Bomba, the Jungle Boy

Bomba the Jungle Boy is a series of American boy's adventure books produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate under the pseudonym Roy Rockwood and published by Cupples & Leon in the first half of the 20th century in imitation of the successful Tarzan series.

Bomba the Jungle Boy
AuthorRoy Rockwood
CountryNorth America
PublisherStratemeyer Syndicate
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)

There are 20 books in the series. The first ten are set in South America, where Bomba, a white boy 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. Richard A. Lupoff, in his book Master of Adventure, a study of the works of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, describes the Bomba tales as more blatantly racist than the often-criticized Tarzan books.[1]

Starting in 1949, Monogram Pictures brought the character to the motion-picture screen in 12 Bomba films, starring Johnny Sheffield.[2] Sheffield was already established as an outdoor star; he had portrayed the character Boy in the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller. When the Bomba films, all set in Africa, proved popular with young audiences, the first 10 Bomba books were reprinted in the 1950s by Grosset & Dunlap, a publisher of many popular series books such as the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. These same books were reprinted again by Clover Books, a short-lived publisher that also reprinted the Grosset & Dunlap series Tom Quest.

In 1962, WGN-TV repackaged the Bomba films as a prime time summertime series called Zim Bomba that became a local ratings sensation. WGN executive Fred Silverman stated that "Zim" meant "Son of" in Swahili.[3]

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


All of the first editions had the same picture on the dust jacket; only the title was different. 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 art.

  1. Bomba the Jungle Boy, 1926
  2. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Moving Mountain, 1926
  3. Bomba, the Jungle Boy at the Giant Cataract, 1927
  4. Bomba, the Jungle Boy on Jaguar Island, 1927
  5. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Abandoned City, 1927
  6. Bomba, the Jungle Boy on Terror Trail, 1928
  7. Bomba, the Jungle Boy in the Swamp of Death, 1929
  8. Bomba, the Jungle Boy Among the Slaves, 1929
  9. Bomba, the Jungle Boy on the Underground River, 1930
  10. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Lost Explorers, 1930
  11. Bomba, the Jungle Boy in a Strange Land, 1931
  12. Bomba, the Jungle Boy Among the Pygmies, 1931
  13. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Cannibals, 1931
  14. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Painted Hunters, 1932
  15. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the River Demons, 1932
  16. Bomba, the Jungle Boy and the Hostile Chieftain, 1934
  17. Bomba, the Jungle Boy Trapped by the Cyclone, 1935
  18. Bomba, the Jungle Boy in the Land of Burning Lava, 1936
  19. Bomba, the Jungle Boy in the Perilous Kingdom, 1937
  20. Bomba, the Jungle Boy in the Steaming Grotto, 1938



Walter Mirisch had been general manager of Monogram Pictures since 1945. They specialised in low budget movies, including series of regular characters such as Charlie Chan, Joe Palooka and the Bowery Boys. Mirisch looked at the success of the Tarzan films and remembered the Bomba novels; he thought they might offer material to do a similar type of movie.

In November 1947 Monogram announced they had bought the rights to twenty of the stories. They assigned Walter Mirisch to oversee their production and said they intended to make three Bomba films per year. They were going to be in colour.[4] They were seeking a male actor aged 18 to 20 to star.[5]

In September 1948 Monogram's president Steve Broidy announced that the studio would make two Bomba films over the following year. (Other series at the studio included Joe Palooka, Charlie Chan and Bowery Boys.)[6]

Mirisch later claimed he was paid $2,500 a film, and the success of the series launched him as a producer.[7]


  1. Bomba, the Jungle Boy (1949)
  2. Bomba on Panther Island (1949)
  3. The Lost Volcano (1950)
  4. The Hidden City (1951)
  5. The Lion Hunters (1951)
  6. Elephant Stampede (1952)
  7. African Treasure (1952)
  8. Bomba and the Jungle Girl (1952)
  9. Safari Drums (1953)
  10. The Golden Idol (1954)
  11. Killer Leopard (1954)
  12. Lord of the Jungle (1955)


  1. Lupoff, Richard (2005). Master of Adventure. Bison Books. pp. 185–186. ISBN 978-0803280304.
  2. Beebe, Ford (1949-03-20), Bomba, the Jungle Boy, retrieved 2016-05-13
  3. p.15 Smith, Sally Bedell Up the Tube: Prime Time TV and the Silverman Years 1981 Viking Press
  4. By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (1947, Nov 27). GEIGER WILL FILM DI DONATO'S NOVEL. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. Schallert, E. (1947, Nov 28). DRAMA AND FILM. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. Studio to turn out 61 pictures during 1948-49. (1948, Sep 14). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. Clooney, N. (1998, Mar 13). Oscar's popularity a 70-year tradition. Cincinnati Post Retrieved from
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