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HOVERBOY #83
"THE JUNGLE IS A JUNGLE"

August 1978

With the CBS Batman/Tarzan Adventures Hour a Saturday Morning hit in 1977, and with the popular Marvel Comics Tarzan series drawn by Silver Age master John Buscema, and with Richard (Rocky Horror) O'Brien's hip Tarzan musical "T-ZEE" playing on Broadway, and with the blockbuster film from England, "Carry On Up The Jungle" burning up the box office, and with nothing on television worth watching, the late Seventies were clearly in the middle of a Tarzan revival, and Vigilance Comics wasn't going to be left behind.

Starting with issue #83, Hoverboy transformed into a barely hidden imitation of the Jungle King. The story opens with Hoverboy on his way to Alaska. His plane encounters an Atlantic Typhoon and crashes. The impact gives Hoverboy the power to understand animal languages in the jungle he has crashed into. Soon The Boy Who Hovers helps his new

Savage Jungle Tales of Hoverboy 83

friends defeat the evil Gorilla Overlord, and in celebration our hero bends aluminum from the plane's wreckage to turn his animal allies into Hover-Chimp, Hover-Tiger, and Hover-Elephant. It's a fun story if you can overlook that a Hoverboy wouldn't need a plane, Typhoons are actually a Pacific Ocean phenomenon, the Congo is nowhere near Alaska, and kangaroos are Australian, not African. The Hoverboy-Tarzan trend lasted until #84 ( the next issue), when a massive lawsuit from Edgar Rice Burroughs' family lawyer found its way to the deliberately hard-to-locate offices of Vigilance Comics.

This issue pictured to the right was plaintiff's exhibit #1. The actual Tarzan logo on the cover made the case a foregone conclusion. Judge Rontarius J. Lewis decided it in eight minutes. Vigilance Comics immediately filed a motion for a mistrial, stating that the judge never stopped giggling once throughout the entire eight minutes, which their lawyer claimed was legally insulting to their defense. That motion was also laughed out of court.

The decision went against Vigilance to the tune of two million dollars, only $500 of which was ever paid to the Burroughs family. Tens of thousands was lost in lawyers fees, however, which Vigilance was forced to pay by the large men working for the law firm who came to collect it.

This embarrassing episode was another of the many nails driven into the Vigilance Comics coffin in the twilight of its publishing history.

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All images copyright Marcus Moore