt.  Well, there’s no trademark infringement to small to enforce, David, so we alerted a local law firm in Dallas, who got onto the case within days of the convention last December.   So far, we’ve got a few leads, and I’ve been promised a break any day now.  At only six thousand dollars a month retainer fee, plus expenses (some of which are pretty damn odd, let me tell you), it’s worth every penny to put pirating scum like this behind bars.

Next Hoverboy Friday:  The world’s most expensive Hoverboy toy, valued at almost a hundred dollars!

As always, more of this can be found at the seemingly fallow, but still fun HOVERBOY MUSEUM.

Ty the Guy


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Nepotism Thursday

Good lord, Nepotism Thursday falls on a Thursday this month.  Alert the coast guard!!

Years ago, Ty was approached by Brandon Kruse for an interesting project he was involved with.  Kruse had drawn some issues of Batman and Robin Adventures which Ty had written (issues 9, 12-16, 18-20, 22 and 23) so he was part of Ty’s work “family”.  The project involved doing covers and a couple of interior pages for a superhero character which would be used on a website for that character.

Ty, at the time, was up to his neck teaching at Max the Mutt Animation School, and thought of offering up some of his students to do the work.  For someone who will happily take the opportunity to write, draw, ink, colour and letter his own stuff, Ty actually loves to collaborate–and to pass work on to those he considers deserving. But Kruse was hoping to work more with Ty.

At the time, Ty was teaching our eldest how to ink, so he sent along some samples by Kellam (Templeton-Smith at the time, now using Templeton as his work name), and some colouring and lettering by me (and yes, I can spell when I letter–it’s just that we Canadians like to stick “u”s in our words for something to do–a favourite of ours which I know our neighbours to the south don’t even when they’re out and about.) The samples passed muster and the pages arrived…

All the pages were pencilled by Brandon Kruse. Ty and Kellam divided the inking evenly.  I coloured all but one of the pages (the cover for the trapped Crimson Arrow, as seen immediately above) and lettered ’em all. Ty came up with the aging techniques.

The project went by fairly quickly–but was revisited several times.  I had to make a few changes to the pages a couple of times; once because when the costume was created for the live-action video, a yellow stripe was added to the glove which hadn’t been in the original design.  And other changes came about because…well let’s just say that there used to be extra material on the top of the head of the character and leave it at that.  Basically–thank god for PhotoShop!

You can see how the finished work was used over at

The Crimson Arrow

(I didn’t do the lettering which is used on the opening home page for click-throughs.  That was in place of the dialogue lettering I had done.)

(And, for those of you who might be wondering and speculating…let’s just say that this project came well after Ty signed on as one of the three curators* of The Hoverboy Museum. )


*Ty and Rick Green both signed on to help original curator Marcus Moore who had been struggling valiantly for years to build the museum up.

TY HERE: Ten special bonus points for whomever can tell which two covers my son inked, and which two covers I inked.  ALSO:  I coloured one of ’em, and my wife coloured the other three…for THIRTY points, which cover was my colour work.  The clock is ticking, people.  And, as always, the points are redeemable as airmiles.  All winners will receive miles and miles of air, theirs to breathe for  years to come.   By the way, the things atop the Crimson Arrow’s head were, in fact, clearly actionable pointy bat-ears.  I’m not sure why the producers thought the bat-ears were originally acceptable, and I’ll look for one of the un-altered covers to put up in a bit…it was like a neon sign blinking “SUE US!  SUE US!  SUE US!”.   But the whole things was wonderful fun, and my son’s first professional inking paycheck.  So WOO HOO Nepotism Thursdays!

Ty the Guy


Hoverboy Fridays return, with another stunning find in the world of Hovercheology.  (Yes, I just made up a word, so that’s ten dollars you owe me, Mr. Webster’s Dictionary people. We shouldn’t be doing your work for you.)

This week, it’s sketches from the never-aired, never-filmed and never-paid for “Hoverboy Away!” Saturday Morning Cartoon show from 1993, theoretically produced by BUCKET OF GLASS studios.  They never got much further than these preliminary sketches by Jean Paul Rive Gauche before the plug was pulled on the project due to a misunderstanding.  A bad phone connection (from a fairly new form of mobile phone at the time) had caused a programmer at CBS to buy the show sight unseen believing it to be the animated adventures of LOVERBOY, a stadium rock band from Canada whose hits include “WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND” and “TURN ME LOOSE”.  When the CBS executive realized he had bought a show about the superhero created by the maniac who had shot up a shopping mall in Michigan just ten years previously, he ended his relationship with BUCKET OF GLASS immediately and found a studio that WAS willing to produce a show about Canadian stadium rockers who fight crime.  THAT show, “LOVERBOY vs THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK” was cancelled after two very low-rated episodes.

Little survives of the HOVERBOY AWAY! project beyond these few sketches, where clearly BUCKET OF GLASS hadn’t settled on a final look for Hoverboy’s costume.  We fans of Hoverboy can only sigh and wonder what “might have been” if they had actually aired some of this series…what would have been Hoverboy’s EIGHTH TV show.

Jean Paul would be better remembered by both the animation and the cartooning industry in general, had he not been struck by lightning mere hours after creating these sketches.    Another great illustrator lost to the “final gig”.

For more information about some of the Hoverboy shows that DID make it to the air…go to Hoverboy on screen at the Hoverboy Museum online.

Ty the Guy.


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ALL NEW Hoverboy Friday True Believers!

And on a Friday this week.  Damn.  I was unaware of the date or I wouldn’t have been so easily lured to the keyboard with a well placed cupcake.  I blame the wife, as I gave up believing in the cupcake fairy after so many prayers went ignored.  But since I’m here at the computer anyway, it’s time to unveil yet another almost forgotten Bucket Boy treasure to the breathless world of Hoverboy fandom.  Today it’s a brand new comic cover NEVER before seen online.

These covers are from issues no. # 7 and #8 from the nine issue run of Hoverboy and the Bucket Brigade (The Bell Comics adaptation of the equally short lived Bucket Brigade saturday morning cartoon series of the same name from the mid-sixties).

Cartoonist Klaus “Buddy” Bitteschwein (who wrote and drew for both the comic and TV series) is said to have spiraled into a depression in late 1968 when cancellation of the cartoon series was announced by the Dupont Network .

“He still had the comic series to work on, but it didn’t lift his spirits,” Bud’s wife, Olga, said in a 1996 Comic Readers News interview.  “Suddenly, all the  characters  were depressed.  They didn’t get out of death-traps like they used to.  At the time he was drawing these, my Klaus wouldn’t eat, and he started having long, complex grudges with the wild animals in our yard.  Raccoons, squirrels and such.  He would accuse them of all sorts of menacing behavior.”   Of note to fans was the toll this was taking on the Bucket Brigade itself.  In the original TV episodes, there were twelve members of The Brigade, along with “Nibbles” the slightly retarded fat kid who always had a chicken leg in his hand.   but by the end of issue #7, they were all dead, save for Nibbles and Hoverboy himself.  Issue #8 focuses primarily on an extended scene of grief and anger.  The story is one of the oddest scripts of the decade, wallowing in depression was unusual for comics at the time.  (The exception being both of  “Richie Rich’s Morbid Summer Specials” in ’71 and ’72).  I’ve never seen the cover for Hoverboy and the Bucket Brigade #9 (so I can’t be sure it was actually published), but according to Olga in her interview, it featured Hoverboy, in a soiled ox field at night, holding a gun to his bucket covered temple, and staring out at the reader, screaming “Aller es ist für nichts!” in big letters.  In the background, Nibbles fought off wolves in the muddy ground.  It was a pretty funny drawing if you don’t think too much about Klaus’ own suicide weeks later.  I mean, in context, it’s disturbing, but taken as a cover on it’s own merits, I still think it was funny.

If Hoverboy was better known, and more people collected him, I’m fairly confident issue #9 would be highly prized.  But as it stands, I’ve never seen one.  So…if anyone out there has a copy of #9, I will offer up two year’s membership in the Hoverboy Museum, absolutely free,  to anyone who can send me  a scan of the cover.

Hoverboy AWAY!

Ty the Guy.


Can’t say how excited I am about this, Hover-gang.  This stunning collectible (worth it’s weight in double unobtainium)  JUST arrived in the mail.  It was sent in to me by fellow Bucket Brother, Mr. Richard Fader of Ft. Lee, New Jersey, who said he found two copies of this coloring book in a local Goodwill store (the copy he kept is in MUCH better condition, natch, but who could blame him?).  Oddly enough, the copyright date on the coloring book is 1988, which ASTOUNDS me, as I had previously believed that no Hoverboy product came out after collapse of the “Fists and Buckets”  cereal in 1985.

(For years, I thought the cereal box to the left was the last Hover-based product available in America–this was after Hoverboy co-creator Bob Stark’s 12 victim shooting spree at the Northview Mall in1982, which understandably caused the public to turn away from the Battlin’ Bucket character.   Perhaps I was wrong…this is all detailed in an earlier ArtLand post here.)

The coloring book itself is filled with page after page of what it promises on the cover.  Images of demons and monsters fighting, with Hoverboy floating to the side, passively watching.  Clearly the Hoverboy figures are drawn by a different artist in every image.

Oh, and for those who’ve never been, the Hoverboy Museum is a treasure trove of this stuff.  Be sure to visit the comic rack and the many incarnations of Hoverboy on TV and the movies while you’re there.  Or use the hyperlinks above you savvy hackers.

Ty the Guy

Hoverboy Friday on Friday for a change!

Here’s this week’s dip into the Hoverboy wading pool with one of the oddest ripples that Hoverboy ever caused.

This box of cereal, from 1985, was the last  officially licensed Hoverboy product until the comic book revival in 2007.  The box art (painted by the great Dexter Munroe) was available  for only three months in ’85, and only in the American Southwest, and parts of Maine.  Hoverboy cereal was discontinued (after decades of success), because  polling  proved the  character was no longer popular following the 1982  shooting spree by Bucket-Boy co- creator, Bob Stark, at a Michigan shopping mall.  It’s a wonder this cereal lasted as long as it did.

The real tragedy came when America’s Best decided to repurpose the cereal shapes and box artwork with a new rising star in the world of sp0rts, basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

In their haste to get the new product to market, the usually professional AB Co. art department only changed the head and face on the box , leaving the unfortunate pistol in place.

As liberal as America was in the Eighties, they still weren’t willing to buy a cereal featuring a black man holding a gun in New Mexico (and parts of Maine).  The cereal sold very poorly, and eight people died as a direct result of seeing the box on shelves.  For the next decade, America’s Best  gave up on celebrity based breakfast foods and focused on toaster pastries and tropical juices.

It was their next, and final  foray into the lucrative world of celebricereals that ultimately closed the doors of one of the nation’s best known breakfast brands.

After years of keeping away from star based breakfasts, ABCC jumped in with both feet in May of 1994, once again bringing out the original “Buckets and Fists” cereal under a new name, trading on the enduring fame of well known movie star and sports hero, O.J. Simpson.

In what seemed like a stroke of excellent luck for the early morning foods giant, three weeks later, Mr. Simpson was arrested on suspicion of murder, causing sales of the cereal to be astoundingly strong for a month and a half, selling over a million boxes, until the factory was mysteriously set on fire by a large crowd on August 22, 1994.

For more of the fascinating world of Hoverboy, go to www.hoverboy.com and strap into your hover-chairs for the floating ride of your life.  As the old comics used to say “It’s Somewhat Fun!”.

Ty the Guy.  See you at the Toronto convention this weekend!

SOMETIMES, THE ROUGH…and another of the increasingly late Hoverboy Fridays!

Clearly, I’m mad, I tell you.  MAD.

batrobinadv sketch 11

I’m one of those guys who spend their lives liking the rough sketch better than the final art.  It’s a curse.   I have a fondness for the scribbled, eccentric, humanistic and unembarrassed linework of a rough sketch.  There’s a lovely connection to movement and thought in the first contact with the image to muscles and paper,  often softened unbearably by turning it into a final illustration.   As a professional drawer-boy, I’m always fighting between “cleaning it up” and “letting it live”.

The Batman sketch from an old, old Adventures cover, (which I just found in a box yesterday, and hence this post) is less than three inches high.  It’s drawn in pencil and a thick pentel marker which was clearly drying out, as the background becomes less dark to the right. But the sense of danger, the monster, and the expressions on everyone’s face works for me in a way the final doesn’t.

harvey pekar rough to finishMy Pekar’s AMERICAN SPLENDOR work last year did the same thing to to me.  I was going for a very sedate, “realistic” Curt Swan type of storytelling for Harvey, since that was the basic feel of this particular script…but the rough layouts had a Kirby-like energy to them, with a lively and playful sense of proportion that I wish had fit the story.

( for more Harvey online, click here)

Again, these layouts are about three inches tall, and the final art is fifteen inches high…so the movements spideytorch 2 1 roughof your hands vs. the movements of your shoulders are going to be different.

I just got through reading an issue of Marvel’s new “STRANGE TALES” comic, with folks like Peter Bagge, and James  Kochalka doing very indy looking work on Marvel super-heroes.  Astoundingly great fun, and some of the pages have the same feel as my rough pages do…before I clean myself up.

If only I hadn’t seen so much Harvey Kurtzman while growing up.  I could rid myself of this demon of liking the roughs.



hovermuppetHoverboy Fridays continue to wander the calendar, and we find one barging into Sunday.  I’m only making this rare exception to move Hoverboy Fridays from its regular spot on Tuesdays, to this weekend, because the most recent update is topical!  It has to do with Hoverboy’s very tenuous connection to Sesame Street, which celebrated it’s 40th, or 45th anniversary this week, I wasn’t paying enough attention when Wolf Blitzer mentioned it.

Go to the Hoverboy museum and read more about this astounding connection between Kermit the Frog and The Boy Who Hovers.

www.hoverboy.com (for those who don’t hyper link well).

Ty the Guy.  AWAAAY!


There are hundreds of items in the Hoverboy museum, but this is probably Hoverboy light platemy favorite, just for the sheer oddness of the darn thing.  According to Marcus Moore, curator of Hoverboy.com, this item was created back in the sixties by a company called “Nabrasco Novelties Ltd.” as a faceplate for a child’s bedroom.  But good god, I mean GOOD GOD, what were they thinking?   And to add insult to injury, it seems like the markings on the face plate say “Hover TOY” instead of Hoverboy, so it might even be an unlicensed product.

This bizarre item, as well as a host of others, can be found at the Hoverboy museum.  Follow the links and please enjoy the pop cultural landmark that was the Battlin’ Bucket of the 20th Century.



As one of the curators of the Hoverboy museum, it’s my weekly pleasure to unearth another piece of collectible fun featuring the “Floating Fighter of Crime”.  As regular readers know, Hoverboy was a somewhat popular superhero character, star of comics, radio shows and cartoons from the mid-thirties to early eighties, when, sadly, a video game inspired killing spree from one of his co-creators put an end to his fictional adventures.

NUDE COVER web sized

This week, it’s the very rare “Nude Cover” from the seventies that briefly  inspired a weird fad wherein nudists would wear buckets on their heads, to hide both their identity and their ability to see other naked people.  Only in America, huh?

I apologize for the condition of this scan, I’ve spent years looking for a copy in better condition, but this is my personal copy (well read since I was a teenager) and I can’t seem to find a better scan anywhere online, including the Grand Comics Database, which seems to have a bias against old Hoverboy comics, perhaps because of the tragic events of 1981, and the aforementioned killing spree.

To see more, visit the online Hoverboy museum at:  www.hoverboy.com