Wow! The first ever colour image I’ve ever seen of one of the HOVERBOY Pulp issues! Specifically issue #8!
I knew about the Vigilance Hoverboy Pulp series, but have never seen a colour photo of any issue, and only terrible black and white Xeroxes for #1 and #2, which I long ago lost. So this fairly intact copy of number #8 (sent in by Hoverboy fan Darrin Egan) is a breathtaking find.
Though it is hotly debated, I long ago reasoned that “The Hover-Boy” officially started life as a pulp hero, first appearing in the Vigilance Press series of the 1930s “Fictional Science Adventure”, since that’s the first place the name was ever used.
Charles Nutt wrote the four novellas featuring “The Hover Boy” before being fired by editor John Staff, and being forever banished from the Magnus Publishing Building in Fort Lee New Jersey, over what became known as the “fruit basket incident”.
Weeks later, when Nutt met up with Robert Stark (an illustrator with an admitted lack of skill for drawing faces), a natural partnership was formed and the more familiar comic book version of Hoverboy was created by the pair of them, for Somewhat Fun Comics in 1937.
But Hoverboy is technically a pulp character…and because of changing public support for certain political ideas, few fans ever knew that Hoverboy had his OWN monthly, eponymous pulp series for Vigilance Publishing starting in 1940. At least eight issues were published (so far as I know). This cover from the March 1941 issue, shows off the anti-Communist, but unfortunately pro-Nazi stance that was a feature for this little talked about corner of the Hoverboy world.
According to the PULP timeline/history published in Pulp Star-Con APA #32 (1978), these eight novelettes were written by a cousin of Charles Nutt’s named Johann Glossenshwein, writing under the name “Joseph Star”.
Johann was a fervent anti-communist and member of the Amerikadeutscher Bund (German-American citizens deeply committed to keeping America out of the war). Glossenshwein used the pulp series for his political and personal beliefs, focusing on the sneakiness of Russians, and the possibility of the Nazis becoming allies in America’s fight against the “sneaky Russians”.
These are the titles, and brief plot descriptions of the eight novels, according to the above mentioned pulp-APA from 1978.
#4 “HOVERBOY WOULD SURE TAKE A NAZI OVER A SNEAKY RUSSIAN ANY TIME”
American Bhundist forces work hand in hand with Hoverboy, as well as state and municipal governments, to root out Russians all across the American Southwest…German-Americans feature prominently as heroes and at the end, the States of Delaware and Kentucky have signed non-aggression treaties with Hitler.
#5 “HEY, WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT A NAZI IF THEY’RE CURRENTLY SQUABBLING WITH THE SNEAKY RUSSIANS IN EUROPE?” regularly considered the longest title of the run, this issues is not so much a novel as a series of essays discussing Hitler and the national socialists in a positive light. Hoverboy only shows up on the contents page and as a sort of “host” for the essays.
#7 “IN THE SHADOW OF EUROPE”
Hoverboy fights Russians all over Europe, kicking them out of the Balkans and helping the Germans fortify their army for Operation Barbarossa. It’s interesting to note that many important, strategic secrets about the Nazi build up to Barbarossa are revealed in this novel months in advance. But no one took it seriously.
#8 IN THE SHADOW OF LIBERTY
Continuing the story from #7 (and possibly #6) Hoverboy and the now pro-bundist government of America) fight a villain named The SNEAKY ONE-ARMED MONSTER of KIEV, who again kidnaps Hoverboy’s girl, Linda, and beheads her in front of a reconstructed Statue of Liberty.
That’s all the information I have on this series. I didn’t even have a colour image to show you until a fan sent in this copy. I’ve tried to look up Mr. Glossenshwein online, and other than the photograph I found of him on an FBI database of wartime spies, there’s little information about him.
That’s it for today. See you tomorrow for the second part of my HARVEY PEKAR tribute, this time with drawings!
IF YOU MISSED IT:
The first part of the Pekar tribute.
Last week’s HOVERBOY FRIDAY, where we discuss the Hoverboy cartoon series PUNCH FORCE FIVE.
And here’s the online HOVERBOY MUSEUM, where much of this nonsense is compiled.