the Books and Films of
Bomba the Jungle Boy
by Roy Rockwood

Bomba Bomba

Bomba the Jungle Boy is a series of adventure books produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate between 1926 and 1938 in a youthful imitation of the highly successful Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

There are 20 books in the series. The first ten are set in South America, where Bomba, who grew up in the jungle, tries to discover his origin. The second set of ten books shift the scene to Africa, where a slightly older Bomba has jungle adventures.

A common theme of the Bomba books is that Bomba, because he is white, has a soul that is awake, while his friends, the dark-skinned natives, have souls that are sleeping.

In 1949, Monogram Pictures brought Bomba to the screen with Johnny Sheffield starring in a series of twelve films. Sheffield was no stranger to jungle adventure, having portrayed the character Boy in the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller.

In 1962, WGN-TV repackaged the Bomba films as a prime time series called Zim Bomba that became a local ratings sensation. WGN executive Fred Silverman stated that "Zim" meant "Son of" in Swahili.

In 1967-68, DC Comics published a series of seven comic books based on the character.

The Books

  Bomba lived far back in the jungles of the Amazon with a half-demented naturalist who told the lad nothing of his past. The jungle boy was a lover of birds, and hunted animals with a bow and arrow and his trusty machete. He had a primitive education in some things, and his daring adventures will be followed with breathless interest by thousands.
Cupples & Leon advertisement

Published by Cupples & Leon between 1926 and 1938, this twenty volume series of jungle adventures followed the exploits of young Bomba through the jungles of South America and Africa in search of his parents.

The Cupples & Leon editions all used the same illustration for the dustjacket, only the title was different, and each had a unique frontispiece. Later editions had a new cover illustration, again the same for each volume.

The first ten titles were reprinted by Grosset & Dunlap during the early 1950's with new cover art and in the 1970's in picture cover (PC) format, again with new cover art.

Volumes 1-9 were reprinted by Clover Books in pictorial cover (PC) format in the late 1950's.

The Grosset & Dunlap and Clover books were issued without subtitles or illustrations.

The Grosset & Dunlap books had different pictures on the dust jacket of each title.

The Clover editions had no dust jackets but had picture covers reprinting the Grosset & Dunlap dust jacket art.

Foreign editions in German and Spanish (and possibly more) are known to exist.

Illustrators: Walter S. Rogers (1-6); Howard L. Hastings (7-11, 13-20); A. Suk (12)

Author: John W. Duffield (1-20)

Bomba Frontispiece
Bomba
1st C&L Art
Bomba
2nd C&L Art
Bomba
G&D 50s Art
Bomba
G&D 70s Art

Plot summaries by Steve Servello

01: Bomba the Jungle Boy or, The Old Naturalist's Secret - 1926

Bomba the Jungle Boy is about thirteen years old and has no memories of his parents. He has been raised by Cody Casson in a remote region of the Amazon Forest. Bomba yearns to discover who his parents are or were but Cody's mind is clouded with only an occasional moment of lucidity here and there.

One day, while roaming the Amazon jungle, Bomba meets the explorers Dorn and Gillis and in doing so, saves their entire camp from a savage jaguar attack. Promising to return one day, they leave gifts (including a pistol) and then head for the coast while Bomba soon runs into a party of dreaded headhunters from the distant Giant Cataract. After escaping their clutches initially, the jungle boy secures the friendship of a local tribe,the Araos, before racing back to Cody, to defend all he holds dear.

Combating snakes, a cayman, vultures, pumas and vampire bats, Bomba returns to the hut he shares with the old naturalist, Cody Casson and by trickery, courage and the stout friendship of his local animal friends, they defeat the marauders.

Cody, who experiences moments of lucidity, recalls the names "Laura" and "Bartow" and adds that Jojasta, the Medicine Man of the distant Moving Mountain, can shed some light on Bomba's parentage. It is to this terrible land that Bomba will go to next, in his quest for knowledge of his past and origins!

02: Bomba the Jungle Boy at the Moving Mountain or, The Mystery of the Cave of Fire - 1926

Bomba the Jungle Boy at the Moving Mountain recounts how Bomba once again defeats a marauding band of headhunters from the distant Giant Cataract. This time they are lead by Tocarara, the co-Chieftain and half brother of the wounded (by Bomba) Nascanora. The Medicine Man Ruspak is present again and is even forced by the Jungle Boy to cure a dying Cody Casson!

After the savages retreat to their old haunts, Bomba drops Cody off with Pipina the old Indian squaw and finally begins his journey to the Moving Mountain, where Jojasta the Medicine Man rules in a ruthless and cruel fashion. Along the way, he battles jaguars and snakes and rescues the Parkhursts, a family of explorers, from the headhunters.

Once Bomba arrives at the Moving Mountain, he saves the lives of Ashati and Neram, former slaves of the Medicine Man and he confronts Jojasta who verifies that Bomba does indeed look like Bartow but that if he wanted to learn more of him and Laura, he must undertake another journey, this time to Sobrinini's isle, the Isle of Snakes, ever so close to the Giant Cataract!

03: Bomba the Jungle Boy at the Giant Cataract or, Chief Nascanora and his Captives - 1927

Bomba pursues a dual purpose as he makes his way up the dread River of Death: to rescue Cody, Pipina, Hondura (Chief of the Araos), Pirah (Hondura's beloved daughter), Ashati and Neram from the headhunters of Nascanora and to seek out the Witch Sobrinini who holds sway over the Pilati Tribe on Snake Island. There, Bomba hopes to learn more of his ancestry.

The Jungle Boy succeeds in his rescue mission but only partially so in his quest for knowledge. Still, battles with jaguars, a venomous jaracara snake, wild peccaries and a tribe of mad apes, can't stop Bomba from battling ever on and by book's end, Jaguar Island beckons as his next stop on his journey to learn the truth, of his mysterious origins.

04: Bomba the Jungle Boy on Jaguar Island or, Adrift on the River of Mystery - 1927

In this, the fourth book chronicling the adventures of Bomba the Jungle Boy as he searches the Amazonian jungles for the truth to his mystery shrouded background, he once again confronts the dreaded headhunters from the Giant Cataract. This is the fourth time they've tasted defeat at Bomba's hands. But they do succeed in burning down the hut of Bomba's close friend, Pipina the squaw, who he rescues, but Cody Casson and Sobrinini wander off and there whereabouts remain unknown throughout this book.

With a heavy heart, Bomba after an intensive search for the pair, leaves Pipina with the Araos and treks to Jaguar Island, following up on the slim clue given him by Sobrinini when she ruled the Pilati on the Island of Snakes. Curiously, the trail takes him to areas Bomba had never explored but then ends up near the Giant Cataract and the Island of Snakes, only further up the same great river they are both on.

En route to Jaguar Island, Bomba is saved from a Puma attack by a nearby cave and Pololu saves him from a pair of Jaguars. Other attacks survived are from alligators/caymen and poisonous snakes.

Once he arrives on the island, Bomba is treated as a reluctant guest, in Japazy's house. The half-breed ruler is away in the Abandoned City at this time. As usual, destruction seems to follow the Jungle Boy and Jaguar Island sinks due to the fury of (another) volcano and so another land joins with the village of the headhunters at the Giant Cataract, Jojasta's temple at the Moving Mountain and Sobrinini being cast out of Snake Island.

One wonders why it is that everywhere Bomba wants to go is shrouded in mystery as lands of terror, yet the rulers of these lands couldn't have resided there for more than fourteen years? And do we ever really learn Jojasta's role in all of this? At book's end, Bomba starts out for the Abandoned City as Jaguar Island slides beneath the waves of the great river. The cover art depicts the scene from page 145 as a jaguar that had leaped over the ducking Bomba, is in turn attacked and killed by a waiting cayman.

05: Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Abandoned City or, A Treasure Ten Thousand Years Old - 1927

Bomba the Jungle Boy in the Abandoned City is actually a direct continuation of events related in the previous book, "Jaguar Island." Thus far (five books), this is the only such type of sequel. The island realm of Japazy the half breed has just sunk into the Great River and Bomba is trying to escape the fury of both the river and its still spewing (though underwater) volcano, Tamura.

Determined to continue on his quest to locate Japazy (whom Sobrinnini of Snake Island told the jungle boy to find), who was away on one of his trips to Ximotox (the abandoned city), Bomba saves the life of Gibo, the only surviving inhabitant of Jaguar Island, discounting Japazy and his party.

The abandoned city itself seems a bit contradictory, in terms of plausibility. It is located deep within Amazonia and has not even a remote connection (physically) to either the Incas to the West or the Mayans to the North. Yet this enormous and fabulously rich city of Ximitox exists and flourished over ten thousand years ago, or so Gibo relates.

After Bomba confronts Japazy, as Ximotox is destroyed (pages 196-203 yet another land visited by Bomba that destructs or incurs serious damage), the half breed acknowledges Casson (who is still missing in action from the last book), and Sobrinnini. But not Jojasta, specifically, whom Bomba did mention.

Well, Japazy falls to his doom and Bomba is not directed to anyone else for further information on his parents. In a switch, it is Japazy's diary (of sorts), that provides the opening into the next adventure of Bomba, On Terror Trail.

06: Bomba the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail or, The Mysterious Men from the Sky - 1928

Bomba the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail begins the second half of the Amazonian Cycle. The central cast has already been established, with the exception of Gonibobo and his tribe of cannibals, introduced here in Terror Trail.

The tale related here is a simple one but an exciting good read none the less. Bomba and Gibo are returning to the molocca of Hondura, having just recently witnessed the death of Japazy, the half-breed, on the outskirts of the Abandoned City.

The plot can be summed up as Bomba spotting his first airplane and later befriending its three occupants, Ramon, Carlos and Antonio, three Spanish explorers of the Amazonian Basin. A prolonged journey through an underground tunnel and a colopichi forest that threatens Gibo and Bomba with eternal sleep. Finally, captured by the cannibals of Gonibobo and prepared for a savage feast, Antonio, Gibo and Bomba escape, with the former leaving the Amazon and the latter two returning to Hondura's village.

And lastly, the mystery of Bomba's parents advances yet another step, as Cody Casson reads from the torn (by an unnamed cannibal, shortly after Bomba's capture. Here we discover that Bomba's father's name is Andrew Bartow, as opposed to just Bartow and Laura was indeed the mother of Bonnie Andy or Bonny for short. Sobrinini, an Italian opera singer (Laura followed in her footsteps), became their friend. Cody Casson was (still is) Laura's uncle. All was well until ... Here the story from the torn book (written in Greek) ends, due to the ripped out pages. So we don't know why or how Bomba (Bonny), Cody and Sobrinini ended up in the Amazon and further, what roles Jojasta and Japazy played in this. More to follow in The Swamp of Death.

07: Bomba the Jungle Boy in the Swamp of Death or, The Sacred Alligators of Abarago - 1929

I have previously named the first ten Bomba the Jungle Boy books as the Amazonian Cycle, due obviously to the locale where all of the action takes place. In a further division, I have bunched together the first five stories because each one involves a journey by Bomba to a land where people from his distant past ruled over local native tribes: Jojasta the Medicine Man at his temple on the Moving Mountain, Sobrinini on her Island of Snakes and Japazy the half breed of Jaguar Island and the Abandoned City. During this mini-cycle, the headhunters of the Giant Cataract acted as the enemy of all.

But with the advent of Terror Trail and for at least two books after, Bomba has no more people to run down but must now concentrate on learning more from the memory-challenged Cody Casson and Sobrinini. To that end, journeys to gain medicine and knowledge to help the pair of old friends regain their memory of Bomba's heritage. White explorers and cannibals combine to help and dog the Jungle Boys' efforts.

In The Swamp of Death, we find yet another tribe of cannibals, those of Molotak-Aya and his Abaragos. Bomba describes them thusly: "Bomba has fought with the headhunters. They are evil men. Bomba has fought the cannibals of Goninbobos. They too are evil men. Bomba has never met the Abaragos, but he has heard they are the worst of all."

Curiously, neither the headhunters of the Giant Cataract or the cannibals of Terror Trail have a tribal name as do the Araos and Abaragos. And all four tribes seem to have avoided warring on one another though the headhunters have attacked the Araos on several occasions.

Before running into Dr. Pennfield, Bomba was on his way back to Terror Trail to find the ripped out pages to the book he had grabbed from Japazy, just outside the Abandoned City. But now it is to the Swamp of Death that Bomba must go, to collect flowers from the plant of death. Dr. Pennfield Yarrow, Mark Richardson and David Leeds join the expedition comprised of a contingent of Araos as well as Ashati, Neram and Gibo.

Despite being captured by the cannibals and attacked by the swamp's sacred alligators, Bomba comes through with the needed flowers and the expedition returns in triumph to the maloca of Hondura. It is for the future to say whether or not the medicinal properties of the flowers of death will unlock the doors that hold the memories of Bomba's infancy.

08: Bomba the Jungle Boy Among the Slaves or, Daring Adventures in the Valley of Skulls - 1929

Bomba is out hunting soon after his return to the moluca of the Araos from the Swamp of Death. There, he had acquired medication from a rare flower that was slowly helping Cody Casson and Sobrinini regain their memories about Bomba's origins. It will work but not in time for this volume of Bomba's Amazon adventures.

The action never slackens. While hunting, Bomba is attacked and chased by the headhunters of the Giant Cataract. Both Nascanora and Ruspak (the Medicine Man)accompany this band and Bomba is fortunate to find (an inevitable) cave with a secret entrance to escape capture in. But this encounter is only the tip of the tropical ice berg, because it is soon found out that the Giant Cataract and Swamp of Death are about to unite in an assault on the molocca of Honduras. What? No cannibals from Terror Trail?

Awaiting the attack, Sobrinini predicts Bomba will find his father, and yet not. This, along with her vision of the headhunters and Abaragos reveal she has true insight to the future.

It appears that two such war-like tribes can't stay in alliance too long and soon, the Abaragos return to their swamp, leaving the assault to the headhunters. Bomba handles the village's defense and when Nascanora attacks, it is with a decisive defeat, yet again!

Fearing the worst, Chief Hondura had sent his daughter Pirah to safety with the friendly Mantanas tribe, along with Gibo, Ashati, Neram and Lodo. When Bomba goes to retrieve Pirah after the Araos victory, he stumbles across Lodo returning with a tale of ambush and capture by warriors from the Valley of Skulls, the Araks. Naturally, Bomba travels to this forbidden land to rescue Pirah and his friends.

Uncharacteristically negligent, Bomba is captured by the Araks, who guard the entrance to the Valley of Skulls. In their village, Bomba is interrogated by the half-breed Tom Paul and ultimately transported into the valley where the Jungle Boy meets Ashati, Neram and Gibo, plus the valley's master, The Boss, Don Mendonza. The Boss pretends to be Bomba's father, based on the info the Jungle Boy had passed along to Tom Paul. Finally, Bomba realizes the fraud being perpetuated and arranges the escape of himself, his three friends, Pirah and the slaves of the valley.

The Araks seek them out but when Tom Paul and Don Mendonza stumble into quicksand, they are quickly left to their fate by the Araks who discontinue their pursuit of the escaped captives and slaves. All's well for now, until Bomba's and Gibo's journey along the Underground River!

09: Bomba the Jungle Boy on the Underground River or, The Cave of Bottomless Pits - 1930

The tale begins with Bomba, Gibo, Sobrinin and Neram on their way to the Underground River, following the Witch of Snake Island's instructions. For along its route lies a buried chest with specific information on Bomba's early childhood and how he ended up with Cody Casson deep within the bowels of the Amazon jungle.

Following a devastating jaguar attack, Neram, Bomba's old friend from his visit to the temple of Jojasta the Medicine Man of the Moving Mountain, is injured and must return to the moloca of Honduras. Sobrinini too is injured, but fatally so. Before she dies though, she regales Bomba (and Gibo) with more information on the Jungle Boy and then performs an opera that rivaled those before the crown heads of Europe. Her death has remained imbedded in my mind as among the best writing in the juvenile series genre.

Sobrinini reveals in her last moments of lucidity that Bomba's mother is Laura and his father Bartow. Bartow was a painter known all over America and Europe while Laura was an opera singer and friend of Sobrinini. Japazy stole a painting of Laura by (Andrew) Bartow and it is that one which Bomba saved from the drowning of Jaguar Island. Japazy (the half breed) had lusted after Laura and asked her to run away with him. She rebuffed his advances and alerted Andrew who challenged him to a duel in which Japazy was wounded but not fatally so. Soon, he fled for refuge in South America.

Meanwhile, the opera company to which Laura and Sobrinini belonged journeyed to Buenos Aires and then Rio de Janeiro on their current tour. There, they and Andrew befriended the naturalist Cody Casson. Japazy kidnapped Bomba (Bonny) right out of the arms of his nurse and fled with the infant into the Amazon jungle. Though his parents offered great rewards and put the police to work, no word was ever heard.

Cody was deep in the jungle when he stumbled upon Japazy and Bonny. This was before his reign on Jaguar Island and he lived in a cabin. There, Cody followed him and knocked him out, fleeing further inland with Bomba. Native Indian warfare prevented Cody from seeking the coast and Bomba's parents until finally, one day his aged musket exploded while fending off the attack of an anaconda, thus depriving the naturalist of his memory and much strength. Sobrinini ends her recitation stating that Bartow and Laura are still alive.

After many adventures, Gibo and Bomba literally stumble into a deep and lengthy subterranean cavern through which the aptly named Underground River flowed. The action continues unabated as oddly enough, jaguars and anacondas find their way down but to attack what, I don't know.

One of my favorite scenes is when the two warrior/explorers are caught in a flood and thankfully discover a series of stair-like shelves leading above the tunnel floor alongside which the river runs. Slowly, step by step, Bomba and Gibo climb the stairs as the relentless waters do likewise. Eventually they reach the top step and the water continues to pursue them rising to their knees before finally cresting and beginning a slow retreat. But the action doesn't end there as there is an anaconda to contend with before the two can move on.

The two do find the buried chest and lo, it is not underground but alongside the river after it flowed out of the cavern. It's name was still the Underground River. Left unanswered was how Sobrinini discovered this isolated spot and physically buried the chest. In fact, just why she was in the jungle at all has yet to be satisfactorily explained.

Sadly, Polulu has aged in recent books and though he did help save Bomba from the attack of jaguars, he needed help in return. By book's end, Bomba and Gibo begin the return trip to the moluca of Hondura where hopefully, Cody Casson can sort through the chest and reveal the final details of Bomba's life.

The Amazonian Cycle comes to an awesome conclusion with Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers.

10: Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers or, A Wonderful Revelation - 1930

Gibo and Bomba are returning to the molocca of Hondura, after their adventures on the Underground River during which Sobrinini died in glorious fashion. The pair carry the contents of Sobrinini's chest they had uncovered along the river's bank, which will reveal most of the secrets of Bomba's past to the recovering Cody Casson. But this becomes a moot point as you shall see.

Escaping the dangers of a gale (complete with flood), savage animal attacks (of the usual assortment: jaguar, puma, anaconda , alligator, boa and cooanardi) and the inevitable head-hunters, Bomba and Gibo finally make it back to the molocca along with three explorers they had rescued en route.

One of the three lost explorers is Andrew Bartow, father of Bomba (Bonny), but he is unconscious for the most part and doesn't realize that his fourteen year hunt for his kidnapped son is over. But Bomba knows, yet must await his father's recovery before their reunion can be complete. But then Nascanora and his head-hunters attack in there fiercest assault ever. They come close to overwhelming the Araos but Bomba turns the tide and the invaders from the Giant Cataract are decimated, almost to extinction, their power broken for generations. Even the head-hunters leadership is destroyed, with the deaths of Co-Chieftains Nascanora and Tocarora and the Medicine Men Ruspak and Ganyuk.

To top it all off, Bomba's mother, Laura, is contacted by Andrew's two fellow explorers, and arrives at the molocca of Hondura on the penultimate page. Yea, that scene prompted a tear or two...

By book's end, the family, with Cody and Gibo, prepare to leave for Rio de Janiero and then home in America. All is well and seemingly, the series is over but Bonny's last utterances are a hint of the adventures in Africa and Asia to come: "But some day the jungle will see me again. It is life to me. I cannot live without it."

Next up, New York City and Africa as Bomba journeys to a "strange land," but does the author mean America or Africa in the title? Stay tuned and decide for yourself!

11: Bomba the Jungle Boy in a Strange Land or, Facing the Unknown - 1930

At the conclusion of the ten volume "Amazonian Cycle", Bomba and his parents along with Cody and Gibo were en route to New York City. To Bomba and Gibo, this was truly a strange land but events were playing out that would lead both to an even stranger land, Equatorial Africa.

After almost slaughtering an elephant in a zoo within a jungle-like park, Bomba and his mother Laura, learn that Andrew Bartow has been captured by cannibals while on a painting expedition in the Congo's relatively unexplored interior. Most of the rest of the expedition were killed and presumably eaten. Gibo and Bomba take a steamer to Mombassa and via Nairobi, begin their rescue expedition. Of note, Wafi the Zulu is in charge of the natives in the party. He and Gibo will be constantly fawning for Bomba's approval throughout the six book African Cycle and the concluding four book South Asian/Indian Ocean Cycle.

Bomba has not lost his touch in mortal combat with savage predators as he single handedly defeats a shark, python and a maned lion during his adventures on his way to and in Africa's darkest interior.

The rescue expedition faces a disastrous trip down a river in torrent and is captured by savage tribes (including one of cannibals but not the "right" ones), on a regular basis but Bomba always finds a way to free them and continue on their quest. After finding evidence of his father's point of capture, his skinning knife, Bomba pushes on with redoubled enthusiasm, after sending a progress report to his mother via Nairobi.

But just as the Jungle Boy feels he is closing in on the cannibal tribe that is holding Andrew Bartow in captivity, he runs into the real power in this section of the jungle, the pygmies. He realizes he must find a way to deal with these fierce warriors if his expedition is to continue. How this is accomplished will be seen in the next volume aptly titled Bomba the Jungle Boys Among the Pygmies.

12: Bomba the Jungle Boy Among the Pygmies or, Battling with Stealthy Foes - 1931

As Bomba the Jungle Boy Among the Pygmies begins, our hero, along with faithful Gibo and Wafi have been deserted by their safari, due to their fear of the Pygmies, at the edge of whose land they are now situated.

Disappointed but not daunted, the trio push on, though with trepidation as the pygmies are justly famed for their death dealing from the shadowy jungle depths. Fortunately, Bomba is able to win the friendship of the Red (haired) Pygmies by saving the nephew of their chief from the ravages of a rogue baboon. Azande is the Chief while Momku is the tribe's Medicine Man.

After Bomba recovers from his serious injuries from the baboon, he leads a war party against the Black (haired) Pygmies who have kidnapped the Red Queen Yagara. After several fierce encounters and with the help of a tribe of baboons, the rescue is made and the grateful Reds agree to continue on toward the land of the (still unnamed) cannibals, to assist Bomba in his efforts to free his imprisoned father.

But first, the land of Wonga, inhabited by mighty warrior-amazons must be traversed. With the help of a horde of rats, the Red Pygmies fight and break free to escape the land of Wonga and draw ever nearer to the cannibals.

Another tribe of Reds under the leadership of Emanji, joins Azande's tribe and reports a visual of Andrew Bartow as a captive of the nearby cannibals. The savages are ensconced on the far side of the aptly named Mountain of Fire but Bomba and the Red Pygmies must await the end of the rainy season before advancing around the mountain. And wait Bomba does but with great anxiety as to his father's fate.

13: Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Cannibals or, Winning Against Native Dangers - 1931

Bomba, Wafi, Gibo and the two tribes of Red Pygmies are stymied by two forces of nature in their endeavor to reach the village of the cannibals holding Andrew Bartow captive: the eruption of Fire Mountain and the onslaught of the rainy season.

The pygmies are wavering though as lava continues to flow and the torrents of rain continue unabated. Finally, a huge man-eating crocodile, thought to be a demon, breaks there will and they regretfully abandon Bomba, even as he traps and kills the river demon.

While on a scouting mission, our trio of heroes experience yet another major eruption of the Fire Mountain and they take refuge in a cave and thereby entrapped. Many adventures follow as they explore the extensive tunnel system and eventually emerge once more into the sunlight.

Bomba makes friends with Primo and his tribe of chimps, thus enlisting allies to somewhat compensate for the pygmy desertion. Shortly after, Bomba and his comrades are captured by a party of cannibals, lead by their evil chieftain Bungawayo, close allies of the tribe that holds Bomba's father captive.

Upon arrival at the head village of the cannibals, Azande of the Red Pygmies returns and his tribe assaults the cannibals, who along with Bomba, Gibo and Wafi are soon on the defensive due to an influx of cannibals pouring in from outlying villages. But them, Primo and his tribe enter the fray and turn the tide, with Bomba slaying Bungawayo.

Even as victory is ensured, Bomba is felled by the retreating cannibals and just as the blackness envelops him, he espies his father being hustled away by the defeated man-eaters. More determined than ever, Bomba continues his relentless quest in the next volume as the Painted Hunters join to erase the power of the hated cannibals for generations to come!

14: Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Painted Hunters or, A Long Search Rewarded - 1932

Bomba, Gibo, Wafi and the Red Pygmies await the end of the rainy season so they could then again attack the newly established cannibal village on the far side of Fire Mountain, where Andrew Bartow is being help captive.

While waiting, Bomba slays a lion and gains the admiration and later, friendship of the Painted Hunters. They too are enemies of the cannibals.

Lowanda, the Chief of the Hunters, and Bomba become blood brothers. No easy task as our hero must spend three days and nights in clearing, armed with only a spear. During this time, Bomba combats a black panther and a pack of wild dogs. Additionally, he drives off a leopard and a rhino.

Though the Red Pygmies and Painted Hunters are allies, the former depart for their distant village, as they have suffered losses against the Black Pygmies and cannibals and in general, they miss their women and children. This leaves only the Painted Hunters to join Bomba and his two comrades for the upcoming attack on the cannibal village. This happens soon but not before battles with a large pride of lions, an elephant and a crocodile.

Herding the remnant of the lions into attacking the village, the Painted Hunters follow and what a battle royal ensues! Thoroughly outmanned, the Hunters, with plenty of leadership from Bomba, Wafi and Gibo, ultimately win the day and Andrew Bartow is rescued, barely in the nick of time.

Next up, Bomba and party take leave of the Painted Hunters and head towards the coast of the Indian Ocean. But in order to get there, there are as many dangers to overcome as there were in reaching the cannibal village. In fact, their return journey will be fraught with danger, including the normal assortment of savage beasts, more savage tribesmen and even River Demons!

15: Bomba the Jungle Boy and the River Demons or, Outwitting the Savage Medicine Man - 1932

As seen in "The Painted Hunters," Bomba has finally rescued his father, Andrew Bartow from the cannibals.. Together with Wafi, Gibo and a contingent of savage Painted Hunters, led by Lowando their chief, the party has started making their way to Mombassa on the coast. But fate intervenes and the jungles of central Africa are filled with dangers, such as savage beasts, barbaric native tribesmen and even a River Demon! All must be conquered if they hope to ever see the Indian Ocean. Let's not forget Mother Nature as a tornado rips through the party and lives are lost. The superstitious Painted Hunters are sure this storm was a sign from the gods to turn back and so they do, except for Lowando, Bomba's blood brother.

Bereft of the protection afforded by the war-like Painted Hunters, Bomba and his comrades soon fall prey to the tribe of Chief Malunda. Unfortunately, the real power in this tribe was held by the Medicine Man, Golubo. It is he who recently initiated the practice of human sacrifice to appease the River Demon, supplanting the Good Spirits of the River, as they were known.

It is Andrew Bartow who finally recognizes Golubo as a fraud and a white one at that. He is a cruel fugitive from justice and he is unmasked by the combined wit and might of Bomba and Chief Malunda. Golubo pays the price of past sins and is eaten by a river demon of sorts. Raloma is chosen as the new Medicine Man and the return of the old ways begins.

By book's end, Bomba, Lowando, Andrew, Wafi and Gibo resume their long and hazardous trek to the coast. I'm sure that these intrepid warriors will not be shocked when they come into conflict with a hostile chieftain!

16: Bomba the Jungle Boy and the Hostile Chieftain or, A Hazardous Trek to the Sea - 1934

With the departure of Lowando of the Painted Hunters, the rest of Bomba's party resume their trek to the sea. They are provided guides from the friendly village of Molunda and Salki, is the last to desert. This is due to the close proximity to the Sitanda tribe, ruled by Mabogi, the hostile chieftain. In addition to being hostile to any not of his tribe, he delights in torturing his captives. In this, he is aided by Mangu the Medicine Man.

Bomba, Wafi, Andrew and Gibo must pass through the domain of the Sitanda and are guided by Tobo of the Mamonda tribe.

Soon, the party witnesses the emergency landing of a plane containing Jack Case and Stan Kopper. A friendship is born and it bears fruit in a time of great need. That need is due to the captivity of the entire party and their impending torture.

A secret cave behind an enchanting waterfall add to the tale and with some help from the sky, the Sitanda are subdued and Mabogi brought to justice for his villainy. The party complete their long trek to the sea and with Tobo as well, embark from Mombassa on "The Pamela." for home, but not as quickly or danger-free as they'd like.

17: Bomba the Jungle Boy Trapped by the Cyclone or, Shipwrecked on the Swirling Seas - 1935

Just when the future of Bomba's party looked bright, as they leave Mombassa en route to New York City via London, disaster strikes! It turns out the Andrew Bartow made a poor choice of vessel for the trip to England. The "Pamela" was ill-captained by Dondy and ultimately, his vessel sinks during an Indian Ocean cyclone.

While most crew members and passengers abandon ship, Bomba and his party stay as they would not abandon Wafi, Gibo and Tobo, due to their being people of color. The ship does not sink immediately but it is a derelict, floating at fickle mercy of the currents. Eventually, an island is sighted but is populated by savage natives, led by a notorious Portuguese pirate. Escape is made after a battle that tests the limits of Bomba and his comrades.

Another landing is made on a volcanic island which erupts as soon as they set foot. Soon after the "Pamela" goes to her watery grave and the survivors continue on in a make-shift raft. They are fortunate enough to be picked up by Captain Barthwick of the "Rambler" but are soon set ashore on a deserted island due to seamen superstition and the cheating by Bresser, the gambler, of said sailors. A shame he survived the wreck of the 'Pamela!"

Surviving a cave-in with sea waters flooding in, Bomba, Wafi, Tobo, Andrew, Gibi, Bresser and Lester Group (another survivor of the "Pamela") are picked up by Captain Moreland, commander of the British vessel the "Condor." It's destination: London!

Brasser is put in the brig due to outstanding warrants on blackmail. Radio messages are exchanged with Laura Bartow and all seems well, again. But the reader knows better, as the Indian Ocean is relentless in allowing Bomba and his party escape its insidious clutches!

18: Bomba the Jungle Boy in the Land of Burning Lava or, Outwitting Superstitious Natives - 1936

When last we heard of Bomba, Wafi, Gibo and Andrew Bartow, they were safely aboard the British Government ship "Condor," en route to London where Laura Bartow eagerly awaited. And then it happens, Captain Moreland is instructed by the Admiralty Headquarters to abort returning to London and to undergo a secret mission elsewhere. Only crew members can remain on board and all others must disembark at the nearest port. This happens to be the island of Javlon, a British possession located in the Indian Ocean, probably near the sub-continent itself.

The other survivors of the "Pamela"," Tobo, Peabody, Groop and Brasser, almost immediately made way to London, but the others could not leave due to Andrew Bartow's serious illness.

While waiting for another ship to pick them up for the continuation of their ill-fated journey to London, adventures abound, for all. Bomba's father remains seriously ill and in the quest to gather the flower that will cure him, Bomba, Gibo and Wafi enter the jungled interior and battle the savage Orinko tribe lead by the even more cruel and aptly named, Chief Mong the Terrible.

Add an enormous man-eating tiger to the mix and a search for a young kidnapped English lady (Laura Waring), and we have enough action to satisfy any fan of Bomba the Jungle Boy.

By adventure's end, Javlon is almost destroyed by volcanic eruptions and only in the nick of time do all members of Bomba's party reach a vessel in the harbor of Canoa, the chief port of the island. Lo and behold, Laura Bartow is aboard for a joyous reunion. Plans are made for the final leg of the journey to London but "greedy eyes, unscrupulous eyes are aware of the wealth they carry with them, which will surely cause more exciting adventures in the Perilous Kingdom.

19: Bomba the Jungle Boy in the Perilous Kingdom or, Braving Strange Hazards - 1937

As Bomba, Wafi, Andrew Bartow, Laura Bartow, Gibo and Laura Waring depart the devastated city of Canoa, en route to England, our hero is placed under house arrest as a suspect in the disappearance and presumed murder of Jipp, the ship's Steward.

During one of the numerous storms that plague the Indian Ocean, Bomba, Wafi and Gibo are swept overboard and separated from the rest of the party on Captain Larson's ship. Adrift upon the currents, they eventually board the "Rover," seemingly a "ghost ship." The lone survivor is Herbert Hinsdale who joins his rescuers who finally are grounded on a desert island, which turns out not to be deserted as Bomba and his comrades are soon attacked, captured and then escaped from the savage tribe.

Back on the derelict "Rover," the party soon finds its way to Danakiland where they join up with Chieftain Malu and his Emperor, Shona Tongu, in the defense of their perilous kingdom from European colonizers. Though a brave fight is made, the primitive weapons of the kingdom are no match for the tanks and superior fire arms of the invaders.

The escape is made from Danakiland and as they depart, Bomba promises Hinsdale that he will help hunt for the other survivors of the "Rover." This quest is fraught with adventure that culminates in a steaming grotto, elsewhere in the Indian Ocean.

20: Bomba the Jungle Boy in the Steaming Grotto or, Victorious Through Flame and Fury - 1938

The occupants of the derelict ship the "Rover" are picked up by Captain Nord, of the Norwegian ship the "Astrid." He agrees to help Bomba, Herbert Hinsdale, Gibo and Wafi, locate and rescue the survivors of the "Rover." Two stowaways are discovered, a lovable baby hyena and Bill Douglas, a man that was mentally unstable, often mumbling about the "caves of steam."

Landfall is made and while some of the party are ashore, gathering much needed supplies, a tsunami hits, causing turmoil both on land at on the "Astrid." Many adventures ensue, among them, battles with "serpent beasts," an unholy combination of reptile and savage feline.

Hinsdale's companions are found and the steaming grotto's secret and wealth are revealed. All are reunited aboard the "Astrid" and Bomba feels confident he will son be reunited with his parents in a port on the way to London. As this is how the twentieth and last Bomba book ends, we must assume that this reuniting does take place and eventually they will return to New York City, though this will be Wafi's first time. And surely, Bomba will long for a return to the jungle, any jungle...


 

50s G&D Cover Art

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Bomba Grosset & Dunlap Cover Art
I got this email recently (reproduced with permission):
I thought you might like to know that the dust jacket art on the 1950s Grosset & Dunlap BOMBA editions is the work of Carl V. Burger.
I collected these as a boy in high school when they first hit the book store and was so impressed with the d/j art that I set out to find out who the artist was. Eventually I discovered his identity and was able to purchase one of the original paintings: BOMBA THE JUNGLE BOY AND THE UNDERGROUND RIVER.
Best wishes,
Robert R. Barrett

Foreign Editions

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The Comics

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DC Comics - Seven issues from October 1967 to October 1968.
Written by George Kashdan and Denny O`Neil, drawn by Leo Sommers and Jack Sparling.

The Films

Bomba Movie Poster
Pembroke Productions
Released by Monogram Pictures (aka Allied Artists)
All films directed by Ford Beebe

Bomba Movie Poster 1. Bomba The Jungle Boy (1949 - 70 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Peggy Ann Garner, Onslow Stevens, Charles Irwin, Smoki Whitfield, Martin Wilkins.

George Harland and his daughter Patricia are in the African jungle to photograph animals. They discover something altogether different when they find a young white boy living there. When Patricia is separated from her father, she is rescued by Bomba who it turns out, has been living there since the age of 2. They have a number of adventures together with Patricia trying to explain to Bomba about the outside world, something he has difficulty imagining. They come to the rescue of her father and the rest when they are attacked by unfriendly tribesmen.

Bomba Movie Poster 2. Bomba On Panther Island (1949 - 76 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Allene Roberts, Lita Baron, Harry Lewis, Charles Irwin, Smoki Whitfield.

A man-eating black panther is on the loose and Bomba tries to track it down. He comes across brother and sister Robert and Judy Maitland who are trying to build an agricultural station. The local workmen are superstitious and think the Maitlands housemaid Losana has the spirit of a panther. They're also leery of Bomba and refuse to work until he goes away. Robert's inexperience leads him to set a controlled fire to get rid of the under-brush but it nearly leads to disaster. For Bomba, it leads to an encounter with the panther.

Bomba Movie Poster 3. The Lost Volcano (1950 - 67 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Donald Woods, Marjorie Lord, John Ridgely, Robert Lewis, Elena Verdugo, Don C. Harvey, Grandon Rhodes, Tommy Ivo.

Hunting guides have kidnapped David and will force him to lead them to a lost city hidden in the center of an active volcano. Bomba the Jungle Boy arrives to rescue David just as the volcano is about to erupt.

Bomba Movie Poster 4. The Hidden City (1950 - 71 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Sue England, Paul Guilfoyle, Damian O'Flynn, Leon Belasco, Charles La Torre, Smoki Whitfield.

Nature photographer Dennis Johnson is astounded to see a young white boy swinging through the jungle. His host, Hassan Emir of the Hidden City, tells him the continent is full of of stories of children being raised by wild animals. The Emir sends out his henchman to kill Bomba. Seriously wounded, Bomba floats down the river on a fallen tree and is rescued by a village girl, Leah. When he learns that Leah is a princess whose father was overthrown by Hassan, Bomba sets out to help her reclaim her title. First Bomba movie to be filmed outdoors.

Bomba Movie Poster 5. The Lion Hunters (1951 - 75 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Morris Ankrum, Ann B. Todd, Douglas Kennedy, Smoki Whitfield, Robert Davis, Woody Strode.

Bomba the Jungle Boy finds a wounded lion dying a slow and painful death, he finds a group on safari trapping lions for sale to zoos, which were unable to obtain such animals during the war. Tom Forbes, accompanied by his daughter Jean, is traveling downstream to join his business partner Marty Martin, who has already captured several beasts for shipment. As Bomba sets out to release the animals as soon as they are captured, he gains an ally in Jean Forbes whom he convinces the capturing and display of animals is wrong. Martin is bent on succeeding however, even if it means killing the Jungle Boy.

Bomba Movie Poster 6. Elephant Stampede (1951 - 71 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Donna Martell, John Kellog, Edith Evanson, Martin Wilkins, Myron Healey, Leonard Mudie, Guy Kingsford.

Opens in a jungle village where a white woman, Miss Banks, is teaching the natives English in a makeshift classroom and her aide, Lola, is teaching a white boy, Bomba the Jungle Boy, the alphabet in an adjacent makeshift jungle. This paradise is soon lost when a couple of white hunters invade the area, an elephant sanctuary, with the intentions of killing a lot of elephants for their highly-profitable tusks. Their first order of business is to kill their guide and then go after the elephants.
A new Commissioner Barnes shows up and he appears in all the adventures that follow.

Bomba Movie Poster 7. African Treasure (1952 - 70 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Laurette Luez, Lyle Talbot, Arthur Space, Lane Bradford, Martin Garralaga, Smoki Whitfield, Leonard Mudie.

Andy Barnes gets word by short wave that two of the three geologists who passed through his district some weeks before were known diamond smugglers, and that nothing since has been heard of the trio. And he also learns that a hunter, Pat Gilroy , who has just arrived at the compound is really an escaped convict named Roy DeHaven. Bomba the Jungle Boy He is summoned via the jungle drum wireless-telegraph, and Barnes asks Bomba to locate Gatesby, the geologist who was with Greg and Hardy. Bomba finds the body of Gatesby but he also finds Lita Sebastian who is also out in the jungle looking for her father. Through the help of jungle drums and his animal friends, Bomba leads Lita to where her father, and a large number of natives, are being held as slaves by Greg and Hardy, who have found diamonds in the crater of an extinct volcano, known locally as The Mountain of Diamonds. Bomba has a lot of work to do before he can restore order to this jungle.

Bomba Movie Poster 8. Bomba And The Jungle Girl (1952 - 70 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Karen Sharpe, Walter Sande, Suzette Harbin, Martin Wilkins, Morris Buchanan, Leonard Mudie, Don Blackman.

Bomba decides he wants to know more about his parents and sets out to find out what happened to them. He learns they were in contact with a tribe that he knows little about but the tribal chief and his daughter are evasive and clearly hiding something. One of the tribesman befriends him however and tells him that the current chief is not the hereditary leader of the tribe and was behind the death of Bomba's parents. They set out to find their graves.

Bomba Movie Poster 9. Safari Drums (1953 - 71 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Douglas Kennedy, Barbara Bestar, Paul Marion, Russ Conway, Emory Parnell, Smoki Whitfield, Leonard Mudie.

A bunch of movie makers arrive in Africa to make a film about jungle wildlife. One of their party kills a geologist and Bomba the Jungle Boy must find out whodunnit. He does, while helping them complete their movie. A lion finishes off the culprit.

Bomba Movie Poster 10. The Golden Idol (1954 - 71 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Anne Kimbell, Paul Guilfoyle, Leonard Mudie, Smoki Whitfield, Lane Bradford, Rick Vallin.

The Lost Idol of Watusi, a valuable archaeological treasure, has come into the hands of Bomba. Murderous Arabian chieftain Ali Ben Mamoud hires the equally unscrupulous soldier of fortune Joe Hawkins to get the treasure. British museum scientist Karen Marsh, Commissioner Barnes, his number one boy Eli and Ezekiel are also seeking the Idol. Hawkins and his native henchman, Gomo, double-cross Mamoud and set out to get the treasure for themselves. Things go downhill for them after Bomba takes an active hand; he overpowers Hawkins in an underwater fight and Mamoud is drowned in the coils of a huge water snake. District policemen Reed and Graves place the surviving plotters under arrest, and Bomba and his chimp Kimbbo fade away in the jungle as Barnes, Karen and Eli disappear by boat over the waters of Pongola Basin.

Bomba Movie Poster 11. Killer Leopard (1954 - 70 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Beverly Garland, Barry Bernard, Donald Murphy, Leonard Mudie, Smoki Whitfield, Russ Conway, Rory Mallinson, Roy Glenn.

Movie actress Linda Winters has gone into the jungle to find her lost husband Fred. Bomba the Jungle Boy helps in the rescue effort. A major obstacle facing them is a killer leopard which specializes in tearing people limb from limb.

Bomba Movie Poster 12. Lord Of The Jungle (1955 - 69 minutes)

Featuring: Johnny Sheffield, Wayne Morris, Nancy Hale, Paul Picerni, William Phipps, Smoki Whitfield, Leonard Mudie, James Adamson.

Mona Andrews arrives by plane in Laghaso Station, Africa, to visit her uncle, Commissioner Andy Barnes, just as three elephant hunters, Jeff Woode, Paul Gavin and Kenny Balou, set out under orders from the district governor to exterminate a herd of elephants that has been terrorizing native villages. Bomba is appalled by this as the elephants are his friends and he knows they are being led by one rogue bull. He is willing to have the rogue bull killed but not the others. The three hunters, evidently paid by the head, seize Bomba, tie him and leave him guarded by two natives, Eli and Molu. Mona helps Bomba escape and he locates the herd and arranges for the rogue elephant to be killed by Barnes as, despite reports elsewhere to the contrary, Bomba kills no elephants before, during or after their time.


 

Bomba DVDs For Sale

Bomba DVD Set
Bomba DVD Set 1

Bomba the Jungle Boy, Panther Island, Lost Volcano, Hidden City, Lion Hunters, Elephant Stampede.
Bomba DVD Set
Bomba DVD Set 2

African Treasure, Bomba & the Jungle Girl, Safari Drums, The Golden Idol, The Killer Leopard, Lord of the Jungle.