Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This week in 1955: filming begins on the Vengeance Films Hoverboy action serial, "INVASION OF THE UNDERSEA ESKIMOS", directed by Lyle Ponce, the man who made the aquatic classics "THE THREE STOOGES MEET NEPTUNE" and "THE 60 FOOT MERMAID of PARTY BEACH".

The plot was admittedly a standard "Soviet-funded Eskimos sabotaging the Northern DEW Line radar stations and blowing up American submarines" kind of story, but this Hoverboy serial featured some of the most unusual underwater stunts ever attempted. The Eskimos traveled underwater with sleds pulled by trained stingrays, and used weapons made from live eels and piranha. The scene where Hoverboy fights the scuba bears is considered the finest underwear fighting bear footage ever filmed.

With so much of the budget tied up in expensive stunts and highly trained animals, costs were kept low by using sets and backdrops created for a Perry Como Christmas special, and interiors were shot in an Encino High School, primarily using their Olympic sized pool to double as the Arctic Ocean. At one point Hoverboy exclaims, "The rotten Snow-Commies have drawn black lines on the bottom of the sea to make it easy to infiltrate America's waters."

This week in 1955: filming ends on the ambitious "INVASION OF THE UNDERSEA ESKIMOS" movie serial. The relatively tight shooting schedule of only four days may explain the number of drownings among the stuntmen, actors, extras, caterers, production assistants, drivers, make-up artists, gaffers, grips, scriptwriters, lighting crew, cameramen, agents, innocent passers-by, and family members of the production team. The film claimed, truthfully, that no animals were injured during the filming of the movie, but it fails to mention the eight dogs and one hundred and thirty eight stingrays that were killed.

Eagle eyed viewers will notice the American Submarines have Swastikas in many shots, due to stock footage from 1947's "The Phantom Submarine" purchased for the submarine shots, and used carelessly.

FUN TRIVIA: All the Eskimos actors in the serial speak Chinese, and most of their dialogue translates into English as variations of the phrases, "What's going on?" , "Who are you people?", "Where is my family?", "Please let me leave…", etc.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Stay tuned this week for a preview of the next Hoverboy comic strip reprint.

And remember, to catch up on all past chapters of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE'S PAST, click HERE.

Friday, March 4, 2011


When people who collect rare comics say ‘rare’ they are referring to a scarcity of copies.  Perhaps it’s an old comic and therefore most issues have been lost, tossed or damaged.  Or perhaps or the original print run was very limited. 

These ‘rare’ comics become more coveted and valuable because of their scarcity.  Sometimes irregardless of the quality of the story. 

But Hoverboy Biannual is a comic book that is rare because of it’s print schedule.  It was the only ‘Biannual’ in comic history.  It only came out every second year.

The idea of having 24 months between issues came from an editor at Vengeance comics who overheard a conversation at a party during the 1956 Olympics.  Several of the party-goers expressed the opinion that it was a shame the Olympics were only once every four years.  But others pointed out that it made it that much more valuable and exciting because it was so highly anticipated.

Thus was born Hoverboy Biannual.  Issues featured tag lines like, “Worth the Excruciating Wait!”  “The Waiting Is Over… For Another Two Years”   The issue shown here features, “It’s That Once Every Two Years Kind of Excitement” which was actually used by Hoverboy co-creator Charles Nutt in his application for divorce, in which he claimed his wife had withheld sex from him. 

Like Nutt’s marriage, Hoverboy Biannual was a failure.  Both in terms of marketing and sales.  And the stories weren’t that great, considering they had two years to work on it.  The artwork though was great. Definitely worth having.  And the good news is, if you have the money, you don’t have to wait two years!  (Which is also something Nutt said after his divorce when he was arrested for soliciting an undercover police woman.)

One upbeat note, though it only ran six issues, the print schedule meant that Hoverboy lasted a decade, making it far and away the longest running Hoverboy title.